Don’t be pissed off. You’re amazing.
When I wake up in the morning, I see your bright sunny face in the window. You never turn off that blue sky and sunshine. All year round, it’s sunny and pleasant on your side of the bed, and for that – I am forever grateful.
You gave me warmth during the winter when I used to shutter from the bitter cold blowing off the Hudson River.
You smell like hickory chimney smoke almost every night when the temperatures dip into the 50’s, coming from the fireplaces of houses near by. It mixes with the aroma of Night Blooming Jasmine and the fragrance from those trees that sprout yellow blossoms smelling like heavenly perfume.
The skies are dark blue at night, with a moon rising and hanging above more vibrant and closer to Earth than it appears in New York.
It’s weird. Everyone has the moon in their eyes here – with stars on the brain. The sun bleached sidewalks and the sharp sun dried walls of California houses, cutting sharp against the angle of blue against a daylight sky. Purple prose for a very yellow sunshiny life.
Your sunshine brings people outside. Dogs, cats and people. We all converge on the sidewalks, chatting and befriending in ways one hardly does in New York. I’m grateful for that.
Your glamor brings out the dreamers with baggage – lots of baggage. Samsonite. Moving vans. Old cars packed with personal belongings, sometimes used as makeshift homes parked by the curb. Litter, mostly comprised of take out remains, are left on the street in the gutter for our dogs to sniff through when we’re not looking.
Some bring brain baggage – a different type than the New York style (which is in your face, with a big side of fuck you). Daddy issues, mother complexes, narcissism, defensiveness, aloofness, the need to transfer personal problems on to you when you’re just minding your business.
Traffic and vehicular etiquette is a culmination of this, where left hand turns are impossible. Where people don’t let you go because they need to go first. Where drivers don’t even put their directional blinkers on because they aren’t thinking about you, nor do they care to show you the consideration. Not everyone is like this. And I’m no angel. But the behavior behind the wheel pervades here – and that sparks the road rage we all hear about.
Pedestrians don’t even know how to walk here. They enter crosswalks like they are entering the red carpet. Strutting purposefully slow, talking to their equally slow partner or reading a text on their phone. Oh, are is there a line of cars waiting to make a turn before the red light goes on? Who the fuck cares? I’m walking and you must wait and watch me.
You may laugh, but I’m beginning to believe the collective personality of a given society can be measured in how they drive and how they walk in traffic. Slow. Thoughtless. Only they exist. Not you.
Everyday, your sunshine, once warm and beautiful, now blinds me. I can’t have a quiet Sunday indoors to decompress without the sun shining, taunting me to go outside and drive somewhere. Hike somewhere. Do this. Enjoy that. Bask in the glory of this gorgeous day. This introvert is exhausted. I just want a cozy, rainy day.
But everyday is gorgeous. Almost every. Single. Day.
Well, hardly any – with a short sprinkling from the sky, or perhaps a day of soaking rain that does not make up for four years of dry weather.
California’s perfect weather hides a dirty secret – and it’s not a sex scandal in a Beverly Hills mansions somewhere. It’s drought.
The drought began a few months after moving here over four years ago. Within the first month, I was soaked to the bone, everyday pour rain with an intensity I’ve only seen on the east coast in the form of late day summer thunder drenchings. For a while there, I thought I had moved to Seattle. But then it all stopped.
Oh Los Angeles, you took my money and a little bit of my old New York rhythm and blues.
I want to quote Billy Joel here, and claim I’m in a New York state of mind. Because I am.
So, don’t be sad, L.A. I’ll be back. I left New York four and a half years ago when I was low and on my knees. It’s time to get my NY residency back. But I’ll return every year when the winter starts to kill me.
In the words of Paul McCartney, I want to “get back to where I once belonged.”