Thursday, September 1, 2016

An Annoying Autobiographical Interlude, Part II: Getting Settled in Southern California

Huntington Beach Library!

New Yorkers walk.  They walk everywhere.  They walk every day and they walk a lot.  In just a few weeks here in Huntington Beach, we have clocked dozens of miles … and have been the only pedestrians on the sidewalks.  Oh, yes, we have seen people getting in-and-out of their cars, but walkers in Southern California are regarded with something curiously like suspicion. 

So, clearly we need a car to live here successfully.  We sold our Old Reliable in New York before heading West (a painless operation thanks to Craigslist), and are on the hunt for new transportation.  We also needed to change our New York drivers licenses from East to West Coast, and our AirBNB hostess graciously took us to the nearest Department of Motor Vehicles.  What can I say, other than all DMV offices are much the same, even in paradise?

The office was clean and airy (at least), and having an appointment got us to the front of the line.  But, the fellow who initially waited on us learned all of his ninja techniques from an extinct sloth with sleeping sickness.  When we were through with that fellow, we moved on to another window to have our photos taken.  Thanks to our new license photos, my better half now looks like a wax figure slightly melted, while I look like a morose basset hound. 

Finally, we get to the window to take the written test (now done at computer terminals).  I have been driving for more years than I can count, but the thought of taking the written test again frankly terrified me.  My mood was not improved when I arrived at the testing area.  This was commandeered by an officious dominatrix with anger management issues.  She barked at me for standing on the wrong line and screamed at my better half for checking his cell phone --- after taking the test. (“I’m going to fail you!”)  I finished first, and when my better half arrived at her desk two people later, where she wanted to know, “Why did you come back?”  When he explained that I was myself, and he only himself, she demanded to know why we looked alike.  It’s impossible to make this stuff up.

Following that ordeal, we went to the Huntington Beach library.  This place is paradise!  We got new library cards from a lovely and gracious clerk … who loaned me a scissor so that I could demolish my New York card.  (Done with relish.)  It would be hard to imagine a more beautifully appointed library: the HB branch has three stories, elaborate fountains and grounds, ample study space, and more than enough books to keep even myself happy.  Better yet, they do a brisk business in used books, so if bibliomania should ever overtake me again, I can do it inexpensively.

To celebrate, we walked on the beach to watch the sunset … because we can.  And, by jingo, we will do it again today.

Tomorrow:  The Dude is West

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