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Parallel Lives

Carlsbad, CA on April 26, 2010 

You can share the same country, the same physical space, with people and live in completely different environments. I focus on historical or natural scenes and I find them wherever I go.  So when I go to crowded California I find the empty beaches, forests and green vistas. That is what I look for, and that is what I find.

Outdoorsman in Ventura CA 

Not everybody sees the things the way I do. I see trees.  Maybe they see buildings or cars.  I saw signs for ethnic areas of LA – Korea town, Philippine Town, Little Armenia … We drove past these things at high speed and never experienced anything other than the signs.  Well, maybe not high speed.

Los Angeles traffic 

Another thing I rarely experience is traffic.  I ride my bike or take the Metro to work, so traffic for me is sometimes a weekend choice.   I thought about this as we inched through the LA traffic – and this wasn’t even during rush hour and it was mostly moving.  This is a daily experience for many people.   The only time I got stuck in traffic regularly was when I lived in New Hampshire and commuted to Tufts University in Medford, MA.  I didn’t like it, although I listened to a lot of audio books.  I found that thoughts of traffic started to dominate my thinking.  Commuting can be an overwhelming experience,

I thought about how different life if you live in a beach community as we walked around our hotel in Ventura.  You can see Ventura just above.  The picture at the very top is Carlsbad. It is more or less a beachfront retirement community. It was founded in the 1880s as a spa and has some Euro-pretensions as a result. Ventura and Carlsbad are very different. 

Ventura CA near beach 

Many of the houses near the beach in Ventura probably started out as shacks or weekend cottages and gradually evolved into homes.  My “baby-boom” generation was probably the pioneers here and many seem to have aged in place.  We saw a couple really old looking hippies.  It was probably really cool to hang out at the beach when they were young.  Add thirty years and thirty pounds and the picture changes. Look at the second picture down and you can see one of the "outdoorsmen" in his temporary camp on the park picnic table. Notice, he has brought along his fishing gear. There was a orderliness to his possessions that implied that he was out there as much by choice as by compulsion.

Palm Springs Street 

The next day we ended up in Palm Springs and another reality.  Palm Springs is an upscale community with lots of ties to celebrities.  We drove along Frank Sinatra Avenue, past streets named for Bob Hope, Dinah Shore, Gerald Ford and Gene Autry.   I have never been here before, but it was familiar because of the sixties television.   If you lived here, you could probably play golf and go to shows and galleries every day. That would be another interesting reality.

Chrissy at the Palm Springs Marriott 

Of course, last week I was on the Marine base at Camp Pendleton and we go back to Virginia on Friday.  These lives intersect only occasionally.  Usually they just run parallel. But in the meantime, Chrissy is still having fun with the rental car and I am enjoying the hot whirlpool below. Actually, it was a little too hot at first.  But this is something we haven't done since the kids were little, when it still made a difference if I got my hair wet. Life is good for now.

John in whirpool at Marriott in Palm Springs 


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