I don't have any pictures to post right now, but I may have some later this week. Zeke is doing great, and so is Shanti. I'll go into detail on their adventures in future posts. For now, a few of my observations about life (back) in the Southland:
-Observation #1: The 80s are alive and well here. At least musically. Where in the Bay Area there might be 80s hour on one channel at lunchtime, or really late at night, here you can find 80s music at any time of day, any day of the week, on at least five different stations. So odd. No 70s, no 90s, just 80s. All the time. Even on radio stations that purport to have some other format. In the car on the way to the gym the other day I was so pleased to find what I thought was a pop station. My good friend Katy Perry was singing to me about how her man was “hot and then cold, yes and then no.” It was good and thumpy and fun. Perfect music for a warm day with the windows down. I turned it up. Then, just as I was patting myself on the back for having found a non-80s station, the DJ throws on a little Devo. That's right—Devo! Whip It. Being played on the radio in 2009. It continued at the gym, where I was treated to Rebel Yell, Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?, and a Pet Shop Boys tune, before the DJ put John Mayer on like nothing ever happened. Like that whole sequence made perfect sense. Same thing at the supermarket, the car wash, the salon. They play Like a Virgin around here like it was released yesterday. And Van Halen? If you just landed here from another planet you'd think they were the most popular band on earth right now.
-Observation #2: The customer service here is incredible. At first I just thought we were having a string of lucky encounters with courteous and enthusiastic retailers, but it's been two solid weeks now and it's clear that this is not luck—it's a pattern. We have not had a single bad experience at a restaurant, dry cleaner, grocery store, or anywhere for that matter. And these people are not just running through the script that the corporation assigns them. They're polite, helpful, and seemingly genuine in their friendliness. We can't figure out what's going on or why there is such a huge disparity between here and the Bay Area (and truly, it's no contest), but we like it.
-Observation #3: The parents down here dress way better than we do (and by "we," I mean Bay Area parents because I still think of myself as a Bay Area resident). Think daddies that pretty much all look like some variation of Tommy Lee, but with much fewer tats, very carefully pressed jeans, and unspeakably expensive shoes and jackets. And moms that are almost universally fit and cute, wearing equally stylish clothing (LOTS of fake boobs too--there is clearly no taboo about that down here). I don't know where these people work, but I'm guessing it's not Amgen. Maybe the music industry, because they even look too cool for the movies.
That's it for now. I know--sweeping observations, totally unfair...but I'm just reporting. Tellin' it like I see it. No offense intended to L.A. or the Bay Area.