A Balcony View:

I’m probably one of the only people in Crescenta Valley who isn’t 100% happy about living in a calm suburb. Yes, I am grateful for the quiet neighborhood streets, friendly neighbors and absence of urban decay. But from a writer’s point of view, do you know how hard it is to come up with something juicy to write about during December?

Seriously. Christmas shopping on Honolulu Avenue was a pleasant experience void of the usual angry hoards of frustrated consumers and insufferable lines. Our annual parade was a peaceful, predictably family-oriented affair where Girl Scout troops and high school marching bands strolled happily down the lane. They waved to the crowd. And we waved right back. Yawn.

I’m not implying that I’d welcome disaster. I am grateful that the rains did not bring the mudslides that everyone feared would be catastrophic. But I wouldn’t mind a little scandal involving one of our council members. I’m just saying; graft and corruption is a lot more fun to write about than the newest fat-free flavor of frozen yogurt.

The truth is, my zealous lust for something newsworthy is really just a self-imposed desire not to write the cliché, year-end, New Year’s resolution column. I had hoped something could prevent me from rambling on about getting in shape. Or my empty promise to drink more water and fewer dry martinis. I even procrastinated finishing this column in hopes that a meaty controversy and intrigue would come across my desk at the last minute. Vampires? Zombies? Ann Coulter? Nothing. I contemplated parking myself at a coffee shop with a sign that read, “Got news?” But the very notion of staring out into the vast contentment and happiness of you people made me even more depressed. So here I sit, no closer to a compelling topic, backed into a literary corner thanks to my idyllic choice of neighborhood. This is what it feels like to stare into the verbal abyss.

So there’s no choice but to give in and fill the remainder of my column with New Year’s resolutions I have no intention of honoring. Just remember, the predictability of this topic is not my fault. I blame it on the rational and civil nature of the Crescenta Valley. If only someone had been bold enough to streak down Honolulu during the holiday parade, I’d have something interesting to write about at the end of the year!

Instead, with nowhere else to go, I present Gary’s 2010 resolutions (which he has no intention to keep):

 I vow to use fewer adverbs in my writing. They don’t contribute much information and do little more than take up space. This is something I’d really, truly, honestly like to accomplish for myself.

 I vow to be kinder to local businesses. In the past, I’ve questioned the relevance of their antiquated flannel pajama window displays and been mystified by their ability to stay afloat selling porcelain poodles. Just because I don’t get it, doesn’t mean I should poke fun at them.

 I promise not to write about texting drivers more than four or five times. Even though I can’t understand how lawmakers determined it’s only worthy of a $50 fine while throwing a banana peel on the ground will get you a $500 fine, I’ll do my best to refrain. Having said that, I make no such guarantees that I will stop verbally taunting them if I see them in traffic. Perhaps in 2011, I can aspire to that.

 And finally, I vow to hold hands and show more public displays of affection in public. I know this means absolutely nothing to many of you. And to the rest, you’d be just as happy if I kept my warm embrace at a safe distance. But for one person, my girlfriend, it would mean a lot. I’m not the most warm and fuzzy guy in town, so were I able to keep this resolution, that would certainly, definitely, absolutely be one of the bigger stories of 2010. Happy New Year.


Get in touch GARY HUERTA is a Crescenta Valley resident and author. He is Senior Manager of Communications for DIRECTV and a copywriting professor at Pasadena Art Center College of Design. Gary may be reached at garyrhuerta@gmail.com.

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