Monday, September 25, 2006

hiking through the grownup world

Saturday was the first day of fall, and Sara and I decided to spend it outdoors. This being Los Angeles, there were no trees dropping piles of fire-colored leaves or couples strolling in cable-knit sweaters. But our hike—the Temescal Canyon Loop in the hills above the Pacific Palisades—did take us past one heavily graffitied cactus, a couple of hardcore joggers and the spacious backyards of French- and Spanish-style mansions.

Sara sighed wistfully at the latter, much the way she’d sighed wistfully an hour before when we ate at Gladstone’s, a restaurant I thought was crazy-fancy when I was in college (I think because the Daily Bruin ran an article on good Valentine’s Day date restaurants), but which, upon actually going there, turned out to be a sort of Buca di Beppo By The Sea. Not necessarily a bad thing—what’s not to love about a giant martini glass full of deep-fried shrimp?—but not the epitome of elegance I’d imagined.

As I studied my Seafood Watch fish guide from Heal the Bay to see what was not too damaging to eat, Sara gazed at the sparkly blue water she would love to live by. We have really different tastes, I realized. Sara would be right at home in the Palisades. Me, I like a little graffiti, I like a little littleness in my dwellings. (Of course, I would like my current dwelling to be a smidge bigger, which makes me wonder if I’m not the non-materialistic urbanite I think I am, but rather someone who is perpetually dissatisfied but lacks the imagination to dream bigger than the next step up. If I lived in a five-bedroom house right now, then I’d want to live in a mansion.)

Part of me is always surprised by how different Sara and I are, because there are a lot of ways we’re alike. But then I remember that this isn’t high school, where all of my friends bought the same Mexican blanket bags and tiny silver earrings from Aaardvark’s (but they couldn’t be exactly the same bags and earrings, because then there would be a fight about copying). This is the grownup world where people learn from each other. Like, today I learned that a ‘50s ranch house on Sunset in the Palisades goes for $990,000, which is actually a lot less than I thought. I will totally go visit Sara there when she moves in, and we will meld our brains and create peace throughout the land.