Our first trip to Atlanta together, and Alex’s first time being there, was to find a house. I had lived there as a kid, so I was familiar, but you take a lot for granted as a kid. The city and I had changed tremendously in the last 25 years or so. Circling Atlanta in the plane before landing we couldn’t help but notice the subdivision tracts going every direction like giant millipedes across the land.
I had talked Atlanta up quite a bit to cheer Alex when her opinion of the move waned, but now I was even feeling fooled. The air outside was not only cold, but wet. This was winter and the popular Bermuda grass was a dormant brownish-gold. Most neighborhood trees were leafless brown sticks. I tried to be positive. “At least there are four seasons!” Her response: “What’s this, the dead one?”
Our realtor was a friend of a friend, but we didn’t expect much as our experience with realtors in LA was not so great. Probably 90% of LA realtors do the job because they can’t do anything else, and most of that 90% are disenchanted entertainment hopefuls. There is a husband and wife team who probably had a hard time getting cast in nowhere-near-Broadway theater in whatever town they came from, who now cast themselves in their own singing and dancing real estate commercials. They belt off-cue, “Nothing could be finer than Jeff and Joni Finer.” You can pretty much weed out the less serious realtors in LA by how closely their real estate pictures resemble old acting headshots.
Nancy was a breath of fresh air in that regard and she seemed to take her job seriously. She had us meet in her office where she had done her homework. There were loads of homes to sort through. More so because we weren’t sure where we should live, so they were all over town.
We noticed a pattern pretty quickly: Every home was in a subdivision and each subdivision had a name right out of a soap opera. These names were to evoke beauty, status, power and pleasure. There was The Reserve at Summer Haven, Country Club of the South, The Legends of Settendown, Sugarloaf, and more Saints than the Vatican: St. Andrews, St. Ives, St. Marlo….