Brian and I have spent the last week away from home and it’s been good. Home is good too, but I’m first in line for any chance to have a break from the norm. There has been mostly good on this trip, with very little bad and most of that badness has had to do with The 405. Some of the goodest of the good was the goodness of this beautiful, highly taxed state we call home. I’m certain my husband’s salt and pepper hair would still be a youthful all-over brown if we lived in a state where a house mortgage was a three digit number and property taxes didn’t make grown men cry, but then we’d have really, really high medical bills what with all the anti-depressants and therapy I would need to get through every winter. So, financially, it’s probably a wash. But back to the California goodness…. As we sat in a charming Morro bay restaurant this last week, munching incredibly fresh and tasty fish tacos while gazing out at the sea, being uninterruppted by the dearly loved and pesky small folk we call our own and watching sailboats drift by, I said to Brian: “Could you ever live in the midwest again?” (Ok, I said it more like “Could you EEEEEEEEEVER live in….”) He nearly cut me off with his impassioned “NO!” and then made that little scoffing sound in his throat. Brian is not a man prone to being impassioned about much. Technology (yes, all of it), a really great egg-salad sandwich, and cars that look pretty and go much faster than any husband and father of two ever need propel himself anywhere are usually the limit of B’s impassionedness. So, being that I’m not a fan of my own SAD, this response of his brought me great comfort. As we glanced up at the bar tv between bites of fishy taco, we marveled at how very happy the snow-covered football fans in some large midwestern stadium seemed to be. Sitting where we were, it struck us as a bit ludicrous that being covered in snow, whilst hooting it up about one’s favorite football player sludging around hundreds of feet below at a stadium packed with other chilly, pale, casserole-lovin’ midwesterners could elicit the kind of happiness that the people on the screen were showing. But apparently, it can. I’m sure that whole snowy football, bleak landscape and no spring until May or June thing just totally rocks. Rock on midwesterners! Whoo-hoo! So yeah, California, even with it’s high prices and even higher taxes is to me, very very good. The mountains, sunshine, beaches, forests, lakes, sunshine, sunshine and sunshine outweigh the cost in my book. California good.
From Morro Bay we went on to Santa Barbara (State street: bad. Rural Santa Barbara and the wineries and the ocean: good.) From Santa Barbara we went on to L.A.
Here’s the thing: we liked L.A. when we lived there. We liked it a lot in fact. Previously, we had lived in indiana, Virginia and Tennessee and between the two of us, we also have spent time living in Washington, New York, Michigan and Minnesota. When we lived in L.A., we always said that out of all the places we’d lived, we liked L.A. the best. We meant it. Having now lived in northern CA for three years, we experience the predictable culture shock whenever we come back. Perhaps L.A. isn’t “bad,” per se, (though parts of it are…um, why exactly were we so ok with living in the valley?!?!?) but seriously, why is everyone so sad and angry here? When did the L.A. politeness level become something akin to that in NYC? I discovered the key to a happier L.A. consumer/retail experience last night though: just go to a really extra nice restaurant with your girlfriends and whenever the server comes near, order yet another item off the menu. Just keep ordering. For hours. Then leave a really big tip. Everyone gets really nice when you do this. Then go home for another year because it will take you that long to financially recoup. (Somebody get an oxygen tank for Brian…he just grabbed his wallet and then passed out when he read this. Oh, and look at that, his hair just went ALL gray! He looks so cute like that! Kinda distinguished and everything.)
What’s worse than “bad?” Are you thinking of those words right now? Yeah, it’s that.