A Long Commute

Ventura Boulevard is like the spice trails of old on steroids. It’s a world bazaar with authentic Thai food next to not so authentic Thai massage; a Jewish deli sharing strip-mall space with a Palestinian grocer; a hand-made baby carriage shop two doors down from a hand-made sex swing shop.

I was driving down this paved stretch of paradoxes after a day of collecting signatures, and not the celebrity kind. I was a pharmaceutical rep with a daily quota of Doctor’s signatures to acquire: Proof that I had been there. I was bored and relatively underpaid compared to how these companies profit from something that may or may not cause loss-of-limb.

My cell phone rang and I fumbled with the required-by-law earpiece, almost swiping the car in the next lane while noting how much the passenger resembled Oprah—this was LA, after all. On the phone was the manager from Easton Hockey, who I was hoping to get a job with so I could leave the drug-rep grind and do something fun.

He had good news and bad: the good—I got the job; the bad—it was not in LA. “Where?” my wife Alex asked when I broke the news. “Atlanta” I tried to say as cheerfully as possible. “Well, that’ll be a long commute” she retorted.

We had been in LA for fifteen years. Five of those years were just getting settled. LA is a city that is not easy to get used to, but once you do it’s hard to imagine anything else. It’s a city of extremes: A lot to hate, but just as much to love. But like on a surfboard, we had found our balance and we were riding a good wave.

That night though, we did some surfing of the internet kind and the conditions suddenly changed. “Where is Alpharetta?” Alex asked. “Look at these houses.” “You couldn’t get a decent condo in LA for these prices. Three acres, and a pond!?” I’m not sure if it was the nesting instinct in her, the bargain hunter or what, but our LA home was on the market the next week.



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