Other than paring down possessions, not much could’ve prepared us for our global bedouin way of life, having no end date, though lasted a decade. It took us the first two years to purge a three bedroom, three bath, tri-level live-work loft and subterranean garage’s belongings to fit inside a 4’x5’storage unit; necessary for quick exchange of personal effects every eight weeks prior to seeing patrons in America. Two of the four containers inside our storage unit housed LouLou’s stuffed animals, worth every penny of twelve thousand dollars spent during ten years ensuring Piggy and company’s well-being.
Ubering to hotels from BOS, DAL, LAX, JFK, and SFO, checking in, receiving Instacart deliveries for sustenance, days later completing that engagement, returning to the airport hardly qualified residing in America. It wasn’t until grocery shopping recently when I bumped into another cart, looking up to see an acquaintance, who appeared ten years older (as do I) when it actually registered just how lengthy our travels had been, whether in Southern Europe, various spots throughout Mexico or Southeast Asia.
Before gaining full re-entry status (out of necessity) we elected a soft short-term landing rather than plunging into our exact, yet to be determined destination of choice. Our summer 2018 creative launchpad hasn’t revealed itself thus far — though LouLou’s high school has.
The lack of daily responsibilities which come with living abroad, alongside that unfamiliar routine became addicting, however, as addictions go, they wind up becoming an utter nuisance sooner or later. Freedom fastening my seatbelt before takeoff, minutes later daydreaming while clouds drift by eventually morphed into the mundane — undoubtedly I became jaded to the nth degree. Over time upon foreign arrival, what had once been an exotic culture felt repetitious — another rut in distant lands.
Our six month stateside pop-up requirements were to regroup within proximity to a major airport (pivoting to work) in a toasty climate, though not humid, with, if possible, an easy on the senses environment, without pretension and light traffic. Eight is by far my favored number; it represents infinity. This town’s main freeway running east or westbound is Interstate 8, concluding in San Diego’s Ocean Beach; a rare Southern California leftist enclave, these days boasting million dollar price tags for puny two bedroom bungalows. I spoke with someone in Midtown Manhattan last week, she mentioned the high that day was 28° with a low of 14°; I practically felt guilty admitting it was 77° here shortly after 9am. For my money, the most gorgeous stretch of urban/rural roadway in California serpentines south or northbound through San Diego’s Balboa Park, formerly Cabrillo Freeway, presently U.S. 163.
Jeanette, LouLou and I have been in San Diego a month now after my departure forty-two years ago (graduating sixteen hundred hours of cosmetology school, alongside Caryn Johnson aka Whoopi Goldberg) living here between age eight and eighteen ten miles east of Downtown. Not much changed: surfing reigns supreme, neck and neck with micro breweries, Mexican food is abundant, sunsets still jaw-dropping, and serene people, almost alarmingly so. There is something quite possible about San Diego “air” which transmits a hypnotic vibe, blended by sun scorching the Pacific’s brine, San Diego’s mountain pine trees, along with Mexicali’s manzanita.
A classic “air” infused scenario was the San Diego Chargers debacle, this town’s meat and potatoes for almost sixty years. Alex Spanos, the Chargers owner demanded a new stadium; he didn’t get it, then opted for Los Angeles, where his team now shares an antiquated stadium with the LA Rams, another humdrum NFL team. San Diegans burned their Chargers gear in bonfires throughout San Diego County January 2017. That was last year; fans breathed San Diego “air” for fourteen months and all is bliss again.
Jim Fitzpatrick, San Diego Magazine’s publisher must be catching his evening shut-eye al fresco, consuming twice as much San Diego “air” as other residents. Jim insists his magazine should solely cover technology, believing San Diego’s tech industry closely rivals the Bay Area. Such narrow-minded vision from this influential individual, as too Spanos, prevents San Diegans from their much deserved broader recognition. On the other hand, perhaps Fitzpatrick may have a more selfish ulterior motive: if San Diego was to burgeon the way it should, San Diegans may someday reluctantly bid farewell to their city’s quaint appeal.
Dallas February 26-27
San Francisco February 27-March 3
Emerald Triangle March 3-6
Boston March 16-17
New York March 17-19