Today I was thinking about Po Folks in Buena Park. It closed last September. It probably wasn't doing the business it used to because things had changed that I didn't even notice. The country-fried steak was still good, and so were the sides, but Mom had noticed that the portions had gotten slightly smaller and the sweet tea was, well, not as sweet. I think the last time we were there, there weren't as many people, and this was in the evening.
Things recede here. You find what you love, you live happily with it for what turns out to be a finite amount of time, and then there it goes. But that's another thing: There's more "like" in Southern California than "love", at least from my perspective. I loved Po Folks because I grew up with it in Florida and therefore, by extension, I loved it here. I've liked Six Flags Magic Mountain and a few times, I thought about getting a yearly pass so I could go every weekend. That feeling passed every single time. I liked the Valencia library before the City of Santa Clarita took control because that's where all the books were. I could check out whatever I wanted and put on hold from other libraries what I was looking for that the Valencia library didn't have. And now the City's in charge of it to some extent (They've ceded most of their control to the corporate outfit LSSI which runs libraries so the city governments involved don't have to) and I don't go there anymore. I don't feel that same connection, the same love for reading that I got from those shelves, even though most of the books remained there for months at a time, riffled through, but still untouched, unchecked out, unloved.
Dad, Meridith and I went to Pavilions yesterday, which is right near our old apartment in Valencia. The woman at the bakery told Dad that this store is operating so far in the red that it's likely to close in December. I like Pavilions. It's better lit than Vons, its counterpart nearer to our place in Saugus. I like to actually see clearly what I'm buying. Obviously it's not my ideal shopping experience (That would be Smith's in Las Vegas), but I work with what I have for now, and that's my favorite for the occasional pick-up and also for $5 Fridays, where they have many items on sale for $5, and not old stuff either. Fresh roasted chickens yesterday were $5 and we had that for dinner last night. But, yet again, something else recedes. Something that I liked. Not loved.
The Santa Clarita Valley is never good at maintaining tangible connections. You get to where you want to be at times, but it's always tenuous. What you like, what you live with, can be gone not long after. But at the same time, who cares? It's always a mild feeling. I need more passion. I need stronger connections. Yes, this would be about the time that I mention Lisa, so there you go. But for places to go, experiences to have, I also need a city that I know can keep up the feeling for me, that always has something I can latch on to and know it will be there for a good amount of time. The Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas has been around since 2006. 5 years, but it's still there. It still has its character, its aim, its reason for being. This is what I want. I want to feel so many connections with one city on any given day. And that city is Las Vegas. Things don't recede there.