The thought of writing has crossed my mind many times in the last oh say 8 months. But my heart wasn’t in it. I wasn’t ready to face the pen. Because there is no refuge from reality, the real nitty gritty unless you are a fiction writer. There are times, at least for me, that reality is hard enough to live through much less write about. Which is BS by the way, as at no point have I been in a warzone or short of plumbing. In my defense it’s all relative. In any case I am not a fiction writer, ever, at least on purpose.
It should be utterly predictable then that I live in and love Los Angeles. Chosen home of Bukowski, Raymond Chandler, Ray Bradbury, and oh hai! George Takei and Leonard Nimoy Star Trek fans . Yes I’m being as the french waiter earlier this evening said a “very sarcastic American”. True story, that really happened (happens a lot). All sarcasm aside, equally predictable perhaps, I’m not a west coast native and can lay no claim to being Southern Californian.
Okay the confession is out there, it’s done, so let’s quickly sort out a misnomer right away. Let’s talk California, roll out every preconceived notion you ever heard or read about “Cali” let’s start a bonfire and use the whole lot of that as kindling. Sure we can do it on the beach you’ll be glad to have a fire I assure you.
Pro-tip: A good piece of the pacific coastline a lot of the year is decidedly inhospitable for bikini baring. Fair warning the Beach Boys sold a whole warehouse full of fiction, the Pacific is as cold as a mofo a lot of the year. But oh boy when it’s warm and toasty the beach is the bees knees. However you can enjoy the relatively unspoken joy that nearly every month of the year you can watch a tourist in complete denial of this while you sport your cable knit sweater and boots while they border on hypothermia.
California’s southern questionable soily reaches that nudge right up to Mexico like a drunken coed and it’s Northern recesses bordering extraordinary amounts of rain and fog are indeed diametrically different places. Lest we even begin a discussion of the lands in between (cows, lot’s of cows). California is a stunningly diverse and alarmingly divisive politically and yes socially, but somehow… like all natural wonders indescribably beautiful and horrible in nearly equal parts. Anyone east of Nevada is convinced I abandoned sound mind the moment I “defected” west.
I get it, I grew up in Texas (also vastly diverse contrary to popular belief) and Missouri (decidedly less diverse – feel free to correct me central dwellers). The media portrayed the west as risk, artifice, vice and maybe even Babylon. The jokes flew about tree huggers, unwashed zoned out hippies, and fault lines that was surely God’s safety device to drop it into the pacific when he finally got weary of the nonsense.
I hate to break it to you middle lands, sure we have our share of alternative medicine loving tree huggers, and perhaps a spare few more per capita smelly zoned out hippies we also have everything else. That includes those people that drummed up that social network facebook you can’t seem to stay off of. And oh say that company that made that iphone/ipad you or your kids might be so enamored with. We harbor some of the world’s greatest minds in our workforce, and schools; USC, UCLA, Stanford, Berkely, Art Center, Cal-Tech… trust I could go on. I really do have friends that are scholars, master painters, lauded photographers, tech experts and startup risk takers. I also have friends that bust their bums as waiters/waitresses, actors, artists, and at desks I could go on and on. People are people, geography matters not, maybe the only thing that separates this coast from other pins on the map of America is we fear risk less. What’s more risky than being a biped with crippling nearsightedness like me? In the natural order of things I’d argue very very few.
Now I’m going to tell you what every other west coaster will tell you unless they don’t want you anywhere near their state. The weather, yep it’s true, eleventy times better than yours. Roughly 340+ days a year you can drink your coffee outside, and not ever have your feet ankle deep in snow or conversely ass drenched in sweat. True story. Even in San Francisco you can throw away your ice scraper. Keep the scarf though, you’ll need that. Fine pedantic, keep the ice scraper! Only if you are going to be regularly skiing mind you. Yeah that happens out here too, or maybe walking along the beach… oh wait you are more into the desert. Yeah we’ve got that too. While we are on outdoor pursuits we have a stunning amount of hiking, biking and yes that muscle beach business is still there. But it’s not nearly as endearing as the vintage photos, fair warning.
Come visit I’ve got a million more insider tips.