Home > Uncategorized > Now Where’s My Hawaiian Shirt?

Now Where’s My Hawaiian Shirt?

Okay, I’m back. So as it turns out, if you don’t post anything on your blog, nobody comes to read. Weird.

Lots happened since my last post. I got a new job working for Specialized bicycles, helping them define and communicate their global advocacy work. Just a tad up my alley.

Being that Specialized is located in Morgan Hill, California (what? you don’t know where that is??), I did something that I never could have predicted. I moved to the suburbs. City I can do. After all, I left Vancouver because it started to feel a little sleepy. Country I can do. Nothing better than wide open spaces. But suburbs – I don’t really get suburbs. Not quite city. Not quite country. A place people move because a) they want to live in the city, but can’t afford enough space, or b) they want to live in the country but need to be closer to work.  The suburbs are always a compromise.

So here I am, Campbell, California. A suburb  of San Jose. Which is a city that is essentially a big suburb in itself. So I guess I live in a subsuburb. A major compromise. When people speak of ‘the city’ around here, they always mean San Francisco, even though it’s about half the size of San Jose.

There are some benefits to suburban life – if I ever get an SUV, and it happens to need an oil change, gasoline or auto parts of any kind, I’m well looked after.  If I’m looking for Saturday entertainment, Home Depot and Bed, Bath and Beyond are two blocks from my house (seriously), and across the street from one another. I get plenty of rest on my bike rides, since in addition to advance greens at every intersection, lights will simply skip my turn unless there’s a car there to trip the sensors.

But the sun shines every day, I live in a house with a yard, there isn’t a hill in sight,  and on Thursday nights, Campbell reveals itself…

Passing through downtown Campbell – an ‘historic’ block of new yuppie boutiques that interrupts the suburban sprawl – on the final leg of my commute last Thursday,  I passed the main square. To my surprise, there were people. And they weren’t driving. They were sitting on the lawn, full picnic spreads, folding chairs, and booze. Lots of it. The nippers ran around chasing soccer balls,   parents, grandparents, and the boldest teenagers swigged from bottles, glasses and cans.

Something in my blood prevents me from ever passing a party unchecked, so I stopped in, grabbed a beer and tiptoed my way to some grass space. The band arrived and the scene unfolded.  As “Mustang Sally” ramped up, a middle-aged sea of Hawaiian shirts twisted and writhed, snapped and clapped, and two-stepped their white sneakers into surburban bliss. Grandma joined them, so did the Harley guy and the prim trophy wife. Kids climbed atop shoulders, and the teenagers used the distraction to grab another brew.

They were all smiles, and between chuckles, I had to smile back. Sure it was the only game in town, but this simple music night had broken the big box routine and smelled vaguely of a real community.

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