Skip to main content

Mercer vs. Forbes, Vienna To L.A.: Are We Crazy?

Sunny days, brilliant light, endless streams of traffic - after two years in Vienna we are back in L.A. We moved from the most livable city in the world to one of the most stressful cities in the US, gave up the security of life in Austria for the uncertainties of life in the USA. Are we crazy?

According to a Forbes study which was published last week only Las Vegas beats Los Angeles for stress level in the USA. Forbes used six metrics "that can either cause or be caused by stress" to arrive at its conclusions: high unemployment, long commute times, long work hours, limited access to health care, poor physical health, and a lack of exercise.

The main reason for Los Angeles to fare poorly is apparently the physical health of its residents. 22.8 percent of Angelinos report that their health is "less than good". Forbes comments that "physical and mental health are closely intertwined, and it's hard to keep from stressing out when one's body is failing". Hard to argue with that one.

So are we crazy? Looking out of the hotel window, down onto the freeway gridlock beneath me, at the yellow line of smog on the horizon in the west I should probably say yes. But then my gaze turns north and I see the San Gabriel mountains with their deep morning shadows, the blue sky above them. There is something exhilarating about the weather in Southern California, the promise of eternal vacation, of yet another day in paradise - as stressful as it may be, however uncertain things may be.


Lorraine Seal said…
We're making a quick trip to Vienna this weekend, and I came to your blog this morning thinking you would still be there (here). Now I see you're in my old neighbourhood.

Life in LA is indeed very stressful. In the years since we left Southern California, those seeing me again after an absence note how much less stressed I seem. I admit, though, that the sight of the San Gabriels rising pink and lavender-blue against the seamless sky when the Santa Anas have cleared the air can be breathtaking. However, I understand you're facing terrific heat right now.

Even thought we've only met in this space, I'll miss your presence here in Austria. Good luck.

Thank you for your kind words. Have a good weekend in Vienna.

Popular posts from this blog

Back to Basics: Dry Summers, Figs, and a Chunk of Cheese

What do we know about simplicity? Figs from our tree. Figs. The taste of summer, the taste of home; my immigrant home. Our backyard tree is heavy with fruit. In the mornings I go out to pick what is ripe; figs for breakfast, a treat straight from the tree; flesh and seeds, refreshing and sweet, grainy resistance and softness at the same time. Figs, the color of their skin, purple with blotches of green or white stripes where they have cracked. The reds and browns inside bring up memories: a summer spent in Normandy, France, with my parents, my brother, and my maternal grandmother. Life was about food in its basic, original form, about mussels and figs and cheese; it was about the ocean and its tides, gigantic but predictable, and about history. We visited Bayeux to see  the tapestry which tells the story of William the Conqueror and the Battle of Hastings;  we spent a day or a half at  Arromanches,  saw a documentary on D-Day and the landing of the allied forces on the b

Another Word for Fast Food? Trzesniewski (Pile On 1)

The other day I passed by a new Subway sandwich place which had opened a few blocks from our house. As I was reflecting its green and yellow sign images of foot long chunks of white bread came to mind, mayo smeared on one half, mustard on the other; ham, provolone, pickles, jalapenos, onions, peppers, olives, tomatoes in between and a bag of chips for sides... People in America like to pile on. I also thought of my favorite fast food place in Vienna, which goes by the unspeakable name of Trzesniewski. The original Trzesniewski opened in the first district more than one hundred years ago. Its oldest location is tucked into a narrow street off of Graben. Other outlets are scattered around town. Trzesniewski sells open face sandwiches, slivers of rye bread (white or wheat? no, you do not get to choose!), topped with spreads made from either egg or tomatoes or cucumber, pickle, salmon, herring...  The more elaborate creations come with two or three spreads, applied next to each other

Passionate Nerd, Dull Date: Encounter With a Stamp Collector

"Their album - it's an excuse." Stamps from Austria Last week I received a packet from Austria. It came with two old fashioned looking petit point stamps. I do not collect stamps and would not recognize a Blue Mauritius if you sent me one but the stamps from Austria caught my interest. As my fingers were running over the stitching I couldn't help but wonder: does anyone still do petit point? Are young people here in L.A. or even back in Europe still acquiring the craft? I learned to stitch, sew, and knit in elementary school in Austria but handiwork was not my forte. On the contrary. Crafts used to be the one subject I loathed - though I believe that my mother still keeps the red and blue pot holder I crocheted in second grade. (It was supposed to be a square but ended up an irregular trapeze.) The other thing I was wondering about when the packet arrived is whether young people still collect stamps. When I was in high school I knew a guy my age with a collec