The Compass Rose: Kindred Spirits

7 years ago

by Ainslie Jones Uhl

(read the entire Compass Rose series here)

An attractive blonde, wine glass in hand, sidled up to my husband. I could tell she was smart. She subtly moved her gaze from one end of the room to the other, checking for eavesdroppers in the crowd, as though she and he were co-conspirators in a clandestine operation. I moved in and assumed a protective stance, prepared to prove my worth. She leaned forward and whispered furtively, “Did I hear someone say you’re from the East?”

We were in La Jolla, at a party where a few of the guests were reluctant transplants. Our gregarious host was a family friend from back home who moved out here two years ago with her scientist-husband. She loves it. She couldn’t be happier. But she’s still young, with a 5-year-old who serves as a natural ice breaker and a kindergarten community in which she finds tennis partners, play dates, babysitters and friends.

When Robert and I responded in the affirmative, that we were doubly blessed to be both New Yorkers and North Carolinians, she breathed a sigh of relief and confessed all: She could not believe she had abandoned northern Virginia for this place. She had her list ready: an itemized declaration of all the things she doesn’t like about California and evidentiary details which prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that East Coast trumps West Coast in multiple arenas.

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