From Main Place Mall to the pollutant effect of humans in a world built for dogs & cars, or the Real World, Welcome back

J: Everything is a substitute.

So we go from ‘everything is everywhere’ to ‘everything is a substitute.’

Substituting for place, reference; referral taking the place of deferral. Substituting for milk, dairy-free creamer. Substitutes for cream, butter, sugar, food. Food replaced by ‘what we crave’ – sugar, salt, the bare minumum of texture to keep the two apart. Pancakes. Donuts. A pure form separating these two simplifications made polarities for all food. Substituting for health, healthy substitutions: free of fat, sugar- and dairy-free.

On the back of a bus: Environmentality. A neutral and politic word. In connection with Disney.

Names: McCormack and Schmick’s, Fuddruckers, Knickerbocker Hotel – Anybody a fan of Marilyn Monroe? No?

Main Place Mall in Santa Ana was where we caught the 83 South. And back, the 83 North.

The mall, owned by a familiar name, Westfield, and Macy’s and J.C. Penny’s there. We ate sushi, watching the hispanic chefs doing yakitori, aka caramelised meat with sesame oil. Outlet stores over the road. And a bookshop, monumental in scale, Barnes and Noble. They didn’t have the new Andrei Codrescu.

Another crazy busride out to Terminal 2 LAX. The driver sucking on a suspicious bottle at every set of lights and blowing into the mic before every announcement – to the five people on the bus -, weaving increasing as we neared the airport.

Air NZ rep received us in a thick Russian accent. Security again of the reformed variety: pleasant enough. The terminus itself a tiny thing, an isolation wing for Air NZ. Boasting a couple of stores and Wolfgang Puck, where we ate pizza. Bloody Marys: worcestershire, tabasco, ice, juice from the olive jar, vodka, leaving a third of the glass for tomato juice. The contents poured back into a shaker, shaken and poured back in. Garnished with a wedge of lemon, a wedge of lime, a stick of celery, a large olive pinioned to it by a toothpick shaped like a miniature red sword. The option not taken: salted rim.

Orange Crush looked radioactive, containing natural flavours but nothing found in nature, including the absence of fruit juice.

The embarrassment narrowly avoided – after Orange Crush hit the tiles – of actually tipping.

In the store: ubiquity of novels by Ayn Rand noted.

Just over twelve hours later, the sun having risen over the Pacific, NZ. Fresh air. A chill in it. The sun burning hot, not passing through it, the chill remaining. But no wind. No mistral.

Back into a codependent environment, an environment requiring input to function, in which you are not only a tourist but also one. Thinking of those places requiring no input, functioning without it.

Riverhead is a place built for cars and dogs. Human presence is self-effacing. Impact merely pollutant. English spoken.