Between the Lines

California Dreaming

You never know what Lady Fortuna has in store for you next.

Having quit college—after all, I knew what I wanted to do, and didn’t need lessons from some hippie in how to do it—I was shuttling between New York City and my parents’ house in the suburbs.  I was 19, aimless, and living at home—but not for long.  One day, my parents sat me down and said, “We’ll give you a one-way to ticket to anywhere.  Where do you want to go?”

Normally, this kind of message would cause consternation in the younger generation; but I was ecstatic.  I answered, without the slightest hesitation, “San Francisco!”

And so, with 50 bucks in my pocket and my portable typewriter, I descended onto Baghdad-by-the-Bay on St. Valentine’s Day, 1971.  It was a different world, indeed, where life was unhurried, inexpensive, and uncrowded.  In short, the complete opposite of what the Bay Area is today.

A lifetime later, and I’m out of the city, ensconced in Northern California’s Wine Country, and wondering: How did my California dreaming turn into a nightmare?

As I process the knowledge and experience of my 66 years, I have come to realize that, for me, 75 percent of life is weather.  I’ve managed to leave this state a few times, and each time I’ve come to regret bitterly my decision on account of the...

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