Tuesday, October 06, 2009




This is where I spend a few hours a week. I mostly read while Mulan is taking gymnastics classes. When we lived in Los Angeles, gymnastics for Mulan was 45 minutes away - that's one way - in often terrible, crushing, soul-stealing traffic. I felt my whole life was eaten up with the drive. The parents/caretakers area was very small and crowded and it stunk of sweat and exhaustion and old stale candy. It was loud too because many mothers had younger children in tow. It's hard to become engrossed in a book when there are literally children screaming at your feet. Parking was a nightmare, you had a choice of a valet who would stack the cars, making it a lengthy process getting your car back at the end of class. You could park on the street - four blocks away but only if you were lucky. Typically you could only park about five or six blocks from the gym. Mulan went to gymnastics four or five times a week. There was an internet connection but for reasons I still don't understand, it would only let you be online for fifteen minutes and then it would cut you off. There was no way to even buy more internet time.

Now we are here in Wilmette. There is plenty of parking - god I almost cried the first time I pulled into the embarrassingly large parking lot. There are lots of places to sit and read. There is reliable and abundant wi-fi.

So now I read in quiet. I get excited when I realize it's gymnastics day.

But there is something sad too. I miss the old place in L.A.! Yes, I'm going through a romanticizing-my-life-in-L.A. period, but I miss it weirdly. The smallness of the parents room forced me to know the other parents, to overhear their phone calls, to help with a screaming kid. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to engage any more than I am right now. But there was a camaraderie I felt there - the exasperation was so communal, I felt those other parents were my peeps. Of course, I'm forgetting the ones that drove me crazy... But still... This is different, here. It's everything I wanted, yet I feel it's a little sterile and cold. This does not come from the people - at all - the parents here are warm and inviting. It's just, in L.A., the hustle-closeness-difficulty of surviving in a big city versus the expanse and luxury and isolation of the suburbs. I dunno. I kind of miss the misery.

WAIT A SEC. No, I don't! I am reading, I am writing, I am focusing my time, USING my time much better HERE than in L.A.

12 comments:

pietro c said...

reading julias blog i was inspired to make a pilgrimage to baby blue ribs in venice its in my neighborhood but i had never been now whenever i go there i pour a libation of hot and spicy barbeque sauce unto lincoln blvd to honor the month i spent listening to letting go of god while driving around los angeles laughing my ass off and avoiding several nearly fatal accidents happy birthday julia my is oct 9 and will be spending it at knotts halloween haunt pietro c

rachel421 said...

I can relate to this post. I just recently moved from an urban environment to a town/city. Still live in the business district, but that old hustle and bustle is gone. Lots of suburbs here, and conservatism. Just doesn't feel like home, but there are always pros to go with those cons!

After staying in a friends beach house out in the middle of nowhere for a few months, I decided being in an isolated area is just plain spooky! (even with the sound of waves in the background!)

giftsofthejourney said...

I traded a house and job in downtown Atlanta with a population of 5.5 million for a village in Cornwall England with about 500 people.

I really like it and I'm not sure I could ever go back to city living. I love being able to walk to a pub where as they say, " Everybody knows your name."

There are a few other Americans around to keep me from getting too homesick and I ichat with friends and family in the states. I fly home to visit every 4 to 6 months and have begun to wig a bit when I do because of the traffic and noise. It's a strange twist for a former committed city dweller.

Anonymous said...

we live in the silver lake neighborhood of LA, 'the fertile crescent', and while I love it and feel surrounded by my people--liberal, older parents--i am too tired to be hip anymore. i want to move to Oak Park or to Madison cuz i think it's ok to let kids have a slower, calmer introduction to the madness of life and its constant demands. my kid should get to experience the joy of crossing the street on his own.
love your blog, saw you perform in LA, have cheered you along. thank you for sharing your experiences with us,

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