Bakersfield is known by many names, though very few can be considered with any positivity. When sharing the name of my hometown with those from other places, I look ashamed as I mutter the location under my breath. I’m always met by confusion or, more often than not, sympathy. Nestled between the more lively areas of California like the San Francisco Bay and Los Angles, Bakersfield is known to most Californians as a rest stop. A boring little rest stop during your travels down the I5 to Hollywood or San Diego.
For those like myself who end up stuck in this little oil mining s***hole, finding any forms of entertainment becomes a challenging task. Early twenty-somethings like myself usually partake in the consumption of alcohol at friend’s homes or apartments. Because of the limited choices between entertainment and the financial restraints usually endured by college students like myself, drinking to excess seems like the most acceptable way to spend time with friends.
I try not to drink often. I want to avoid the further distruction of my liver. Instead, I do hobbies. Photography, drawing, running, and painting. These activities keep me sane. My husband enjoys playing the drums with my brother on guitar. I have a couple friends who make chainmail necklaces and braclets. Each individual pursuit serves a simple purpose; to pass the time.
Working on individual tasks allows locals to stay busy. This is important when one considers what makes our town a town. By observing our shops, stores, and restaurants, Bakersfield’s image is similar to those of other boring suburbs that encircle the Los Angles area. All restaurants are merely links of chains. Each store is a mega-store, feeding from the income that was once received by the locally own businesses which have long since disappeared. Sure, I’ll admit that I may be generalizing but I’ve lived in this town my entire life. My opinions of this god-forsaken city are not baseless.
Even my hobbies are not locally supplied. I purchase my paint, craft paper, and canvas from the local Micheals. My husband’s drum sticks and my brother’s strings both come The Guitar Center. Bakersfield lacks any special appeal. With little natural wonders other than the Kern River Canyon to the east, Bakersfield fails to stand out as anything other than a hopeless pit.
“So why make a blog about entertainment in Bakersfield?” you must be asking. To put it simply, I have to. It’s for a class I am required to take at the very last minute of my college career to complete my minor. Without this class, I can’t graduate with my BA in English in the spring. I may not seem remotely enthusiastic of this adventure and, to be honest, I am not. I am, however, a very open minded woman. Perhaps by the end of this quarter I will find what makes Bakersfield a decent enough town to raise my children. Maybe my pessimistic views will change by finding the “hidden Bakersfield” I’ve spent my entire life trying to escivate from the hot, dry earth.