After I moved to Palm Desert in 1993, I used to drop by the neighborhood—sometimes as planned, and sometimes unannounced because I wanted to know how these people were doing. I cared about all of these people. I felt like I was a part of their community. I think I’ve gone through every shade of emotion trying to connect with this community. And there seemed to always be a birthday being celebrated, or a story to be rehashed, or a show or game to be watched in unison with a bunch of people who grew up in and around this neighborhood. I used to watch with amusement as the older generations commiserated as if they were still High School buddies, living out their glory days. They experienced their youth in the 1970s and 1980s when most my generation was busy being born. I always wonder what unresolved issue was being brought up way past the point of time that it actually happened and mattered.
The last time I went back to the neighborhood was in 2007 before turning 28 years old. At that point, I decided I must leave the neighborhood altogether—everyone, every character, every love interest, every unresolved question—everything. I was enrolled at UCLA for Graduate School hoping to make it through a stressful time in my life. In Graduate School, I learned that the world will not wait for you to finish up and start something of yourself—Bill Collectors need to make a living too, and my empty pockets were their business. I learned how to persevere, locking myself up almost literally in the Young Research Library trying to make sense of my classes and the books I was reading. I stopped working and was lucky to have my dad invite me back into his home.
To describe Pinney Street is to describe the playground for every impression I first had in this world. I remember the two trees in front of our house that would be our favorite hangout and hiding place for Hide-and-Go-Seek. We used to etch our nicknames on their poor trunks. We used to watch the leaves fall and grow as the seasons progressed. It seemed like my Dad would have his latest bad investment parked out in front of these trees in perpetuity. There was always something odd growing out of my house like the great outdoors. There was just so much going on. The neighborhood would smile at us if they knew we made it. Our end of Pinney Street was a small cul-de-sac filled with quiet, sleepy homes. We played Baseball out front on summer afternoons, launching Tennis Balls into people’s pools until we ran out for the day. I fashioned myself to be a crafty pitcher without any hitting prowess. I was never a great athlete because I’m uncoordinated and become easily lost in my mind. Pinney Street will always exist in my heart.