From California, to the New York Island,
From the Redwood Forest, to the Gulf Stream waters,
This land was made for you and me."*
Two blogposts ago I joked about the difficulty that eventual repatriation to the United States might present. I said that one of the obstacles to moving back was just plain not knowing where in the U.S. a person would repatriate to. There’s a lot more serious truth in that than just the jokey attitude I took in the blogpost. Sometimes when it’s late at night, and friends with whom we’ve shared a few bottles of wine have left, and Mark and I are alone on our terrace with our nightcaps, we get to talking. "Let’s say we had to go back," the conversation starts . . . (By the way, the motive for returning is never spelled out in these hazy dialogues in the dark. Have to go back? Are we being deported? We don’t ever explore that issue.) Okay, back to where we were, under the influence of a little buzz. "Let’s say we had to go back . . . where in the U.S. would we go?"
We’ve read all the articles, like The Ten Best U.S. Cities to Retire To, The Ten Cheapest U.S. Cities to Live In and The Ten Most Beautiful Cities in the U.S. We recently read America’s Ten Most Miserable Cities, too, thinking what the hell, maybe we could get a great deal on property! Anyway, it’s a big country, and you’d think we’d have no trouble choosing a new home. We’d just be looking for some place affordable, where the quality of life is high, and where there is excellent medical care (we're getting on in years). A big plus would be easy access to an international airport, for I suspect a steady stream of Brazilian friends would start to visit immediately. What seems to happen, though, is that instead of coming up with some easy, obvious options, we end up thwarted by an exhausting process of elimination.
We can’t go back to New York, it’s too expensive, too fast, too stressful. And what would we do, spend the rest of our days going to the free movies at the Museum of Modern Art? I’m pretty adamant about avoiding snow and ice and freezing wind, so that rules out the entire top tier of the United States, including Alaska. Let’s see — I was born in Florida and that state always looks enticing, but Florida is hurricane territory. My mother’s stories of her standing at the front door with a shovel, killing snakes as they slithered into the house after a hurricane, still reverberate. California, here I come** is fun to sing, but do I really need to test my earthquake survival skills? We’re thinking we should also avoid the entire tornado belt running down the middle of the country. Hawaii looks promising, until you start thinking about tsunamis. Not much left to the United States once you consider weather.
|Around Cathedral Rock, photo by Bo Montenegro|
*Woody Guthrie, music and lyrics
**Buddy DeSylva and Joseph Meyer, co-authors