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Sonder In San Andreas Volume 1

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The stories herein were gathered from the streets of Los Santos on which we all walk.

In today’s society, we are often too absorbed in our own problems, lives, and loved ones. The rise of social media and communications devices has allowed us to become separated from what connects us all; our humanity. By becoming more in touch with each other and realizing that we are not the main character in everyone else’s life, you may find that you are able to connect more easily with people.

I hope these stories help you, as collecting them has helped me. This idea was borne from the idea of Sonder, a word created by John Koenig to describe this unique and somewhat indescribable human emotion.

‘n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries, and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.’

The Dictionary of Unusual Sorrows


If you could relive one moment, what would it be?

‘Everything that happens is kind of a learning experience, and, y’know, even if something goes wrong, then you can just use that to do something better in the future. There’s a lot of bad things in the world, and you have just got to be happy and try to see the silver lining in everything.’

Ranger Waltier

What made you want to become a park ranger?

‘Well, I was already a game warden in Louisiana, but back there, I loved the swamps. There were a lot of alligators, and people were hunting them a lot. And they survived through billions of years of extinction, the dinosaurs going away and everything. Why should the alligators go away? Let’s keep them around at least. I like being outside. I hate the big city; too many people, bullets flying around everywhere. I don’t wanna get shot at. That’s the main reason I became a park ranger – I don’t want to get shot.’


What is the happiest moment of your life so far?

‘I don’t want to give a cheesy answer, but I’m going to give a cheesy answer… Meeting my fiancée. We met in a different state, where I was her boss; she was in the police academy. I trained her, and the rest tells itself. We went to the forest and took a small hike, and got to know each other a bit more. We have something shared, the outdoors. Just enjoying her company and enjoying nature. Outside the city, you don’t hear any cars, noise, typical things you get in Los Santos. You’re out in the woods. It’s quiet, and you can spend time with them and enjoy what you see.’


If you could relive one moment, what would it be?

‘The moment I was out fishing with a couple of my friends, and it turned out that one of these people I’d been hanging out with since moving to this state was my long-lost daughter. She had a written note from me, that she’d kept hold of, and her friend showed it to me, and it was the same note that I wrote. It was all scrunched up and everything, but you could still read it. She was surprised, shocked, and we all had to take a beat to figure it out and work out the new dynamic, but it was all a lot of happiness and elation once we got our heads round it. It’d been over ten years, and we’d been hanging out for weeks, if not months, before that moment and had become good friends. That must have been the reason; we knew each other, I guess. I was just happy to have her back in my life.’


What is something you regret?

‘I think I regret not pushing my music at an earlier stage. I’ve been producing for a while, but I was always super nervous about showing my stuff to other people. Every person is their own worst critic, so I thought all my stuff was trash. I probably would have done it earlier if I had more confidence. I used to be quite involved in gang culture in the south side, then I decided I needed to get out of that life. It wasn’t good for anybody. It wasn’t good for me or other people. I got put back on the right path by a nice detective and started drifting, etc. I decided to speak to KOKORO, as they’re the biggest label in the city, and got in contact with Dante Gravina, and we met outside the records store. I showed him some tracks, it took him about a week, but they invited me on as a special guest, and it went from there. Now I’m a signed artist. I got confidence through conversations with people; my exit from gang culture wasn’t the best. When you leave stuff like that, you have to pay a price; for me, it was my left eye. I have a glass one, and that’s why I wear glasses; I can’t see very well. This detective came to me to take a statement, but back then, I was still very sedate; I wouldn’t give any answers away. She was understanding of that and even paid for me to get my car painted so I wouldn’t be so recognizable; it made me realize there are still some good people in the world and made me want to be better.’


What is the saddest moment of your life so far?

‘So far… I’d say I’m generally a pretty positive person, so I think I can handle sad situations and things that happen in various ways. The worst things that have happened are like breakups or the loss of a family member. Well, there was a girl I was dating for about three years or so. She had some sort of traumatic incident when she was a kid wherein a homeless person threw fish at her in the street. From that day forth, she never wanted to eat fish, be around fish, or anything. Anytime I wanted to go and get sushi, she couldn’t come with me. She couldn’t stand the smell, even if we were at a supermarket. Long story short, we dated for about three years, and when she broke up with me, I ate sushi every day for about three weeks.

That may be something about my addictive personality, but the sushi helped. For the most part, I’m a glass-half-full type of guy. Whenever I get into situations, I find myself thinking to stop saying negative thoughts to myself, which helps. The other thing I do is being thankful for what I have, being grateful for what I have, and realizing that other people want what I have, for example having clean water, hot water, and electricity. How can I be sad if I know there’s a load of people who wish they have my problems? It helps keep me in check. I also have a gratitude stone, which is a little rock that I put in the shower each morning, and it reminds me of these things. It isn’t religious or anything; it’s just to remind me to be thankful. Anytime I start to get depressed or have these negative thoughts, it’s very easy for me to turn them off because I can be in control. The other part is trying to pay it forward. That’s the way I try to live my life.

Sometimes for people, depression is a physical thing, and I realize that’s different. What works for me isn’t necessarily the solution for everybody, but it’s what has helped me. I used to be an unhappy person in my younger years, so it’s helped me. Sometimes when I try to explain it to people, I call it the downward spiral; there was a record album by that name at one point. What that means to me is if you catch yourself repeating negative thoughts to yourself over and over again, that’s my definition of depression. I know for some people it’s chemical, and you tell yourself these things over and over again, and my solution is if you can stop myself from doing that, realize I’m doing it and be thankful because there’s a lot of people who probably wish they have that problem, whatever it is. To be frank, nobody is going to do anything about it but yourself; you’re the only person who is going to make that change. ’

Thank you to all the people who took time from their day to speak to me. It has been and will continue to be a privilege to learn more about the people we have in this beautiful state.

Until next time, San Andreas.

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