Location, location, location!
That is the answer to all sorts of marketing questions but I'm beginning to suspect that it may be the key to happiness as well. I had a wonderful time traveling around Portland this last week but I quickly realized that I was visiting a foreign culture. When I got off the plane my friend, Kirsten greeted me with an enthusiastic hug before asking, "I know you've been traveling all day but do you think you're up for an adventure?"
I had plenty of energy so I figured, why not? I tried to imagine what was in store for me. It was already past four so it probably wasn't going to be hiking or anything like that. Perhaps a show, a party, a late night event at a museum, something along those lines.
"My friend has invited us over to teach us how to do glass fusion!" Kirsten explained. "You know, it's when you take colored glass and fuse it together to make pretty little plates or decorative picture frames and that kind of stuff!"
In my mind, this isn't an adventure. This is an opportunity to exploit my biggest weakness. Never in my life, not even as a child, have I been good at arts and crafts. It's a fact that makes me distinctively different than the average Portland-native. I did play along. What is a vacation if not a chance to experience something different? Not that I found some secret love of glass fusion and yes, I do suck at it. But my reward afterward was a lovely dinner with a truly genuine and fun group of people. I liked them all a lot but just as the Sex, And The City world doesn't really belong to me neither does the world of tie-dye, no make-up and do-it-yourself domesticity. Occasionally I'll make a dinner from scratch but I'm much more at home with Trader Joe's fry-and-serve stir-fry and there ready to eat Hummus. And if I need a button replaced on a sweater I take it to my dry cleaner.
Furthermore, while I totally respect those who choose to forgo the influence of the fashion industry I personally am not only influenced by it but frequently fully embrace it. I love dressing up. I like playing with new make-up. And while I have a full appreciation of nature and a love hiking I wouldn't feel comfortable living in a town that didn't have several night clubs and at least one Nordstrom.
And that is why LA has been so easy for me to adapt to. Here I can have my cake AND my cupcakes. I can shop, visit the fun trendy new restaurants and clubs, wear my heels and make-up without ANYONE calling me materialistic or superficial. On the same token I can attend political events, eat health food, buy almost entirely recycled products and take my son to see the stars at the Observatory, watch the coyotes in Griffith Park and so on. I don't have to give anything up.
However, there aren't a lot of people here who know how to make a quilt. And if that was my thing I might feel a bit isolated. No one would come to my glass fusion parties.
And that's why LA isn't for everybody. It's not for the people who not only want to wear home-made tie-dye but would like others to give them a smile and a thumbs up when they do it. Nor is it for those who want to get together with friends to go berry picking before they make a home-made blueberry pie. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to do those things and it's important to remember that there is a time and a place for everything. For those people the time is now and the place is called Portland.
I'm so glad that I've found a place that suits me and all my quirks and eccentricities and I'm so glad Kirsten has found a home that allows her to be totally in her element. Most of all I'm glad that those two places are on the same coast so that every so often she can take my son berry picking and when she visits I can take her kids to the American Girl store at The Grove where, for a little over a hundred dollars, you can buy a perfectly stylized doll modeled after a fictional girl who once loved to go berry picking in the country (if you want the dolly-basket that goes with that it's available for another 60 bucks). If they come during the holidays we can see the man-made snow outside and the festively dressed showgirls doing high kicks to a rocked-out version of We Wish You A Merry Christmas.
It's all so very LA.
Bestselling Author of:
SEX, MURDER AND A DOUBLE LATTE,
PASSION, BETRAYAL AND KILLER HIGHLIGHTS,
OBSESSION, DECEIT AND REALLY DARK CHOCOLATE
SO MUCH FOR MY HAPPY ENDING