As I power-walk down the street, I observe perfection. Perfectly manicured yards. Perfectly clean streets. Perfect weather. Perfectly behaved children. No two houses the same and many of them architectural jewels. Life moves at a slow pace and what they call traffic is laughable. The people are southern-friendly. Everyone owns a bike and uses it regularly. As Garrison Keillor would say it’s a town where “all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average”. Naturally, it was just proclaimed as having one of the top best school systems in the US.
Everything is so sweet and simple that it is jarring. There is so little crime that all the police have to do is give out parking tickets and chastise residents for going without bike helmets. Housing is in such high demand that rentals are gone within 2 hours of being published in the local paper. Kids roam freely throughout the community and like Cheers…. everyone knows your name. It feels fantastical. I keep waiting for someone to pull back the curtain and show some man pulling strings like the Wizard of Oz.
Waiting to wake up from this dream. In the meantime… I will enjoy life in Coronado, California.
I never had time for anything. No time to shop. No time for pampering. No time for housecleaning. No time for anything except work. But now everything is different. Since retiring, I have an endless supply of time like millions of grains of sand on the beach.
I have time to read the entire newspaper… if I want. I have time to linger over a cup of coffee… if I want. Just the other day, I walked a lady to her destination instead of giving her directions, because… I had the time.
It’s as if I’m on an endless vacation. Now I understand why retired people move at such a leisurely pace, because they have time. No schedules to meet… no crises…no todo lists.. no more politics… no more… no more… no more. I don’t care “what you do”, I no longer take a few seconds to decide if you are worthy of my precious time before moving on to others. I now know that everyone is worthy and everyone has a story if only I take time to listen.
I’ve always said one either has time or money, but not both … unless you’re rich. Not being rich, I’ve had time and I’ve had “comfortable” money, but never both at the same time. So this is a strange, new feeling. It’s like getting used to a new pair of shoes. I’m walking around in them, and they don’t hurt, they don’t pinch, and they feel like the right size, but they still don’t feel quite right.
I got sunburned while in a spinning class. How can that possibly be!?!… Class was held outdoors on 3rd floor rooftop patio (See picture below). I almost didn’t go because it had been a longgg day at work and all I really wanted was to pick up a baked chicken, open up a bottle of wine and chillax. But, I had been putting the spinning class off for 3 weeks. So, I decided to pull a Nike and “just do it”.
Like all experiences here on Coronado Island (BTW… it’s not really an island), I continue to be amazed.
If it didn’t look so weird, I would walk around wearing a helmet camera to capture this pristine and overly friendly world here on Coronado Island. Today, my next door neighbor came over and introduced herself. As I walked by the pool, three people said hello and introduced themselves. Why are they being so friendly to me?
What kind of a world do we live in where I question friendliness. Maybe it’s just because I come from DC, where strangers are not at all friendly. I hope my DC experience is uncommon and the Coronado experience is more the norm, but I don’t think so.
Later in the day… I was taken aback by children who smiled at me and said hello as they biked by. It was then I realized that I had learned not to interact with unknown children, for fear the parents would think I was a pervert. Many children are taught not to talk to strangers, and that’s not a bad rule, but there has to be a line. Do we want our children to live their lives in fear like many of us do?
Here it is normal to see children riding their bikes alone and biking to school on their own. The parents do not fear that someone will snatch their children. Maybe it’s a California thing? (Or maybe it’s because there are only 2 ways on and off the island.)
The smiles of those children and the “hellos” from my new neighbors made me hopeful that the U.S. might not self-destruct. That it’s possible for us to find our way to a more peaceful and fearless lifestyle.