Opinion: Outside In


The Choices We Make

By David Weinstein

I had just handed in my column for the week when I got the news that Shohreh Dupuis had been chosen as the new city manager. My article was a general lampoon of the modern-day job selection process. The gist being, maybe we should take a page from reality TV and have the search for the new city manager mirror the process on the Bachelor/Bachelorette series. The takeaway – “There’s a level of honesty and intimacy that one can only achieve in a hot tub, sipping a glass of Opus One, with waves crashing on the distant shore, which just can’t be replicated in the Council Chambers or City Hall.” So, as a substitute, you get a piece to my wife I was going to run for Mother’s Day.

Ann, my wife, is the Gracie Allen to my George Burns, or more accurately the Alice to my Calvin Trillin. The “straight man” to all my silliness. Had I been the one who handled the raising of our girls, instead of her, they would probably be doing three to five years at the Chowchilla Women’s Facility instead of bringing up our four fine grandsons. And like the soon to be city manager, Ann also had a job with lots of responsibility before she retired. She was senior managing director for global corporate services at the world’s largest commercial real estate firm. Now you are most likely to find her sitting on the floor playing LEGOS with Leo, Max, Jack, or Jasper.

Here’s my homage – I read we can now go to our favorite drinking establishment and enjoy a drink on the patio without wearing a mask. I read this on my new iPhone. The phone is supposed to be “new and improved”, just like everything else purports to be lately. Ann and I are not “new and improved’. We are old and experienced. A bit like the hand tools and kitchenware we rescued from her family’s estate sale when her father passed on. Broken in.

We decide to take the dog and go down to the Laguna Beach Beer Co. to celebrate our good fortune having made it through the prior year. We find a seat on the patio and order a few beers. Then we mostly chat about nothing an enjoy the fine day.

The weather is perfect. The late afternoon sun reaches down through the high cumulus clouds and illuminates her face. I notice a few new wrinkles and creases, but mostly I reflect on how much I like her face. How peaceful and calm it is. How I am comforted by her grace, and how she still radiates all the innocence and openness that first attracted me to her. And how after almost a half century of companionship, I think she is more beautiful than ever.

New and improved is OK, but Ann whistles as she goes about her day. This is pretty hard to beat and a feature they’ll never be able to duplicate on a phone.

Admittedly, I’m a lucky guy. I wish the City the best on its choice and only hope it works out as well as mine.

David and Ann live in Newport Beach with their dog Tucker.

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