But what is it REALLY like to live here? The Stanford Cult

For weeks and months I lay in bed at night trying to imagine what Life would be like in Cali (oh! see how I’ve picked up the local lingo?!)  

I pictured hours at my writing desk alone—David working long days at his first new job apart from each other in 25 years—with a mixture of trepidation and pure joy.  I remembered quite well the astonishing cornucopia of fresh veggies and fruit when we arrived in LA in 1980 (um…remember cellophane tomatoes and enormous heads of tasteless iceberg lettuce at the Purity Supreme in Bedford circa 1970’s? Ugh!) I resolved to break my tendency-t0-isolation and reach out to my Stanford Writing friends, and friend from High School Laura and her Mom, Ruth. And, I bookmarked writing workshops and classes in San Francisco for the Fall.

K?  All set!


There’s all manner of time-sucking stuff, still, that doesn’t just magically disappear.  I know full well from our too-close acquaintance with 12 steps and such that there’s never a “geographic solution” to life’s stucked-ness, that to really really move yourself from point A to off-the-alphabet grid you have to open up your veins and be willing to actually live dangerously.  Do new things.  Be willing.

But we need a couch, and have to sign up for Health Insurance, and I’m not seeing through my left lens well so I gotta find a new glasses place that takes our new insurance (Yes! Benefits! Joys of leaving self-employment behind!) and what about a dentist and didn’t someone say there was a Farmer’s Market and how come the Whole Foods here kinda sucks and another email from Stanford via David (“will you deal with this for me, honey?)

OH! The ultimate time-sucker:  Stanford “sweetners”.  What’s that, you wonder?

So, in addition to Life/Health/vision/dental, free gym, 36-lane pool (52? 70? it’s huge) on the biggest college campus in the western hemisphere in a bucolic setting with the smells of Euctalyptus drifting heavenward as smiling happy bikers whizz by, the high-priestesses of Benefits gotta hook us in.  Sweet!

There’s classess and personal fitness coaches and cell-phone discounts and hi-speed internet with free HBO, SHO, Encore…not to mention museums and meditation spaces and a meditation walking maze/circle (an outdoor one and an indoor one)…free breakfast at the Faculty Club…tuition for children to age 40—yeah, that’s FOURTY at any accrediated university…cash for completing a Health Survey…talks and concerts and football games…


(I just signed up for a CSA…they’ll deliver veggies and fruit TO MY DOOR from their organic Farm every Tues night for $33.  And eggs and honey and other stuff.)

Why would anyone ever leave this place?

And this is how they get you.  Is every cult member a skeptic at first, like me? Even while I exclaim about another new “sweet” I’m bemused by my own rapturous response (organic farm to table, oh my!) whilst the love grows…

And David’s not immune, either.  Two nights ago he dragged me back across the street to campus to his afternoon find—next to the Masoleum:

I know, right?  It’s a volunteer-run cactus garden behind the Child Psychiatry building (irony intended?)



4 thoughts on “But what is it REALLY like to live here? The Stanford Cult

  1. Fabulous blog! Sounds like a ball , take your time , Gail , there is no need to rush to anything , this is your time to do what you want( and get as many perks as possible)!

    Sent from my iPhone



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