Goodbye, She Lied

I’m moving to Kaleefornia. A company called Stone Yamashita found me, mostly through this website, and they’ve hired me as a copywriter/strategist. They do work that’s as solid, smart, and beautiful as an iPod.

“You won’t like it,” my New York friends tell me morbidly. “You can’t even drive.”

On my last business trip to San Francisco, a woman on the car rental shuttle said “Excuse me, I need to get my bag.”
    “See?” hissed my sweetest New York co-worker, seizing on this atrocity. “That’s what they’re like out here. Passive-aggressive!

My San Francisco friends tell me how much easier life is there, how people never look back. How effortlessly you can get into nature (an American phrase that always makes me think the outdoors is some new Class A drug). I tell them that when I’m evaluating cities I don’t start with how easy they are to leave, but they smile good-naturedly. I’ll learn. My friend Keith has told me for months that I have to move.
    “Every single woman we know who comes out here ends up getting married.” Is that a threat or a promise, I ask him. Ranger Tim, installed on a 5,000-acre ranch off the grid in Los Gatos, writes sorrowfully that for him, Brooklyn will always be a lost paradise.

On the flight west I stare out the window, mapping the coiling rivers below to the seat-back display on JetBlue. Is that really the Mississippi? I know so little of this country. I’ve spent a grand total of ten days in San Francisco, including a vacation eight years ago. But I have faith that I’ll come to love it. People I like very much count it as their favorite US city. I’ve already been adopted by some simpático locals, and reunited with lost pals who moved from my coast. These are the true Twin Cities.

I move on Valentine’s Day; a good day to start another urban romance.

14 thoughts on “Goodbye, She Lied”

  1. Blimey, you’re like London buses — nothing for weeks and then four come along at once. And this one the most momentous. What a move! Caroline and I spent a long summer in California and had a wonderful time; I envy you easy access to the most astonishing landscapes I’ve experienced, especially Yosemite and the Monterey peninsula. I’m glad you’re going to the City and not the suburban sprawl of Silicon Valley, but wonder how you’ll cope with the Californian ethos, steeped as you are in New York. I think of Woody Allen in Annie Hall and his disdain for the place. The only handy quote I can dig up is this one:

    Annie: It’s so clean out here in California!
    Alvy: That’s because they don’t throw their garbage away, they turn it into television shows.

    Regardless, I wish you great success and enjoyment as you start a new chapter.

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  2. Thanks Rob (and Tom, below!). This move plan has been keeping me pretty busy. Every time I think I get to stop being a nomad for a while, I end up shifting again. But I’m going to a good home–and I’m nothing if not adaptable.

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  3. Welcome to the west coast, Dervala.
    Perhaps on your first vacation you and RT can take 101 up to Vancouver. One of the great road trips.

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  4. As it happens, Ranger Tim did that trip twice in the month of December–I think he put in 9,000 miles in a three week period or something nuts like that. But I’d like to try it at a more leisurely pace. Maybe that’ll be my incentive to learn to drive at my ripe old age, as you did. (And maybe you can come south for a jaunt, too?)

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  5. Seems like you have this cycle of blogging and moving, blogging and moving….the constant is your eye on the world and its populace and your wonderful sense of the rhythm of life at a bicycle pace! Anxiously await your descriptions of that wonderful city once called “Bagdad by the Bay”…when most people had no clue what that meant!

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  6. Oh!

    Oh my!

    Well that is a very nice surprise. (As is your other recent writing.)

    I won’t be here when you get here (assuming you’re traveling rapidly in one of those newfangled air vehicles) but I will be here pretty soon after. I will buy you a beer and then tell you THE TERRIBLE TRUTH ABOUT THIS CITY.

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  7. I recently made the move to San Francisco from New York after six years of borough living. Although I only know you as well as any of the other people on output side of dervala.net, I can comfortably say, you’ll be just fine.

    And by the way, I don’t drive either and I’m doing just fine [for now].

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  8. Congratulations! The new employer looks really interesting and your success gives hope. I’m looking forward to reading your dispatches from the Wesht.

    Best of Luck,
    David

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  9. Hey Dervala – I didn’t drive till I was 32 and a year in Seattle … but do it! I got my license, and I still think of it as the summer I grew wings. I spent every weekend driving 700 miles around the Pacific NW and as a result grew to love this area of the country more than any place I’ve ever lived (even if Seattle sometimes drives me nuts). So think about it!

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