“Carol” is the fourth song in Abel’s seven-movement orchestral cycle The Dream Gallery. The Dream Gallery depicts people, places and psyches throughout California, and “Carol” is set in San Diego’s wealthy suburbs. The character is mindless, materialistic and aggressive. Her “in your face” persona is explicitly suggested by the music, which is strongly touched by rock – still the dominant sound to be heard in the area’s culture.

Date: 2009Composer: Mark AbelText: Mark AbelSong Collection: The Dream Gallery

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(San Diego/North County)

My husband is a killer.
Not the kind with an axe or a gun,
but a piranha in the asphalt sea.
Brad’ll cut you off in the fast lane or the onramp,
undermine you at the office or the dinner table
— all with a smirk, anything to gain an edge.
(Gotta have that edge!)
That’s how we do things here
in the land of travertine entryways
and granite countertops.

My kids are named Connor and Morgan,
content for now with texting and videos
as I drive them around in the big black Escalade.
Soon they’ll be trouble, hanging at the mall,
shoplifting, smoking weed.
We’ll have to bring them up to speed:
Acceptable social roles are few in these parts,
and skateboard slacker isn’t one.
We’ll push them into youth sports; it usually works.
(Channel that aggression!)
That’s how we do things here
in the land of surfing and vintage cars,
and fat fish tacos.

Then there’s me; not a lot to say.
I don’t work, thank God — or read either.
Women’s lib, what was that?
Try keeping a 4,000-square-foot house clean!
We still have sex; I promised Brad the whole nine yards.
(Didn’t I?)
To stay in shape I jog, my ponytail bobbing from my golf cap.
Today the beauty shop, tomorrow the Botox doc,
I take my pleasure in Frappuccinos and margaritas,
“American Idol” and dining out.
Am I missing something? I think not.
That’s how we do things here …

Culture, you ask? Well, there’s music —
Hey, hey, hey! Rock and roll. We admit no other;
our comfort zone is the prime directive.
Same with films.
Subtitles? No way. We never want to work that hard.

We love to knock L.A. (fear and loathing).
Still we sit there passively munching our popcorn;
Hollywood knows what’s best for us.

Museums? Please! National parks? Boring.
For vacations Vegas is king — no thought required,
just feel the rush and hang onto your wallet.

Global warming? Not my problem.
Dwindling water, ditto.
Our yard is the lushest around — and gonna stay that way.
So our last congressman was the biggest crook
in D.C. history? So what!
“America’s Finest City” produces more trash per capita
than any other in the world?
Have someone else take care of it,
and let the good times roll.

We’re in La Costa for now,
but soon we’ll be moving up to Rancho Santa Fe.
My money, my possessions, my status feed me;
my man’s the icing on the cake.
The kids sleep tight, the spa is heating up just right.
Brad? … Brad!! Get over here and do me!

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