11.30.07

Los Angeles: A Mixed Bag

Posted in Monthly at 2:04 pm by Pasha

It seems that just yesterday I was basking in the sunshine on a perfectly splendid 75-degree day. But alas, it was L.A. in a late November, could it have been anything but glorious?

Snow flurries swirled as we left Chicago at 4 a.m. Thanksgiving day for the West Coast. When we touched down later, it was like landing in a different country. The sky was a curious shade of blue, clouds not included, and the chill that creeps up your pant-leg in the Midwest was nowhere to be found.

The feeling made my memories reach back to years ago, on my first visit out west. I was stunned and excited then, too. I was escaping a frigid New York January. However, with this thought, I immediately became unsure of Chicago. New York had rarely gotten as cold in the dead of February, as it was in late autumn in Chicago. I started to panic immediately; I was frightened to death of the isolated cold that seems to be Chicago’s trademark.

What if this time, like last time, I totally fell for all things California? What if I wanted to move that far away? How could I stop it this time? Will I ever truly be happy in a climate where the wind freezes your blood and the icy slush the marks the post holiday season ruins your favorite shoes and confines your toes for six months of the year?

Strangely though, this time around, I wasn’t transfixed by the city itself or even the landscape. Maybe Destin, Fla., Europe and Central America had changed my view, changed the eyes in which I see a sunshine paradise. Sure, the way Malibu follows the beach and backs up to mountains is persuasive, but it was no Manuel Antonio. It seemed that everywhere we turned folks were packed in like crayons in a box. Rude crayons, too. The people in Los Angeles weren’t generally cordial or specifically helpful and sweet.

Aside from the weather, which is the most blatant reason for the L.A.’s fabulousness, the best part about this visit was the company we shared. A splendidly interesting couple hosted us for Thanksgiving. They are the kind of people that, like my parents, have so many stories to tell about a like well spent following dreams and hearts. Matthew’s sister and her little boy are like rays of good karma; their life in L.A. is absolutely organic, tender and terrific. Their Brentwood neighborhood boasts majestic homes, the kind you only expect in movies. And Heath, the little guy, is the kind of baby that is so syrupy sweet, that as he giggled and gently caressed my face, I thought I might very well melt.

I boarded the late night red eye to fly home to Chicago and wondered how I would feel once the plane landed. I knew one thing was for sure, I was going to be cold. In all of the pre-holiday excitement I had only grabbed a sweater. And I wonder, maybe all I need to get me through the winter is a really long, down-filled coat.

11.06.07

Is It Time?

Posted in Monthly at 2:19 pm by Pasha