About 20 years ago, when I lived in Los Angeles, I needed to go apartment-hunting. I did what all apartment hunters did in those days, pre-Craigslist and Google and practically all Internet: I picked up a copy of the local newspaper and scanned the real estate listings. Pretty quickly I learned that the real estate business had its own code to describe properties: “cozy” meant “small,” “charming” was “run-down,” and “fixer-upper” meant prepare to spend the next five years of your life doing just that.

My favorite term was “Beverly Hills-adjacent.” A unit described as “adjacent” could be miles from the center of what most of us consider “Beverly Hills,” but as long as it had anything in common with that prestigious location—both were north of Orange County?—the listing would proclaim it. It was a great lesson in how attitude influences perception.

Since becoming a mother, I’m very aware of my attitude, toward every person and every thing. My children are watching me all the time and, metaphorically speaking, taking notes. For example, two Christmases ago, we were driving home to San Francisco from San Diego and the kids saw a sign for Disneyland. “Disneyland, Disneyland!” they screamed. Of course, a trip to Disneyland requires months of planning ahead. It’s not the kind of destination where you can just swerve off the freeway at the Disneyland exit and pop in.

You can, however, swerve off the freeway and be “Disneyland-adjacent.” My husband and I did just that. As he made the sharp right turn, I opened the window and exclaimed, “Look, there’s the entrance! And the monorail! Ooh, I think I see Mickey!” Olivia and Mateo shrieked with excitement. We talked about how we would return someday, and how nice it was, for now, to be so close by.

As my children get older, I know it will become harder to convince them that something “adjacent” is as good as the thing itself. Maybe, though, sometimes, “adjacent” is all we really need to be happy.


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2 Responses to “Adjacent”

  1. Yeah. Adjacent can be plenty good, especially if you’re living your life alongside a dad/husband with enough joie de vivre to swerve off an LA freeway just to get a quick glimpse of Disneyland from the street!

  2. Jessica says:

    Ain’t it the truth! Thanks for the comment, Barbara.

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