My friends can’t believe I survived six months in Malibu. They were sure I’d get bored with the same tedious weather, and that my abrasive, pushy, loud New York ways would make me feel so uncomfortable in laid back Southern California, I would have no choice but to return to the old country with my tail between my legs.
Au contraire! I have not only survived the monotonous weather here, but might be able to bear it for let’s say another three decades, which would be just about right. I have endured the decent, caring and welcoming behavior of the people I’ve met, and I might just be willing to put up with their kindness a bit longer.
Of course, the adjustment at first was strange to say the least. I remember attending a candidates’ forum in Point Dume and not recognizing a single individual in the crowd of almost 200 people. But as time went on, faces became more familiar. I recall how thrilled I was when I realized the somebody I had seen at the Malibu Gym was the same person I bumped into at Pavilions. It is a small world indeed.
Over time the few brain cells I have left started to put it all together. I figured out Calabasas wasn’t in Mexico, you pump your own gasoline here, and the 405 is to be avoided at all costs. I also learned a jacket and tie are not needed at a good restaurant or anywhere else for that matter, bringing lemons to a friend is like bringing coal to Newcastle, the Dodgers don’t play in Ebbets Field anymore even if Vin Scully still announces their games, rattlesnakes and coyotes really do exist, surfing is a religion, and you might not want to be anywhere near the PCH late Friday afternoon in the summer.
I got a driver’s license, registered to vote, got my teeth cleaned and planted a garden. To be perfectly honest, Manuel planted the garden. In any case, I have cast my lot with the West Coast.
And so tomorrow is my six month anniversary. If I were a betting man, I’d bet I’m going to stay right where I am in Malibu. I’ve seen the promised land.