Thursday, July 14, 2016

Santa Barbara Sleep

 Bedroom communities are to suburban landscapes what freckles are to skin, splotches of residential areas to which persons commute after working or otherwise spending their time in cities. Santa Barbara reminds you of its status in the bedroom community calculus each time you find yourself southbound during morning or afternoon commuting hours.

In the mornings, a trail of traffic heads north like a platoon of army ants, advancing on some neglected croissant or the remains of a spontaneous picnic, left for the army ants and as well one or more persons heading from their own southern bedroom communities to perform service for the recent revelers. 

From about three in the afternoon until at least six, the road south moves at the next step downward from a snail's pace, which is to say a timid snail's pace.

This is not to claim there is no industry in Santa Barbara. One of its major sources of employment is the renowned Sansum Clinic, where doctors, technicians, and laboratory professionals orbit about yet another type of bedroom community, the two-campus Cottage Hospital. 

Another local draw from regions to the north and south is a campus of the University of California, UCSB, metastasizing as though a stage-IV cancer, lodged in some body part.

People come to the bedroom community that is Santa Barbara as a respite from San Francisco and Los Angeles on the state level, from such eastern hubs as Boston, Washington D.C., and New York, more than likely disenchanted with these hubs and yet still tending to look down on the new Eden of their choice as a 24/7 city wannabe.

People come here to sleep the Santa Barbara sleep, dream the Santa Barbara dreams, think kind thoughts about palm trees, and develop the California tolerance for the ubiquitous jacaranda trees after they have shed their flowery purplish blossom. They will even get behind some of the Spanish pronunciation for such place names as Ray-foo-he-o for Refugio, Santa Enayze for Ynez, and hackarunda (wrong) for jacaranda.

With the exception of the month of June, which attracts a coastal phenomena of overcast known as June gloom, Santa Barbara is often sunny, cheerful, and polite, reflective of the many individuals in service industries who come here to work before going home elsewhere, say Carpinteria or Ventura or Camarillo, to sleep.

Where one sleeps here and with whom (if anyone) are matters you'd expect in a bedroom community, to say nothing of the quality of sleep achieved here, once it is realized.

Your fiction in progress is a rumination on such things, including the latter aspect. Quality seems always an issue of some sort in bedroom communities. Do the persons who come here to escape from urban tangle and the traffic of city irony sleep any better now? 

Your work on this fiction has been interrupted by something that has taken your talk of Santa Barbara Dreams hostage, demanding as ransom the new work.Thus are you in a real sense, a commuter, stuck somewhere past Carpinteria in traffic, attaching to Santa Barbara sleep a mystique of comfort and satisfaction every bit as long and uncertain as the line of traffic before you.

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