Monday, July 2, 2012
California I'm Coming Home
Last weekend I realized once again that connections are out there waiting to be made in the least likely of places. It turns out that the father of a friend went to high school in a town neighboring mine in the middle of nowhere, NY. We were both fairly stunned to discover this some 3,200 miles away in Berkeley, CA. No less than three of my friends turned to me in unison to say, "I thought you were from New York City." Well, no. I used to live in NYC before moving here (and before moving to Los Angeles before that). The straight truth is that I'm a hick. Tire swing and broke down car in the front yard and all.
It took a long time for me to embrace my country mouse roots. Only after living in Manhattan for a few years did I come to truly appreciate the beauty of the "country." Having the opportunity to slow down and get down in the dirt became a wonderful respite when I started feeling the city's mania in my bones. I always knew it was time for me to go upstate when I found myself wanting to push people down the subway stairs just so that I could get to work faster. A few days in the mountains was like hitting the reset button.
Now, although technically within the bounds of San Francisco, I find myself living a relatively small town life. This truly is the littlest big city. Ours is a particularly residential, family-friendly part of the City that suffocated me for at least the first year of my residency. After living in the East Village, I couldn't understand where all the people went at sundown. I was far more terrified to walk around my block with my dog at 9 pm than I was stumbling home drunk on Second Avenue at 3 am. While I've come to enjoy and respect the quiet, I do still stare wistfully out the window in our living room, looking for "action," as my husband teases. There is no action, other than the occasional fender bender or screaming child (often mine). Thankfully, downtown and it's various sights, sounds and naked homeless people are just a short ride away.
As much as I fake complain about it to my husband (if anyone wants a lesson in fake complaining, I'm quite the master), I love that I see no less than three or four friends on any one of my many daily outings with my tiny boss. We know our neighbors, our dry cleaners, our favorite farmer's marketers. It's so cute, it's a little nauseating. Nearly five years later and I'm finally starting to see why people love San Francisco. It's nice living. Now, where do I find it on the East Coast?