It happened again it late November. Eric, one of the guys I work with, was driving a car-full to a social function in Scranton. His passengers were his wife, Dawn; another guy we work with, Jim; and me. Jim and Eric had worked together previously in Scranton, and began commenting on how much it had changed as we drove into the city. Dawn turned to me and, quite out of the blue, went back a little further with her question than just "Where did you work last?" She asked me where I was born.
"Los Angeles, California," I answered truthfully. To tell the absolute truth, a lot of times I dodge that question, because I usually get the reaction I got that night from Dawn: "What the heck are you doing out here in the cold and snow? Usually, people want to go the other way."
Radio is what happened. When I graduated from Loyola Marymount University, I had lived my entire life in California, minus a few weeks spent on vacation. But all I wanted to do when I got my BA in Communications was play records on the radio, and after awhile a station in Hagerstown, Maryland, extended an employment opportunity, and I took it. So I reversed Horace Greeley's famous admonition and went east. I did escape to Kansas, Florida and Georgia in my radio career, but I kept returning to the Northeast when those jobs were over. By now, I've actually spend more of my life in snow and cold than I did basking in California sunshine.
But I'll be honest with you one more time: when record-cold temperatures and snow and ice have me skidding while I shovel my driveway wrapped in every coat and scarf I own, I ask myself Dawn's question over and over. "Usually, people want to go the other way," she said. Days like these I agree with her.