Well, we’re in the final countdown now … 2 days until I’m on a plane to D.C., and then the day after that, to Tbilisi (by way of Munich). As I’ve been saying goodbye to friends, a question that often comes up (and that I’ve been asking myself as well) is – what will you miss? And, what won’t you miss? I thought it would be sort of fun to make a list, far from exhaustive, and then look at it from the other end in two years and see how accurate or inaccurate I was. So, here goes:
What I will miss:
- It probably should go without saying, but nonetheless – I’ll miss my son, Eli. I’ll miss my friends.
- My house – I might not miss it while I’m gone, but I’m sure I’ll miss it when I get back. It was a lovely little home.
- Driving the car with the radio blasting, singing along in full voice. That’s something I would never inflict on anyone, so I don’t think I’ll be able to do much singing over the next two years. Which is too bad, because I really enjoy it.
- Driving at night when there’s no traffic, just gliding along, cocooned in my comfortable Prius … along with the radio/singing experience immediately above!
- Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese food, which there is plenty of here in L.A., and extremely good quality.
- I’ll miss knowing my way around. I really know my way around L.A.
- Being in charge/knowing what I’m doing – that was my professional life, and while it was definitely time to make a change (obviously), there are aspects of that life that I will miss.
- Traveling to San Francisco for business. I like S.F. a lot, and I traveled there so much (and ate at so many good restaurants and went to so many cool places – City Hall for a gala, Golden Gate Park for a bluegrass festival, Alcatraz, museums, bridges, parks …). I was actually quite sad on my last trip home to Burbank Airport a few weeks ago. I figured out that I’ve traveled up there about 350 times over the past 10 years. Not counting work trips to Sacramento, San Jose, Lake Tahoe, Pittsburgh, New York, etc.
- L.A. weather. I suspect I’ll really appreciate it once I am gone and in, shall we say, a different climate.
What I won’t miss:
- In spite of my obvious love of driving, I definitely will not miss traffic, especially when it caused me to take 45 minutes to drive the 8 miles home from work. Or an hour and a half to drive cross-town, which I avoided at all costs. The division between eastside/westside (however you define the boundaries) in L.A. is extreme, and traffic is the reason why.
- I will not miss the huge (and I do not exaggerate) homeless population of downtown L.A. I won’t miss the misery, the mental illness, the drunkenness, the drug selling, the begging, the dirt, the smell of urine and feces, the sores, the violence, the homeless encampments in every park and open space in downtown … L.A. has utterly failed at both a practical and a moral level to deal with this issue.
- I will not particularly miss the self-important entertainment industry workers, who appear to actually be doing something about 5% of the time, and the rest hanging about the craft tables. Lots of film shoots downtown.
- The politics of California in general, and L.A. in particular. Once you’ve seen how the sausage is made, you really do lose your taste for it. Nothing can really ever change, due to term limits, Prop 13, the initiative system, and in L.A, a weak mayor system. It’s very dispiriting. I want to live somewhere with real progressive policies in place, not just a bunch of lip service while behind the scenes, pettiness and dysfunction control everything. There are a few individuals who have surmounted these challenges and made a real difference – Ed Reyes, I salute you – but most just succumb to it, and some revel in it.
That’s it for now! Anyone want to bet on whether I feel the same way 2 years from now?