To the Editor:
Now that we are in the heart of the winter season I am reminded daily of what a special place I left behind when I moved to the West Coast.
I think that I unwisely took it for granted how special it is to walk through town and know most of the people you pass; how comforting it is to say hello to the shop owners because I know that they truly care about the community; how nice it is to walk into one of the pubs for a beer and be pretty certain that there would be a friend there to talk to. Or, if not, there would be a local person who would be ready, willing and able to strike up a conversation.
Here in California, people are very friendly but it has been hard to make close friends; someone that you could call at a moment’s notice to help move something heavy or get a ride to town. I was wondering why that is. What makes the West Coast people have such a different attitude? I’ve decided that it all has to do with suffering.
In Maine we all go crazy for the summer and try to pack as much as possible into a short period of time. The endless festivals, picnics, concerts, sports events, fundraisers etc., followed by a long period of poor weather where we tend to join together for comfort. This creates a camaraderie of solitude.
Out here, the weather is always nice. People don’t suffer enough. People don’t develop friendships that carry them through the hard times. When I moved here I thought that I would miss the cold weather. I don’t but I do miss slogging through the snow into a warm and friendly environment full of laughter and friends.
I am endlessly amused by the people I see here, bundled up in parkas, scarves, mittens, and fur hats, blowing on their hands and jumping up and down when the temperature drops below 50. Here I am. I’ve traded snow, cold, pine trees, lobsters, French Canadians and crazy summers for sunshine, surfers, Mexicans, cactus, rattle snakes, cowboys and, the great mystery of this area: Why people put low profile tires on SUVs.
So, the weather here is great. The beaches, cliffs and hiking trails are spectacular and I am content to call this home but my heart will always be in Maine.
Max Arnold, Carmel, Cal.
(Architect Max Arnold was a long time resident of Newcastle.)