This is a story about pretty houses. I realize there are no actual houses in the strip. Use your imagination. Also, this story isn't funny. My apologies.
On Saturday night Molly and I went back to Brentwood Village for dinner. We had Indian food and ate ice cream while peering through the gates of Brentwood School, more or less oblivious to the numerous ants at our feet until they started showing up one by one on our hands. On the way back I decided to take a shortcut down Montana Avenue rather than heading all the way back to Santa Monica Boulevard. The excursion took us into the nicer neighborhoods of Santa Monica, and Molly had the idea to head north and look at houses instead of heading directly back to my modest studio apartment.
As we headed north the houses got larger, more attractive, more diverse (architecture-wise), and more reclusive. Fences turned into walls, gates got larger, foliage got more elaborate, driveways got longer and front doors got farther and farther away. Eventually the street we were on turned into Sunset Boulvard and I could no longer drive slowly enough to admire the houses. I was very aware that I was driving the only car within miles that had a mirror held on by duct tape. Sunset took us into Pacific Palisades, where they have chain grocery stores I've never heard of. We caught PCH and headed south back to Santa Monica, with the sun setting over our shoulders.
When I was in college I always had trouble envisioning my future. I wasn't pessimistic, I just had no idea how my life was going to turn out. I think the series of dysfunctional relationships, my inability to get anywhere in my chosen major, and the general aimlessness of my life in Berkeley left me without any building blocks with which to model a life for myself after college. Law school was more or less an accident, so even as the acceptance letters started showing up I didn't get the feeling that I was really going anywhere or doing anything.
Now, I'm marrying an amazing woman and I'm working toward a pretty decent career. I can look at nice houses and imagine being the (second) oldest person living in one of them. I can imagine speaking German and Spanish to my children at the breakfast table. And I can see myself sharing my success, my life, and everything I love with someone I never thought I'd find.
And god damn it, that's a pretty good feeling.