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I love California. I’m just not sure why

Submitted by on Tuesday, 9 March 2010 2 Comments

It’s funny how a simple question can stop you dead in your tracks, like when a high school classmate I’d recently reconnected with asked, “How do you like Cali?”

I love it, I thought.

Then I wondered why.

Certainly the weather has something to do with it. Earthquakes, you say? I’ll see you a temblor and raise  you a hurricane or blizzard. Besides, we’ve always lived on the right side of the fault line – when the big one hits, we’re going to have ocean-front property.

The state’s rich diversity is a factor as well. In the town where we lived pre-Army we could find Mexican, Asian and Middle Eastern shops and restaurants – real ones, not Taco Bell-ized or Panda Express-ified knock offs – within a 10-minute drive. Does that mean that all ethnicities co-exist happily all the time? No, but you can see the hope in the guys’ generation.

I’ve never lived in one of the state’s bigger cities – and it cracks me up that the “small” ones dwarf the capitols of several states – though I love the idea that we can drive a couple of hours and be there. I also love that we can escape to wide-open spaces – snow, even, which Big Guy would love if it weren’t so cold.

On the other hand, it gets tiring being the butt of everyone’s jokes, such as the other day when an official at Boots’ preschool answered complaints about requirements for pre-kindergarten physicals with a shrug and a “That’s California for you.” As if no other state in the union has that requirement.

The complaints about the high cost to register a car are tedious. Yes, it looks high until you consider that it includes a vehicle licensing fee in lieu of local property taxes that people in many other states pay every year. Did you forget that part?

Yes, our governor’s an actor. Again. At least he’s not a former pro wrestler. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – Jesse Ventura’s actually been making more sense than most these days.

And I agree that our government is tremendously screwed up, perhaps irreparably so under its current setup.

I suspect it’s the criticism, combined with my hillbilly contrarian streak, that makes me so loyal to the Golden State even though it isn’t so golden at the moment. As a native West Virginian, I’m allowed to tell the jokes – but if you do, it’s going to get my back up.

After almost 12 years in California, I feel the same way about my adopted state. I don’t require you to love it – but I’m tired of the rash of criticism from those whose real gripe boils down to “it’s different.”

Yes, it is. Viva la difference.

Copyright 2010 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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  • Jessica Woodrum said:

    Imagine living in South Carolina. The jokes coming at us are never ending, potentially worse than what you’re experiencing in California. “I’m hiking the Appalachian trail.” “You lie.” I could go on…

  • Debra said:

    I’m dying laughing, Jessica. But what you say is true – I’m just so used lately to defending California against all the haters that I forgot about South Carolina’s recent baggage. I wonder if there’s a USC connection – University of Southern California, University of South Carolina. And I’m not going to go there on the eastern USC’s mascot – that’s another bad South Carolina joke.