, Derry, New Hampshire


March 6, 2014

COLUMN: Paradise is in the eye of the beholder

Sometimes reality throttles the senses. In my case, three of the five were assaulted as soon as I deplaned last week in Boston, after visiting my mother-in-law in Florida.

I not only felt the difference that a drop in 60 degrees makes on a T-shirted torso, I could also smell that icy air that reigns supreme for six months on the New England calendar. And out the wide windows at Logan Airport, the sun had almost completely set, creating an apricot hue over a mostly white and desolate landscape.

Once inside the terminal, I began to add the layers — sweatshirt, fleece jacket, stocking cap and gloves. And it’s a good thing, because the wait for the shuttle bus to the parking garage was a long one. Or maybe it just seemed that way, with a 20-mile-an-hour wind frosting my cheeks and nose.

Just the day before I was lounging poolside, in 82-degree sunshine, reading a book and watching the palms sway in Boynton Beach, where my mother-in-law, Doris Perlmutter, lives. It’s one of the countless retirement communities in South Florida, and it’s easy to understand why its residents absolutely take to heart the greeting I overheard one gentleman give his cronies— “How’s it goin’ fellas? Just another day in paradise.”

But paradise is in the eye of the beholder.

I remember living in Los Angeles 30 years ago. For the first six months after my arrival, I believed I’d found nirvana. The pastel-colored buildings and exotic fauna were, understandably, right out of a Hollywood movie. It seemed that every day was sunny and 75. But that monotonous perfection gradually began to lose its sheen.

A born and bred East-Coaster, I missed the drama of the changing seasons. A cold day in LA was one in the 50s. True, temperature is relative, but I never resorted to donning a scarf, gloves and hat like native Southern Californians.

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