San Diego has its own force. Built-in protection. But it seems like most don't think much about this. That seven military bases and approximately 175,000 active duty homes exist among the rolling, coastal suburbs sheeted in marine mist (smog sometimes), among the pretentious, minimalist lofts, among the glowing seaside cottages also lit from within. Out there, there are more people like us than we realize. Yet strangely, we undulate back and forth about whether we're true San Diegans, or stepchildren passing through the whale's vagina.
We're here because someone in our family serves in earnest, prepped to show force at home or over the seas. We moved here six months ago, uprooted again but sickly glad for it like pastors who don't fully settle in, facing the same congregation each week, the same sanctuary peering back at them. While many civilians get homesick, (if they're not already living in their hometown), and dial their spouse each day of a three-day business trip, most military dependents are concerned with finding a new, worthy job and mentally cross-dressing for different kid responsibilities - moms take happily scruffy sons to Padres games, dads explain maxi-pads to their wide-eyed, trusting daughters. There are likely no grandparents across town, no siblings a commiserating phone call away due to a time change, and not enough money to get a baby-sitter or maid as often as desired.
It's nothing new to claim armed forces bad-ass-ness for spouses and service members alike. On the flipside, I'm always surprised to find there are plenty of dependents who are anything but independent. What's unnerving of late, (a deja vous from high school), concerns the entire realm of wives; it's likely my baby-producing age. But women seem to creep dangerously close to that ledge, at the bottom of which they don't exist anymore, too far below to make out a personality, interests, let alone a job they can put even a tiny piece of their heart into. Forget feminism and breaking the glass ceiling, save yourselves!, I want to scream, shaking them by their shoulders damp with tiny, fat human vomit.
If one day I cannot tear myself away from my one-year-old to watch the latest Miyazaki film, I told my best friend to just hit me over the head with a shovel, because I've become one of them. Unless this type of zombie serum has been developed, then just give me that and we'll begin our campaign, shooting up our friends we thought we'd lost forever.
Balance. Who else is sick of hearing this is the meaning of life? But eff it might be. We all belong here - San Diegans, Roswellians, Earthlings - to do what we like but also contribute to society. Be thoughtful, healthy people who may become parents and be there when the next generation gets home from school. Be bright with goodness, humor and for-lack-of-a-better-word passion. But earn enough that your paycheck doesn't go directly to daycare. Right, easy as whack-bat.