Some time during the 7th grade, I started shoplifting makeup at the neighborhood Thrifty’s (on Robinson Ave. between 5th and 6th, Rite Aid now, I think). At first, I was after eye pencils and then it moved to powder and their selection of fine, drug store fragrances. After a while, I was doing it just because it was something to do, and my best friend at the time, Thoeun, got in it with me. We started doing a little business where I would steal the stuff and she would sell it. It was cool for a while, but one time, I got cocky and careless and decided I’d try to swipe a bottle of CK1 from Bullocks (now Macy’s) at Horton Plaza. I got caught and, well, it raised flags with the parental unit.
As a way to “rehabilitate” me, my mom sent me off on a road trip with one of her Filipina co-workers, whose family was taking a road trip up to Morro Bay for a few days. Complete strangers, these people. All I knew about them was that my mom would not stop talking about their 2-acre house and property in Bonita, which somehow qualified her and her family to be my new life coaches.
The trip sucked. I didn’t know them, they were really kind of uppity, and no one seemed to understand why I was there, including me. It was the first time I ever put a finger on the fact that I really don’t like how clique-ish Filipinos can be, because all they seemed to talk about was other people they knew, like it was a contest to see who knew the flyest and rolled the deepest.
However shitty the company, though, I always remembered camping right on the beach next to that big rock, and the way that dusks felt like there- windy and warm. I went for long walks by myself and thought about how I could make money now that the jig was up (hah). I was surrounded by strangers but didn’t feel lonely. I loved that feeling. If nothing else, the place itself was therapeutic, and is somewhere I often long to be.