At the end of the night he said something that really got me thinking.
“When I went back to Japan, I thought, I will always be in Japan. But coming to California again, makes me want to be back here.”
Oh California. When you leave her, she is like that one love you never get over. Just like that one love, she can be volatile (seen the real estate market lately?) and depressing (traffic has gone from a five hour “rush hour” thing to dealing with snails on Prozac almost twenty-four seven!) She’s also mighty expensive to keep happy (rent, insurance, care registration) and difficult to figure out (take the 210 to the 57 to the 5 to the 22 and got off on the second exit).
Yet, she is warm and beautiful. Full of energy, promise and diversity. Never a dull moment this California. Just when you think you got her all figured out, she shakes things up a bit, sometimes literally in the middle of the night, in the form of a 3.5 magnitude earthquake.
I was born in San Diego, so technically, I am a native, although my parents took me back to Wisconsin where they grew up when I was a toddler. My father had gotten a job and newly married, they decided to make the move. After several years out here, the company my dad worked for was going under and my grandfather was sick, so back they went to the frozen Tundra.
I grew up hearing about this magical place out west that never had winter. I am sure that’s why from almost the time I could form sentences, I told people I would live in California someday and be an actress or a singer. My parents came for visits after I moved out here, but never came back to live. My father always said leaving was one of the biggest regrets of his life.
“That was the happiest time of our lives, out in San Diego. I wish we would have stuck it out when it got a little hard.”
I remembered those words when I first came out here. I got lost, A LOT! The guy I was living with at the time was out on the road running sound for a rock band and I didn’t have a friend in the world. I went on auditions for bands and music projects and instead of going up against a couple of people, there were 20 to 30 other girls. If you told someone in Wisconsin you were in a band, they were amazed. In California, they usually said, “So am I.”
But I stuck it out. I met some wonderful people, some of who are still part of what I call my “California family.” I got to sing in all different parts of California and Nevada. Many I had never even heard of (Parker and Bishop are rarely discussed in the Midwest). I even got my own piece of the California dream, a house with a tiny postage size yard that natives look at and say, “Wow, you have a lot of outdoor space!’
I have been thinking about this California thing a lot lately. I have a job that at some point will be leaving the state. The question of whether I would move or not has come up. There are days when I am sitting on the 210 for an hour when it doesn’t seem totally out of the question.
But then, a day like yesterday happens. We were watching football, where almost everyone was freezing, in shorts and sweatshirts, with the windows open. At half time, I went outside and picked a few lemons off my tree.
The picture I posted is not some vacation shot. It is my view from my gym, less than one mile from my door. I see it every day.
Would I leave her, this crazy, intoxicating, unpredictable love of mine? Not yet. Maybe not ever.