Betty G: Chapter 1

the mission
(This is my Nanowrimo novel. Got started late. It’s inspired quite literally by the Great Gatsby. All chapters)
Betty G

Sometimes your parents say wise things. Usually they’re bugging you to visit more frequently, or complaining about the strange behavior of one of your siblings, but once in a while they actually tell you something they want you to listen to. To remember it, even beyond not understanding to a point when you live through it, and then understand. We were sitting in her Honda Odyssey, listening to Creep by Radiohead. I’d just bought it at Target, in the new mall that had popped up in less than a year, in Seaside, a poor town built on dunes next to a military base. Somewhat out of nowhere, wait, no, I’m sure she was telling me about some of her bridge friends. Since she plays out there she’s always talking about them when we go to the mall. She said, “You think you’ve figured someone out, and that they’re wrong, but then you realize, they haven’t had what you had.” Sure, it’s a combination of “people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones,” and “you don’t know what it’s like to be somebody until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.” I took it to mean, be more tolerant and less judgmental. Unfortunately I adopted the credo, and that’s the problem. I should have been more judgmental, except perhaps for Betty G, she had a sensitivity, and yet a pureness, which is odd since she rode the excesses probably farther and faster than anyone. Right now, she’s definitely the happiest us all.

I had come back from a blighted European trip, where I blew all the money I had, and after a few months with relatives in Portland, and San Jose, managed to save up some money for a deposit. I connected with a college acquaintance, and quickly moved in with her and her boyfreind. I was loving my bourgeois lifestyle, dressing up and going downtown for this shipping company, writing manuals on software processes, getting a decadent latte or Thai dinner downtown with friends.

I moved out of that place as soon as I could, and moved into a palatial old Victorian in The Mission with a roommate that was never there- she consultant and traveled constantly. I had no idea I was on the cusp of the dot com boom, or that The Mission would be the hottest new gentrified neighborhood in the city.

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