Welcome to Long Beach: From Da Bears to The Beach
2013-07-26 · By Jeffery Todd
It’s 70 degrees and I’m shivering. When I check my phone I expect the temperature app to tell me it’s 58, but no, indeed my blood has finally thinned. I didn’t believe anyone when they told me it would happen. I’m from Chicago, a town that comes from an Indian word that means, “I’m so cold.” People in Los Angeles don’t know what 27 degrees below zero feels like, so when I tell them it feels like it’s biting your face they just go “Whatever. Do you want Grande or Venti?”
Now I know that I can call Long Beach my home. I’ve transitioned completely. OK, not completely. I still want to yell at the skateboarders that it’s a side-walk and I think beach cruisers are not really bicycles because I can run faster. I lived in Chicago up until I was 47 years old so it’s hard to get rid of the tougher shell that you develop in the Midwest. It isn’t sunny all the time like it is here and it’s often storming or snowing or really ‘frickin cold. That’s why their sports teams have names like the Bears and the Cubs—you have to develop thick skin.
But now I can stroll along the ocean or the harbor every morning, anytime of the year, and point when the tourists ask where the Aquarium is because they went to the Convention Center first because it’s painted with fish. (I do hope to ask the Mayor one day why they did that.) I can get mad at all the garbage that people toss on the Grand Prix race weekend and I can get hit on during LBGT Pride weekend. Since I don’t work a 9-5 job that’s the most that I really see crowds and I enjoy the quiet during the week taking a run or stroll to the Top Valu.
People say hi a lot, which at first was very foreign. For some reason living in a big city you automatically think someone wants something but no, here, these are not panhandlers. People just say hi, and what I first thought was very weird I’ve now embraced. I still don’t know why they say hi but it’s nice. I live on the edge of downtown and I like seeing the local merchants hanging out talking to each other from their doorways. I like all the colors I see at the farmer’s market, both the produce and the people.
I don’t know much about Long Beach, I’ve had to spend the first two years getting a business going and now that it is, I’m finally getting out to do more things. I’m hoping to write about those and share them with you, starting with my favorite place to eat (coming next week). I hope to entertain you.