California dreaming...on such a winter's day...
Bicycles everywhere, the beach just around the corner - open markets and concerts in the park, art festivals galore - southern California really has an edge on the market with it's weather and all the summery things that go with it. In Seattle, we explode with summer festivals in the same way, but the allure of a year round summer is wickedly persuasive.
Amazingly, one of the cheaper real estate locations we have been looking at, it is more manageable than Boston, and seems that where we would be able to afford and get the quality we are looking for would coincide with a place that also includes the great things we'd enjoy moving to the area for.
Palm trees, surf boards, the renowned Coffee and Cars get togethers as well as the active Porsche 914 club and a climate we could take Grandpa's car out any time, top down, and really get to enjoy it...this list could go on and on.
My fears: feeling isolated in a sea of superficiality, the LA mentality, the incessant focus on image over substance, horrendous traffic, morphing into a huge suburbia that strips away the indie uniqueness we relish here in the Pacific Northwest.
How long would it take for my Seattle Ice to melt in the southern California sun? Be washed away by the waves like the red in my hair, the familiarity of a warm smile for everyone defrost on my face and eye contact become the regular greeting to another human being?
I find hope that the suburban homogenization can't really overtake an area that has such a basis in art festivals and culture. The abundance of creativity and talent seem to promise excellent local entertainment. The local convention centers and concert halls have legitimate awards of excellence...
Further, in it's defense, the conduciveness of the weather makes bike transportation a real option, not just for eco-reasons or for fun, but even to avoid traffic.
A great job would await the Boy, working for a company that generates insane profit and has strategically positioned themselves very well. The campus is lush and beautiful. More great benefits come with the position.
The reality? Although we complain about taxes and government funding here in Washington, the reality of the California bankruptcy promise interesting tax costs - everything from property taxes on top of property taxes, income tax, and "other" taxes we have yet to imagine. We would jump from Seattle liberalism to that strange brand of politics unique to California. Somehow, steamed celery and Hollywood dream sponsored government may eventually seem normal as I ride my board in on a wave and throw it on top of my VW bus. Or would that be as I throw my Coach bag in the back of my convertible BMW with my freshly manicured nails...
I'm still imagining the warmth of the sand under my blanket any time we wanted to grab our beach cruisers and head down to the beach, the promise of a sunny day and all the vitamin D a girl could handle. The Boy's hair would bleach almost white in the sun and it would be hard to imagine an off-season where a run or a ride didn't sound like a wonderful thing to do.
And yet, I know it would get old. I forlornly consider my cashmere sweater collection, what it will feel like to neatly fold them all, put them in a vacuum bag and seal them up for storage. Endless summer days, stretching throughout the year...I will yearn for boot season, for a rainy Christmas, for a reason to crave soup. The words will escape my mouth, with their familiar whine, about being too hot to run, too sunny.
The vacation list would alter: warm escapes like Mexico would be replaced with Tahoe in the winter and other cold/snowy/rainy locations, Washington wine tasting weekends would become explorations in Napa Valley.
I would work from home, maybe a sales office - similar to the options in either Boston or Philly, but trips back to Seattle for work would be easier. For some reason, the promise of sun seems to soften my fears of home office isolation, perhaps because I'm imagining that everyone will be engaging and social out and about. I realize my imagination is tying these things together, and that isolation will still be a factor for me to deal with. The metropolitan area is large and so close to Silicon Valley, that I know I will have options should the working remotely (or any part of my current job) no longer be a fulfilling situation.
...all the leaves are brown, and the sky is grey...I've been for a walk on a winter's day...
Yes, SoCal is intoxicating and alluring...the decision gets harder.