Today is my last at the San Jose Mercury News. When I arrived in this crazy place of perfect weather and tolerant populace, it seemed I was on vacation from the first day.

All I had to do to remain on vacation was spend 7.5 hours a day doing something that came as naturally to me as waking when rested. The pay was not great, but it was good. The company was often cranky but excellent. What the people of San Jose and points beyond needed to know, we told.

Five days a week of playing on computers and fixing people’s grammar was all it cost to subsidize a 10-year vacation from blizzard winters and tornado summers. The weekends were mine; the mornings were mine. California was mine, at least my little sliver of it. It was worth having, full of things worth doing.

I once read you should live in Southern California but leave before it makes you hard, and live in Northern California but leave before it makes you soft. Either way, you don’t stay.

So, it’s back to working for a living (assuming there’s work to be had). Sure, I’m sad that the gravy train ran out of track, but the great thing about this world is they’re always building a new one somewhere.