"This is a story about love and death in the golden land, and begins with the country. The San Bernardino Valley lies only an houreast of Los Angeles by way of the San Bernardino Freeway but is in certain ways an alien place: not the coastal the California ofsubtropical twilights and the soft westerlies off the Pacific but a harsher California, haunted by the Mohave just beyond the mountains, devastated by the hot dry Santa Ana wind that comes down through the passes at 100 miles an hour and whines through the Eucalypts windbreaks and works on the nerves…This is the California where it is possible to live and die without ever eating an artichoke, without ever meeting a Catholic or a Jew."
It startles me when I see San Bernardino referenced, well, anywhere. Didion doesn’t paint the most flattering pictures of my hometown, which serves as a backdrop in this essay. Weird. I need to read Slouching Towards Bethlehem, it seems.