Strange afternoon, strangely wonderful. For all the things about L.A. that I mock, tease about, sigh deeply over, there are always moments like these, usually in modest surroundings with everyday Joes, that make me wonder if I've finally been reeled in by a city that frequently over-promises.
I have long debates with friends over our region's high cost of living, the postage-stamp yards, the monotony of the too-glorious weather. At a dinner party, one buddy insisted that headhunters no longer recruit here because those they hire for out-of-state jobs invariably return to California within a few years.
That's compelling evidence, and I'm sold on the idea of staying, till I see a crummy three-bedroom ranch on the market for $999,999, dust on the window sills, maybe a body in the pool. Anywhere else, a million bucks buys the governor's manse. Here it buys you a stucco shack with an AstroTurf backyard.