Hey. I just got back from a 10 day vaca (of sorts) in Santa Barbara. Actually, I was there to help a lady friend, Cristina, in her life-changing relocation from Miami, Florida to California’s beautiful central coast. It was enlightening in several ways. Of course, there was the predictable sticker shock comparing dwelling costs between the coasts. Leaving behind Florida’s God-awful humidity comes at a price. Though not quite in San Francisco’s league, Santa Barbara is getting insanely expensive. The better part of our time there was spent finding affordable housing for her. The task was made more difficult because of her 13 year-old schnauzer. Though SB’s restaurants are dog-friendly, most of its rentals are not.
Ultimately we did find a cute but tiny studio for Cristina in Carpinteria (a homecoming, in a way, for me because I went to high school there). The studio measures about 10 x 10 feet and has a bathroom so tiny that I can soak my feet in the tub and brush my teeth, all while taking a poop – the ultimate in multi-tasking. She will cook on a hot plate and a microwave. Dishes will end up in the bathroom sink directly behind her. Perhaps she should look at this as trailer boot camp.
So my big takeaway from all this came from observing the trauma caused Cristina from the prospect of downsizing. She arrived in Cali with about 800 pounds of jam-packed luggage. I am not kidding. And that was just her immediate needs – everything else is in storage. After all, we are talking here about a 50+ year-old woman accustomed to being a South Beach fashionista and not familiar with tiny spaces. She was at a loss for what to keep at hand, what to store and what to part with. She was truly having difficulty wrapping her brain around this and it occured to me that downsizing, tiny houses and trailer living do not come naturally for most Americans. I was also reminded of a hilarious and brilliant George Carlin routine regarding “Stuff”.
So I left Santa Barbara and my struggling companion yesterday thankful that I have already made the leap from obsessive acquisitiveness to modern minimalism. A fact that will make my transition to Sparta much less painful. I did, however, acquire an unexpected piece of baggage in the form of a old, though frisky companion named Karma. Fortunately, she, too, is tiny.