It was about time I gave tribute to my former home, one that fulfilled the California Dream so many have and so few bother to pursue. Believe me, picking up and moving to California was a great and excellent decision.
Los Angeles gets a bad rap from Northeasterners, many of whom actually have never even set foot there. For a while, I, too, didn’t have much interest in L.A. Until one day, while listening to the wintry winds of Boston rattle my living room windows as the record-breaking Blizzard of 2003 blew through, and my thermostat trying desperately to make me broke from heating bills, I decided I had enough. It’s not that the weather really bothered me – I liked snow and natural disasters made of snow that caused the streets to be filled with piles of white powder and work to be closed. Hurrah! But I was tired of working all the time and being among friends – all along the Eastern seaboard – who worked all the time, and then went back to huddle in the cold of their apartments through very long, very gray winters. I wanted to work, then go home to play in the sunshine, year-round.
In comes my California dream. Within two months, I had a new car and was driving across our great country towards the Land of Perpetual Sun. It was truly like being on perpetual vacation. You go to work and sit in front of your computer all day – but your lunch break includes sunshine and palm trees! I found an apartment four blocks from the beach, cooled by ocean air; my best friend from high school lived seven blocks over, and we went running along the beach every evening after work. On Saturdays, we’d head to the farmers’ market in Santa Monica for fresh avocados, figs, candy-like strawberries and persimmons. Palm trees lined my street and the view from my living room. I met a boy with a convertible (not Jon – which goes to show a convertible isn’t everything). I discovered $39 full-body massages at The Massage Company. I ate a lot meals al fresco and went to oyster happy hours at Ocean Avenue Seafood. I bought a surfboard, which I never mastered, wore sandals year-round, and stayed tan even though I became very liberal with the 45 SPF sunscreen. We would drive from sea to mountains in 4 hours to go skiing at Mammoth, whose slopes beat any ski resorts back east. My sister came to visit often and we shopped at It’s a Wrap!, a store of lightly-used or never-used clothing from movie and TV sets sold at ridiculously low prices.
So why did I ever leave? You know, the regular: job, family, need for people to appreciate my haughty cynicism, desire to see fall colors and first snowfalls, etc. But that doesn’t mean we can’t return for mini-vacations as it always was in sunny L.A. involving oyster happy hours, $39 massages, runs by the beach, avocados at the farmers’ market, the works. California, here I come!