Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Long Island + Flawless Weather, Amazing Sushi, & Incredible Scenery = California

When I think of a "collegetown," I think of Ann Arbor. I think of Cambridge. I think of Madison. Even University City back in Philly was decent.

Palo Alto bears no likeness to any of them.

There are no crazy bars. There are no dive places to get greasy food. There is no culture of karaoke, quizzo, or 'after hours' action. It is a posh, wildly expensive suburb with fine wine restaurants, expensive furniture retailers, and investment houses. But, for the first time in my life, I don't mind living in a suburb.

Long Island and the Bay Area are roughly comparable. Instead, here, you get better weather, better restaurants, and better scenery. Like Long Island, you need a car to do anything. I can't even imagine being a Stanford student without one. Palo Alto, like the way that I have often felt about Long Island, would likely be suburban hell without a set of wheels. But, with a car, living in the Bay Area is solid as far as suburbs go. I always used to knock suburban sprawl for its destruction of a local cultural cachet. But, I am happy to report that the flaw I always found in suburbia was off the mark. After two months, I feel like I've already fell into the same New York routine of go-to bars, great sushi, and venti lattes. But, the difference is the context. It just seems like a different world out here. It's three weeks until Thanksgiving and I caught myself in a summer mindset today. It's the sun. It's the mountains. It's the wine. Suburbia is suburbia. But, the peripheral benefits of living out here seems to infectiously make everything seem a little more positive.

But, to be somewhat contradictory, I can't shake that feeling that this is but a temporary stop. All things being equal, I am still shooting for that Upper West Side brownstone one day.

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