Lately, with everything that has been going on (I could insert a list again here, but I’ll spare you my moaning), both B. and I have been feeling the urge to escape. Now, this may seem ironic, as the last time we “escaped” away to Mexico, the results were not what we had intended. But no, this Escape we’re planning is much larger and more dramatic.
We live in LA.
This is LA.
Now granted, those of you who are LA-savvy and read my blog closely may have picked up on the fact that I live on the Westside. The Westside of Los Angeles is a bit different than urban-smog-land. We live in Venice, a few blocks from the artsy-hipster-land of Abbott Kinney Blvd, ¼ of a mile from the beach, and a few steps away from this:
But regardless of the fact that those of us who are lucky enough to live on the Westside feel somehow “removed from LA,” the truth is, it’s still a huge city with too many people and too many problems. Now I know that living in this city has had nothing to do with the stressors we’ve had so far (unless you count traffic killing our cat?), but the thing is, that living here makes it seem like you are already functioning on a higher level of stress as your homeostasis.
Things are just harder in the city. The noise. The helicopters circling our house at night. The 30-60 minute commute for ten miles of distance (where I end up in downtown LA – the heart of it all). The people. And just the fact that everyone is exponentially harder here. For example: You decide to run to the grocery store to grab something for dinner. You fight with traffic, people cutting you off and then yelling at you about it, you search desperately for a parking spot (good luck), you wait in lines and then pay too much for your food, and then on the way home you realize you should fill up your gas tank before the drive to work tomorrow, but you can’t find a gas station without long lines that is easy to pull into from the busy road so you just say ‘fuck it’ and go back home.
Now, I’m not saying there aren’t great things about living here. There are. There really are. But this post isn’t about the restaurants, the culture, the weather or the beaches. It is about the fact that we are used to moving at a faster pace with a higher level of tension at all times, just due to the sheer proximity to too many other people. Some people may be used to this. Some people may thrive off of it. But, as someone who grew up in Montana, sometimes it just seems like too much.
And so B. and I dream. We dream about the perfect place where we can Have It All. We know going home to Montana isn’t the solution. Those lazy days and beautiful dirt roads are also filled with boredom, unemployment, and dreary, dreary weather. Oh, and a lot of really conservative people. Right now our dream Escape location is to northern California. Specifically, wine country. Sonoma-ish.
We dream about owning 10-20 acres (I need land!) where I can have my horses, our dogs can roam free, and we can see the stars. At the same time, being close enough to civilization that we can have a gourmet dinner, enjoy local wines, or jet down to San Francisco for the weekend. Hey, we’re dreaming, right??
The problem is, how do you finance that dream? So we’re here. Working really hard. Stressfully experiencing LA and all the good/bad it has to offer. It’s just that….lately, we want to put everything in the car and run away to somewhere slower and gentler.
What do you guys think? Is “Place” important? Or should you develop our own internal sense of place wherever you live? Do you find yourselves dreaming as a solution to life problems? Do you have an “ideal place” in mind?
p.s. I will bake Virtual Cookies for anyone who can give me a rational, believable excuse that will me feel better about procrastinating at work to write this blog post when I am desperately behind. There must be some kind of neurochemical reason why pregnant women are helpless to procrastination….right???