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Giving Thanks

by Peary Perry
Peary Perry
OK, here we are at Thanksgiving again…where did this year go? It seems as if they all speed up the older I get. The days go by faster and I get less done, but then again, who cares? No one is keeping score at this point. If they are I don't want to know about it.

I have to spend a few moments thinking about just what I am the most thankful for this year. Obviously, I'm still alive and that's a big thanks. My family is all healthy and doing well, so that's a big one as well. I'm not broke and still have my mind so I'm certainly thankful for that.

I'm sitting in the airport in Los Angeles, looking around and trying to decide just what I am most thankful for this year and it dawns on me. In fact it's staring me in the eyes.

I don't live here.

I think I'm too old to live here. You have to be in your teens or at the oldest, maybe thirty. Anything older is doomed to an existence of misery. This is a fast life. Too fast for me and most of the people I know.

Take yesterday, for example. I leave the hotel about 7am to drive about 10 miles for a 10am meeting. I figure 3 hours, for 10 miles should be enough to give me plenty of time and have a chance to grab some breakfast with time to spare. My first thought is where do these people eat? There is a coffee shop on every corner, but nothing that has any eggs and bacon. I find it hard to believe that everyone exists on bran muffins, but then again, maybe they do.

The drivers all seem to be preoccupied with something other than keeping their eyes on the road. The lady in front of me is flipping her hair, or doing something I'd call flipping her hair. I'm not sure what you'd call it. What I do know is she is doing something to the sides of her hair with both hands at the same time. So I'm thinking she must be driving with her knees, or at least I hope so. The woman in the car next to me is putting eye drops in her eyes, while trying to drive at the same time. Of course, since we are moving at about ½ mile per hour, I suppose it doesn't really matter since if they hit me, it won't or shouldn't do any damage. Everyone is on a cell phone. The entire population of this city must be talking at the same time. No one is talking to me. I feel left out.

You go to a restaurant and the folks are doing one of two things, preening and hoping someone notices them or looking at the ones who are preening to see if they are someone they recognize. No one looks you directly in the eyes, they are all looking over your shoulder to see what or who is behind you or might be coming in the door.

Everyone I meet has a celebrity story. They have all been somewhere, at a bar, at a café, at the grocery or in the bathroom and actually seen or talked to some media person. They keep these stories for years. One person told me the other night that he had actually washed his hands in the same sink that Gene Kelly had used. I think Gene Kelly died about 30 years ago or so, so I am left wondering how long ago this momentous event took place.

On the other hand, there is a certain amount of electricity in this area. Things are happening on every corner. People are moving with a determined sense of purpose. Even though everyone seems preoccupied and somewhat distracted, no one was rude or mean to me. I suppose they just looked at me and thought I was just another tourist.

Which I was.

I got to go; I think I see Julia Roberts headed for a gate on my concourse. I wonder if she'll talk to me. That'll give me my very own LA story. I still wouldn't want to live here, even if she did. Have a good Thanksgiving. .

© Peary Perry
Letters From North America >

November 23, 2006 column
Syndicated weekly in 80 newspapers
Comments go to www.pearyperry.com
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