I have to admit, Dunedin's pretty charming. The name comes from Scottish settlers in the area, I'm given to understand, and they do their best to play up the connection, with a Scottish import store and a history museum and bagpipes as the official Chamber of Commerce symbol. The overall feel is something like a cross between a tourist-friendly North Carolina mountain town like Hilltop and a more typical Florida beach town. Gulf breezes keep the place cooler than the more inland converted-cowtown of Brandon, where I live. And for a foodie, the place is pretty amazing--one of the best Mexican restaurants in the area, Casa Tina, a few restaurants I haven't been to yet including the frightfully upscale-looking Black Pearl. And, of course, Kelly's, which is best described as setting a gourmet chef with a secret love of 1950s diner food and decor loose in an old Florida beach house. There's even a gourmet kitchen store--a serious one, offering cooking classes--which I haven't had the opportunity to visit yet (I always seem to be here around dinner hours on Saturdays, when it's closed).
In certain moods--or after just a few hours at work--it's easy for me to focus on the virtues of moving somewhere else. Visiting places like this brings the reasons I like the area into focus. Florida may be flat, but it has more coastline than any state except Alaska. Tampa Bay still doesn't have any truly world-class restaurants like Chez Panisse or Spago, but it has more "merely damn good" restaurants per capita than any other metro area I've been to. (We do actually have two steakhouses that have shown up in national "top ten" lists over the years.) From the artsy-funky areas like Dunedin and Gulfport to beach neighborhoods like South Pasadena and Tierra Verde to the long-promised renaissance of Ybor and the Tampa harbor area that's finally happening, this is a pretty cool area of a pretty nice state.
By mid-July I won't have much kind to say about the weather, of course, and it won't appreciably cool down until October...
These thoughts are particularly on my mind after sending out a resume to a job at O'Reilly & Associates, a publishing company in Sonoma County north of San Francisco. I just blundered across the listing late Thursday, while checking the North Bay Careers website--part of a network of career websites whose idea was to just list employers and link directly to their employment websites rather than collect job listings. It's a good concept but the network seems kind of moribund, and I don't go through it more than once every couple of months when I'm particularly bored and think "Hey, I haven't looked there in a while."
The job at O'Reilly is a web position, not a technical writing position, but it's a company I particularly like in a part of the country I think I particularly like (I haven't been to the Sonoma area itself, although I've been close to it). And if anything, I'm overqualified for the position. The paranoid side of me says that's because they're looking for a low-end position and are just going to grab someone local for half the salary I'd need, and even a less paranoid reading does make me wonder whether they'd even bother talking to someone on the other side of the country. Even so, I had to get something into them--at least on paper the match was too good. I'll likely follow up next week with a hard copy by mail. This is partially superstition--the only time I ever got a call back from a company in northern California was when I both e-mailed and mailed them.
Like always, when I think there's even a chance I'm not quacking in the dark, I start to get cold feet. How do I plan a move cross-country, particularly to a town where I won't know anyone? (While it's fifty miles north of San Francisco as the crow flies, my estimate is that it's about two hours actual travel time to Silicon Valley.) And as far as that goes, while I think I could deal with the solitude of only seeing friends on weekends, I haven't been in a situation like that for years.