It’s a little strange to be living in Michigan. On the one hand, I remember in such a deep and visceral way the first smells of Spring. It is still such a sweet delight for me. On the other, it seems I’d chosen to forget about how swollen my eyes get with allergy during the Spring. I’d also chosen to forget about how hard it is to get out of bed in the morning when the sun isn’t blaring in my face as it did in L.A.
I’m not upset that we moved. I sort of expected that at some point but it hasn’t come. This (almost) year of change has been a grief process in a way. Or at least lots of denial. I guess minus the anger. You know, I had the denial that winter wouldn’t be so cold. Even though it wasn’t as cold as is typical, for me, it was damn cold. I had denial that I wouldn’t miss the hustle and bustle of L.A. But sometimes, and I stress sometimes, I do. There’s an electric charge there that in small doses suits me I think. The problem though, was that it became really unbalanced. Airplanes taking off and landing all.night.long. Neighbors only 6 feet away. Traffic. More traffic. It’s interesting how we can adapt in certain situations. Until we can’t (or won’t) adapt anymore.
One of my favorite memories of being in L.A. is driving home from a long day of work at the hospital in my little blue convertible Z3. As I came off the 105 and drove west on Imperial Highway, eventually I could see the sun lingering over the Pacific. It was intense and beautiful and for me, very California.
Another favorite was our Sunday morning ritual of getting up, lingering over the paper while N made some corn cakes and bacon then heading over to my sister’s apartment building (even after she moved), pretending that we lived there—Hey! We had a key to the gate!—so we could use the poorly kept tennis courts.
Then there are the real stereotypical L.A. memories: Lakers games, fancy restaurants, celebrity sightings, raw vegan diets and big sunglasses. It was fun in the moment for sure.
I thought there was no way in hell I’d ever move back to Michigan. However, every once in a while I’d get really nostalgic and just yearn for a thunder storm. Or my Mom. Or a lake instead of an ocean. Or for a place less acutely electric and more comfortable. L.A. has got to be one of the least comfortable places around.
I’ve been away from than frenetic world now for close to a year and it seems like more than that to me. Like a weird dream, really. I know that I’m still me, no matter where I go. But I can’t escape the fact that I am a little different here. I’m less vigilant about superficial things like clothes and shoes (although I still adore a good outfit!). I don’t miss driving on freeways and can easily avoid driving on more than a 2 lane road unless I want to go down-state. My mind is more calm in general and easier to quiet when it’s getting chaotic. And I have budding friendships here with people that are good, solid people. Looking back, I probably knew this all along, but my friendships in L.A. were a little flimsy. People just seem more invested in getting to know one another here as compared to my experience in L.A.
That L.A. woman that was me seems like Somebody That I Used To Know. And I’m ok with that. At least I am today.
Have you heard this song by Gotye? Between Pandora and Satellite radio, we are digging up some excellent music lately.
Has a geographical shift happened to you? Who did you used to be?