Every once in a while, I get nostalgic over one of the few things about Southern California that I miss: Sunday mornings in Studio City.
Sunday mornings were almost always the same and I looked forward to them with sheer delight. For about nine months out of the year, I’d get up at about 8 AM (the same time Tawnya went to the gym), and walk over to 7-11. The walk was not a long one–half a block, but on those sunny spring and especially, summer, mornings, with the low hills of Hollywood in front of me and a few scattered clouds, and the warm, dry air, it was great! I’d walk south down Tujunga, and into 7-11, where I’d get myself a Big Gulp filled with Coke (this was years before I’d given up caffeine). I knew the cashier, would say hello, spend a minute or two chatting, and then reverse the walk, back home.
Once home, I’d grab whatever it was I was reading, move out onto the porch, set my Big Gulp down on the table beside my, prop my chair back, with my feed on the railing, crack my book open, and begin to read. I’d do this for the next 3 hours or so. It was incredibly peaceful. In fact, it wasn’t the most focused reading I’d do, because I would often be distracted by the pleasantness of my surroundings: the way the light shined through the leaves of the trees; the sounds of people walking their dogs as they passed by; saying hello to neighbors. But it was always delightful. Sometimes, I sat in the sun, and other times, when it was particularly hot, I’d move around the corner (we had a wrap-around balcony) and sit in the shade.
When I glance through the list of books that I’ve read, focusing specifically on the books I read between March 27, 1998 and July 31, 2002, many of those books remind me of those Sunday mornings on the balcony–to the point that I can almost remember what I was wearing, the quality of the light, whether it was cloudy or sunny, all of those rich details. I read Isaac Asimov’s The Roving Mind while sitting in the shade on the balcony, and can recall tearing up at the eulogy that Harlan Ellison wrote in the afterward. I read Delany’s The Einstein Intersection basking in the cool sunlight of a February morning. David McCullough’s Truman is another one I recall reading on the sunny summary balcony.
I sat out on the balcony other days of the week reading just as much, if not more, than I did on Sunday mornings. But it is the Sunday mornings in Studio City that stand out in my mind the most.