I was shocked, when I was 22 and flew to Paris, that it wasn’t like I’d read in the expat novels of Hemingway and Fitzgerald. Instead, it was kinda like home. Grunge was big there, like it was in Seattle. Hip hop was emerging there, just like it was in San Jose. Everyone spoke English, shopped at Ikea, ate nachos, and worked in Tech. And while I could close my eyes and sip espresso, drink wine in cafes, thumb through magazines and trying to read French novels, it just wasn’t the same. People were talking about the same TV stars, reading popular tabloids, going on wacky diets, complaining about the same things. I was the anachronism. I wanted to go back in time. Everyone else was fine.
I really have no idea I have these expectations until I’m in the situation and freaked out. I flew to Arizona the other weekend to join some friends at the Frank Lloyd Wright (partial credit)
Instead it was fake boobs, Bud Light, and heat so miserable I just couldn’t drink that much. In fact, I could barely lie down without getting up every 15 minutes to dip in the pool. Oh, and light beer infused with lime is GOOD. I figured out how to submerge 90% of my body and hold a book aloft, reading. It was great.
After a day or so, I managed to shift gears, for it took two to tango really, and I wasn’t the glamor puss I thought I’d suddenly turn into with the simple act of registering at a resort. Sure, I thought I looked great, but face puffy with heat and heat rash, no appetite (for food or alcohol) sipping on a glass of wine, two quarts of water, then another half glass. And calculating the carbon footprint, a nasty habit I’ve gotten into, as well as being snotty about the food (Is it local? is it fresh? Is this prepared right? Fair trade? Seafood in a landlocked state? Etc. ) Oh, and getting offline. Truly offline. Which was impossible because with the iPhone you don’t have to sign up for hotel wi-fi, in fact you can check email from the poolside.
I have to be honest and say that the heat was too much and I went to the airport early. Then, SF was fogged in, delaying inbound flights for two hours. I didn’t really care, my parting moments in Arizona were full of the nonsensical ravings of my taxi driver, a corpulent man who bemoaned the media-created “green warming” and declared he’d moved here for his gout. I doubt his sedentary job was helping with that. I’d miss using my gold lamé flip flops. Back to wool socks and unreleting evening fog. No more tank tops at midnight and dips in pools that can’t stay cold.