What am I doing in Eastlake?
(Originally published in the San Diego Reader, July 31, 2013.)
The first day I took my daughter to her new school, I questioned whether moving to Eastlake was the right move for our family. I had stopped by the Otay Ranch mall on enough weekday afternoons to know that the area has an abundance of fancy, perfumed stay-at-home moms. As a visitor, I found the idea charming — the way one might find charming the sight of backcountry women washing their clothes in the river. How lovely and provincial, one thinks, until one finds herself standing in the river with a pile of wet clothes, wishing for a washing machine.
I was raised on the sound of lawn mowers, birds, and Little League baseball. There was a time when it gave me a thrill to live among the sounds of radios and car horns and sirens, but my tolerance has since diminished. It’s true that, when looking to purchase a home, had we been able to afford a four-bedroom, four-bath house on a semi-quiet street in Hillcrest or South Park, or maybe a spacious downtown high-rise, I would have been all for it. But in the end we chose square footage over location. And as much as I hated the idea of leaving city life behind, I yearned for afternoon runs along wide, quiet boulevards with landscaped medians.
And then here I was, with my house and my medians, somehow surprised that the parking lot of my daughter’s new preschool was crowded with minivans and moms in full makeup, large sunglasses, and exercise clothes.
Driving back to my home office, I was near tears.
What am I doing in Eastlake? I thought. I don’t Zumba.