Hidemi’s Rambling by Hidemi Woods

Singer, Songwriter and Author from Kyoto, Japan.

Hidemi’s Rambling No.548

on July 26, 2015

After I landed on Los Angeles, I took a bus to Anaheim from LAX. It was playing outdated rock music on the stereo and running on a patchy freeway that had eternal traffic. Out the window were rows of shabby houses along the freeway. Everything was so familiar that I felt as if I had been here last month, not ten years before. It seemed that I had just awoken from a long dream of ten years in Japan and actually never left here. I thought nothing changed after all, but realized I was all wrong about it afterward during my stay. The biggest change that surprised me most was people. Until ten years ago, I had lived or visited regularly here, and people weren’t nice. At a fancy beauty salon, when a receptionist was about to lead me to a seat, a manager stopped me and asked me to leave. I was told that the seats were full although the salon was apparently empty. At a deli, a salesperson ignored me and wouldn’t take my order. She took an order of a white man who was standing behind me in the line instead. I used to encounter unkind people with horrible attitudes and racism almost every day. For those experiences, I had braced myself for similar bad treatments on this trip. As it turned out, what awaited me was a miracle that I never had them at all during the whole trip this time. Every single person I met was nice and kind. When I took a local bus and was standing, a man offered his seat to me, saying his stop was next. I have a storage unit here and went to open it for the first time in ten years. Because I paid late a couple of years ago, the lock had been changed. I explained the matter at the office and the man with a Southern accent pleasantly came over to my unit. He didn’t mind extra work inflicted by me and cut the lock with a circular saw for free while burning his fingers a little, smiling and laughing all the way. I was wearing a pin of a movie ‘Tomorrowland’ during the trip, and seven or eight people who spotted it talked to me. Everybody was smiling and friendly. I’m not prettier or richer than I was when I lived here. While I remain the same, people’s attitudes toward me have dramatically changed. I wondered where those then-mean people had gone. They might as well have been abducted by aliens who in turn put down new nice people. As the trip went on, I had been getting more and more in high spirits. It had seemed silly that I spent months ahead of the trip worrying so many things. I was elated enough to get a lot of souvenirs. At the checkout, a salesperson, who needless to say was polite, said to me smiling, “It seems your card can’t be processed. Do you have a different card?” Everything in my eyes suddenly went black. My charge card was maxed out, which meant I completely used up my entire budget for the trip. I paid with my emergency-only credit card and my shopping spree came to an abrupt end. A new worry that I would manage to cut and contrive expenses when I returned home grasped at me. I felt an urge to be drunk…


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