2011 started rough. Then I went to LA, and life became beautiful.
It wasn't because of the weather, although stepping up from 15° to 80° was pretty much okay by me.
It wasn't because I managed to miss the flat tire and clogged main drain that popped up, so to speak, in my absence. Although that was okay too.
It wasn't even because of Fish Grill, where fish tacos became a reality for me, or the All American Sausage Company, where no one but the handful of Jewish diners realizes -- or cares -- that the food they're eating is kosher.
But that last one does begin to explain.
See, aside from its relatively low-pressure atmosphere and relatively great weather, there isn't much that Los Angeles has to offer that New York doesn't. Unless you're a Jew and prefer a variegated, warm, welcoming community. Which is to say, unless living in New York has utterly drained you of any hope that such an animal exists. And if so: SNAP OUT OF IT! And get out of New York. It can be done.
There's just something heartwarming -- no, elating -- about having Shabbat dinner with over a dozen Jews, most younger, some older, some with velvet kippot, some with no kippot, around a small table in a small apartment without enough chairs. Singing kiddush together, sharing divrei Torah, wandering to an oneg Shabbat at someone else's place on the other side of the neighborhood -- it's what New York could have been, and may have been, but assuredly no longer is.
And more's the pity. Because between the high pressure, bad weather, and isolationist Jewish community[ies], it's very difficult to rationalize living in New York. Unless, of course, you work in finance or are striving to correct chronically low blood pressure.