Los Angeles

Back Yard

I moved to Los Angeles a few decades ago, when I was young and eager and open to adventure.  Also I had a spot in a graduate program at UCLA.

Some of my friends, those who leaned towards the hippie persuasion, were horrified. “You’re not going to stay down there, are you?” asked one.  “LA is so shallow, so superficial. You’ll be back when you graduate?”

I promised him I would, but I knew I couldn’t be sure.

Los Angeles is seductive.  You come here for a short stint – say, graduate school – and then you wake up on a sunny January morning and it’s 70 degrees and there’s a fresh ocean breeze and flowers are blooming, brightly colored things that seem incongruous and wonderful to a relocated Midwesterner.

In grad school, those of us who were newcomers liked to quiz our native born classmates.  Over and over we asked, “Is it always like this?”

They would look at us uncertainly, not sure what we found strange about eating a picnic lunch on the grass in the middle of winter.

“Well, we usually have a few 80 degree days in January…”

A few 80 degree days.

Now, observations about the balmy weather in Los Angeles often cause people who have never lived here to remark, “Yes, but I like the seasons.”

I like the seasons, too.  I like visiting winter in Chicago from time to time, experiencing the brisk breeze off the lake and the cold air that freezes your nasal passages whenever you take a breath.  I like to study the ice that forms on puddles and stare, awestruck, at the negative numbers on the thermometer. Then I like to go back to California.

My daughter attended college in Ohio.  She often came home for a few days in February and I would pick her up at LAX, a gritty concrete maze overstuffed with traffic and irritable travelers. She would smile happily when I pulled up.

“It’s so nice here,” she would say.

It was 70 degrees.

(A-Z Blogging Challenge: L is for Los Angeles)