Memory Catcher

Braiding memory and imagination to craft your story.

The Best Place to Live if You're a Hothouse Flower

It can take years to find a comfortable place in the world.

Growing up in New York, I never questioned the weather. I hated having numb fingers and stinging cheeks as I walked down the icy canyons of Manhattan in February and was equally uncomfortable with my clothes plastered to my sweaty body after a subway ride in August. But I accepted bitter, cold winters and hot, humid summers. What else did I know?  Later, when I traveled beyond New York — to England in the winter and India in the summer — I can't say the weather enhanced my experience. But I wanted to see the world, and I took it as I found it.

I went to law school in Chicago, not a good choice for a hothouse flower. Nine months of frigid and windy, three months of sticky and humid, with three weeks of spring sprinkled in.

At the end of three years in Chicago, I announced to my friends: “I’m driving to the end of the Indiana Tollway and flipping a coin. East Coast, West Coast, I don’t care. Just get me out of the middle!”

But I remembered the sticky heat of New York, the roaches in my apartment, life in the mines of a Wall Street firm. “I’m moving to San Francisco,” I revised my announcement. Temperate enough for a hothouse flower, who is happiest in a four-degree temperature range, 68 to 72. And that was just the icebreaker for my love affair with the Bay Area.

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True, the winters here can be gray and gloomy. And this year, it’s been in the 40s and 50s (brrr). But it’s nothing like the extremes of other places, and there are always a few days of sapphire skies in January, crisp and clear.

I don’t base my location solely on the weather. The combination of natural beauty and culture suits me. Of course, I miss friends and family who are 3,000 miles away. But, I was lucky to find a place that is Goldilocks perfect. Not too hot, not too cold. Not eternally sunny or interminably gray. With like-minded people in my inner circle and an international airport just a half hour from my home.

Writing prompts:

Where is the perfect place for you to live?

Write about a time when you were too hot or too cold. Where were you? What were the circumstances?

Copyright © 2013 by Laura Deutsch

Laura Deutsch is a San Francisco-based writer. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and More magazine, among others.

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