Character Building

Admittedly we puzzled over why Jason's sister Courtney and her boyfriend Claudio might choose to leave their sunny Melrose Place-like abode in San Diego to visit Chicago in February. (Look carefully for me and Jason in the reflection of Chicago's Bean.) Through the layers of sweaters, borrowed coat and newly purchased scarf, and raising her voice over the blustery winter wind, Courtney shared her hypothesis that SoCal residents miss out on the important character building exercise that comes with months when just the thought of going outside chills to the bone. If it's beautiful and sunny all the time you go outside, you prioritize washing your car. I can attest to this since there was a morning during my trip to LA where I readily agreed to walk with a colleague to Macy's instead of checking e-mail in my room. Did I need anything at Macy's? No, she was the one who'd forgotten all of her belts.
When do Californians get the forced internalization, reflection and seasonal affective disorder that comes with winter? Where is it easier to be seriously absorbed by a book: on a sunny noisy beach, or tucked up on a rocking chair with a blanket around you? What kind of anxious and lonely self-scrutiny can you do when every day is a blossom of sunshine and surf? Would Southern California seem less superficial if only they had a genuine February?
I'm doing some escapist character building myself this weekend, diving into "Marie Antoinette" by Antonia Fraser. The motivation to read has increased since I picked up Sofia Coppola's movie version on DVD this weekend. Just 458 pages to read before I can watch the movie and compare my vision with Sofia's. 40 pages completed last night! So far it seems like Marie might have fit right into SoCal living.


abby said...

was i with you when you picked out both of those coats? i recall being in great barrington, ma for the green one and bloomingdale's for the red (i did pick you out in the bean!). of course, i could be wrong. or do we just shop together a lot?

Leah said...

Well, this winter in Boston was the less character building winter I've ever lived thru. It was 62 degrees here yesterday! Woohoo!!

Claire said...

Abby, you were with me for the purchase of the green coat; and also with me when I fell in love with the red coat (although I went back to a store later to officially purchase it.) The bean might throw the colors off though, b/c in the picture I am wearing this season's new orange coat. Yay!


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