Monday, August 27, 2007

Why we won't move to a "warm climate"...

My father's generation of farmers at least, placed great stock in being warm. The attraction of a winter home where the sun never failed and the temperature never made water a solid was irresistible to them. So off they embarked to places made habitable only by air-conditioning.

When I visited my folks in Florida, I came away with a feeling of escaping from a future too ghastly for contemplation. It persists today.

Perhaps its because I have had the advantages of fleece winter coats, four-wheel drive SUV's and reliable central heating, but I have never been tempted to yank up roots to simply experience more summer than I feel nature intended.

It could be more than that. Aging occurs differently in different places.
Years ago I learned something about aging -- that it wasn't so much the date of your birth but the place you were living in that determined whether or not you were old. There was a geography of aging in America. I began to notice this when I moved from Manhattan to Los Angeles in the nineteen seventies and stayed there through the nineties working as a script writer for various studios. I don't have any East Coast snobbery about the culture or lack of it in LA: nice, sentient, intelligent, art loving, caring people actually live there -- but it became clear to me that every time I returned home to New York to visit my folks I felt ten years younger, and every time I stepped out of the terminal at LAX I aged a decade. At first I didn't have a clue as to why that was happening -- I figured that it wasn't just because my parents still viewed me as their youngest child in New York it was the LA experience. I eventually learned that one became an official senior citizen at fifty in Los Angeles, and New York was holding fast to sixty five. Sure, I could get into movies cheaper, but in LA people canvassing in malls failed to ask my opinion on any topic -- I was outside the cherished demographic of 18-40. Then it happened. When I reached fifty nine, my important LA agent called me into his office and sadly, gently fired me -- noting that although I had many awards for writing, indeed too many which gave away the length of my career, and I was a helluva nice guy, he couldn't sell me to the studios or the networks. The message the agent conveyed was that I was old news... out of touch with the zeitgeist... incapable of understanding or creating what America wanted -- an America dominated by the young, and the youth worshipers. As the father of two young sons I was stunned by this -- I felt I knew more about how young people felt and acted than most young people. But the tide was too strong to fight it, and I soon went to Germany to work on a film, and later managed to do a series for the BBC. [More]

It is very likely I am deeply in denial and time will reverse my prejudices, but the idea of NOT dying in the cold is repugnant to me.

I've been to North Dakota too often methinks.

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