, , , , , , , , ,

“No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.” – Lin Yutang

It takes time to get situated after moving. You have to find the socks and the can opener, adjust to morning light coming in a northern window instead of a western one, chart the best routes to the office and the mall. You have to buy plants and assemble furniture.

Afterward, you have to rest and recover. Some vignettes as the ability to post cohesively returns:

When I moved to San Francisco several years ago, I left a rare L.A. neighborhood where everything was in walking distance, including a branch of every major bank. Except mine. My bank got gobbled up by a bigger bank, and a financial behemoth gulped the bigger bank and closed my branch. Moving back minus a car, I rejoiced to find a branch of the behemoth while out for a stroll. A couple of weeks later, I realized a favorite restaurant was gone. At Trader Joe’s demo station people told me it happened about a year earlier. “Like we need another bank,” one guy said sarcastically.” Easy for you to say, I thought; I need that branch. Which replaced my restaurant. Talk about conflict.

The clerks in my grocery story are the same as when I left, except they look older. I mean, like, they have aged in the blink of an eye. Made me wonder about my own self. I have elected not to pursue enquiries.

The fog and variegated gray San Francisco skies are the stuff that noir is made of. Raymond Chandler notwithstanding, Los Angeles is the city of bright light. The sun is, after all, a star.

Just the aisle space in my neighborhood chain drugstore is enough for two or three San Francisco stores.

But about all the space in L.A.–in S.F. I lived about two miles from the ocean, as the crow flies. The surface itinerary: Catch the bus at the corner, ride for 10 minutes, transfer to the streetcar that ends at the beach. I usually walked the remaining scant mile rather than wait for the streetcar. I relearned the vastness of L.A. the day I set out for the beach, three buses and about 30 miles away. I blew off the first transfer. Ride between Hollywood and Santa Monica boulevards? I used to make that walk without even noticing it. But after San Francisco’s short city blocks, I certainly notice now.