May 17, 2005

On the Move

FOR REASONS OBVIOUS AND NOT SO, I'll be moving to Seattle in September. Quite a change from my perch here high above the Pacific in Laguna Beach, and not without its drawbacks -- moving itself, for starters. Still, this beach idyll, if you don't ride the wild surf, is not without its drawbacks and I'm yearning to find myself back in a Hive of sorts. Those who know Seattle know its shapes and attitudes and lifestyle. For those who don't, here are a few "Postcards" by my friend, Robert Fulghum, who knows the city in a broader and wiser way than most.


Three tousle-haired and bare-footed kids in the nine or ten year old class smile and wave from behind their lemonade stand on a corner not far from my house. They are very proud of their stand and especially their sign. "FRESH COLD LEMONADE 25 CENTS." Every word is spelled correctly and printed neatly. Being a sucker for lemonade stands, I stopped to sample their wares, and complimented them on the sign. "Well, we go to school, you know," said one, somewhat indignant that I would even infer a lack of language skills.

They are doing a booming business, despite the fact that their lemonade is a bit sour. Part of their success is due to their father, supervising in a lawn chair from the shade of a tree several yards behind them. He has what looks like a small plastic water bottle in his hand. Checking to see if the coast is clear, he points to the bottle and flashes a large grin and a small sign at me. "Shot of vodka, $1.00."

Let Your Shirt Speak Your Truth

Now is when your "Condition Red-Alert T-shirt" comes in handy.

The guy in the postcard view is in this shape. Whatever his capability may be at the moment, he has been here before and he is prepared. The words on his shirt speak for him: "TALL LATTE, WHOLE MILK, DOUBLE SHOT, please." With the unspoken subtext of "Just give me coffee and I won't go barking mad in your store and bite somebody."

The Neighbors

Finally, here's a picture of John Hay Elementary school in summer. Deserted. Forlorn. The grass needs weeding and mowing. Boring postcard. I live across the street. The house next to me is for sale and a potential buyer came to see me yesterday to ask how I thought the school affected property values. "Well, if you have 300 young neighbors who are committed to learning, drawing, singing, dancing, writing, reading, math, and playing, it's a hell of a deal. They don't party late at night and they're doing field trips out in the world in summer. I'd say they increase the values of our houses by 25 per cent. I miss them when they're gone."

The lady looked at the school. Looked at me. And went away.

She's not moving in.

That's okay. I am.

Posted by Vanderleun at May 17, 2005 9:28 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Please stay in Laguna.

Posted by: Charles Fuhrman at August 17, 2005 1:06 PM

Thank you for the sentiment, but since I've decided, among other things, to return to creating income instead of just cruising along on investments and other measures, the reality is that Laguna is not really a motherlode of revenue possibilities for a person in my line or lines of work.

Posted by: Gerard Van Der Leun at August 17, 2005 1:14 PM

Welcome to the Pacific Northwest. If you don''t mind the liberal newspapers and voters, the place is beautiful and a great place to live.

Posted by: RANDI ZABEL at August 17, 2005 5:21 PM

Not at all. I note the Liberal voters and newspapers and plan to counteract the voters by one and perhaps start a newspaper that caters to those who are not quite so left, i.e. one in the center and without the ads for sex, tattoos, and politicians sucking up to the unions and the teachers.

We note that the current governor won on, I think, the third recount with a hundred votes and change, so change is in the cards... even for Seattle and Washington.

Posted by: Gerard Van Der Leun at August 17, 2005 5:27 PM

Hey congratulations and enjoy August and September if they're not too hazy. I grew up on the corner of NW 100th and 5th, and while I've enjoyed my travels, I still miss it. Nice vignettes, btw.

Posted by: Mike Beversluis at August 17, 2005 6:11 PM

I'm a Carlsbad, CA native so I feel concern with the move to any place other than Southern Cal. It all sounds Ok until you actually get there. S. Cal. is v. liberal in places but also has Camp Pendleton and the Navy and Air Force Bases downtown and wonderful retired military folk which give help a lot with the Blue State Blues. Hope you find pockets of hope in Seattle. Here in the exact middde, in swing state Missouri, I totally enjoy your blog and have never forgotten the post you did with the pics on reasons to vote for Bush. I saved it and it still gives me goosebumps when I view it. Pictures of 9/11 should be shown more often. We forget easily, you know.

Posted by: tmt at August 17, 2005 7:25 PM

I applaud the move. But then I'm basically a selfish person.

Posted by: Mrs. VdL at August 17, 2005 7:28 PM

See Stefan Sharkansky's group web log Sound Politics for a primer on all things Seattle. Stefan is also a re-located Californian.

Posted by: kevin at August 18, 2005 8:34 AM

I never met you but I live near Laguna and feel like I am going to miss you. I was proud you lived around me. Silly, isn't it?

Always a fan, Barbara

Posted by: Barbara Spalding at August 18, 2005 12:55 PM

I'm with Barbara on this one, but look forward to your take on the Emerald City.

Posted by: Stephen B at August 23, 2005 7:37 PM

I am in the Emerald City and it is indeed beautiful this time of year. We know the real reason for your can still smoke in restaurants! See you at El Gaucho or on the Ducks amphib. This will be a good hive for you.

Posted by: L.A.Hart at August 25, 2005 11:10 AM