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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

You know you're in California when . . .

Walking across the Golden Gate Bridge should be enough to know where you are, the iconic red suspension structure like a giant erector-set construction spanning the Bay where the Pacific Ocean flows into America. A mile or two of stunning views, the waves far below, ships pushing seaward or returning, cormorant-like birds perched on the rocks sunning their wings in the breeze, the stepped skyline of San Francisco a few miles into the landward haze, the natural air-conditioning chill of the Pacific ocean cooling the full-noon sun to a pleasant live-able perfection, the brisk exercise of a long walk suspended high in the air. Of course there are the carefully spaced emergency call-boxes connecting would-be jumpers to a counseling hotline, labeled "warning, a fall from this bridge could have fatal or disastrous consequences" (note that the two are not synonyms), which injects a slight doubt into the otherwise idyllic scene.
But you really know you're in California when you're passed by a biker decked in full reflective gear, skin-tight racing togs, clip-shoes, streamlined helmet, and look up to realize she's a 70-something year old, and there's a group out for a training ride together, all with grey hair. Or when you're passed by a 20-something running male, shirtless, designer sunglasses, discreet tattoo, glistening in probably organic sunscreen, wearing a personal training heart-rate monitor . . and he's pushing an inhabited baby-jogger. This is the land of the healthy lifestyle, the gender-neutral role, the environmentally-aware consciousness, the impeccable image, where it's probably easier to find a tofu-based fair-trade free-range all-organic anything than an ounce of fat. A land of spectacular views and climate, and thoughtful people and meaningful community, still some opportunity and a good bit of wealth.
It is also the land of half our family, so we know we're in California when we're eating gourmet meals every night, when we're cared for and rested, when we have access to all their toys and time. Jack and Julia are loving boogey-boarding, riding in the foamy crash of waves up onto the sand, in wet-suits to protect from the frigid ocean temps. We've accompanied granddad on his bike rides, sat around the table with papers and coffee, walked on the beach, and cheered the cousins on in roller hockey and volleyball games. So, to close, we know we're in California when we hear the question that haunts our hearts: "Mom and Dad, why don't we live here?"


Anonymous said...

hahaha! i just started college here in cali, so i can definitely relate to all these strange experiences:) if you ever come farther down south, i'd love to know! ~Christina C

KevinandJD said...

Perhaps hard to believe right now, but IF you did resettle in California, I would predict within the first year J&J would begin questioning when they could go back home. At least true for us... we have those discussions at least once a month and they are HAPPY here.