When people ask me where I’m from, I usually say, “California,” as I have lived in that state more than any other and by choice, three times (twice as an adult and once as a runaway).
However, all that said, much of California turned out to be a disappointment.
For starters, I lived way too many years in the San Francisco Bay Area before discovering that Los Angeles is so much more to my liking in terms of the people, climate, sensibility, and space. Whereas San Francisco could be considered one big parking fine trap unless one takes the mythical “Number One in America” transit system (number one in delays? mechanical malfunctions? microbes? I’m at a loss). Between Progressives, the homeless, anorexics, diabetic amputees, LGBT etceteras, metrosexuals, indifferent landlords, academics, swingers, and assaulters, I can’t say who I miss more. Of course there’s also the city weather which is apparently perfect for cockroaches, Boston Ivy, and not much else. I’ve also lived in the suburbs which were irredeemable except for their weather.
When I moved back to The Bay Area from Los Angeles with my now ex-husband it was under the pretense that it would be different this time and better because I was a) married and b) well-off.
So I went back to work in The Silicon Valley and more than doubled my Los Angeles salary in the space of two years. Four years later we sold our home in The Berkeley Hills at the peak of the market and moved to Venezuela.
When I came back to the U.S. and found love, the only place left in the U.S. that seemed like home to me was Los Angeles and so we moved there.
However, after my thirteen years of being essentially in isolation or abroad, everything had changed. The biggest changes were probably a result of the smoking ban, feminism, and September 11 taken to their logical sociological conclusions. There was now nowhere to go in order to have conversations with a variety of people without being pulled into spouting the party line on health and nutrition advice. Rather, groups would tend to go out together in order to socialize with each other. Non-smokers aren’t terribly outgoing or risk-accepting when it comes to talking to strangers except at the bus stop. Men and women are now justifiably terrified of each other.
Bars are populated with nonsmokers whose only drugs left are alcohol and “hook-ups” which, as a latecomer to disco, hippie, and free love culture who made up for lost time, I can’t condemn them but, count me out, please.
I can’t believe that Los Angeles went from Richard Riordan to Gil Garcetti’s son as mayor while I’ve been gone. While I was in Los Angeles the first time around, the following events occurred:
The Rodney King Riots
The Northridge Earthquake
The O.J. Simpson trials
The Menedez Brothers trial
Circumstances have arisen wherein my Dominant and I are moving to Florida. Already there are a number of metrics that I find to be more to my liking than California; however, since I’m not in the real estate business, I don’t feel any particular compunction to elaborate except to say that cigar culture is a notable improvement. It’s also nicer to be a tad closer to Europe. If I play my cards right, I could be resuming my annual trip there one day. My passport is still good (it’s one of those older ones without the chip).
The area where we’ll be living reminds me a bit of Hawaii but without the scummy sections. At my age it cannot hurt to live a bit safer than I’ve been.
The other day I saw a rally in support of police officers. If people were to do something like that in Los Angeles they could be arrested.