Ah, California!

Ah, California!

On the San Francisco Chronicle website the other day was a teaser about a survey of some sort saying that California was one of the states disliked by a majority of the poll respondents.

Alas, poor California! We don’t get no respect.

Mind you, back in the days when I was going to college at the University of Colorado in Boulder, sniping at California was the thing to do. I recall a popular bumper sticker that read “Don’t Californicate Colorado.” California was the symbol of all that urban sprawl and smog.

Then there’s the “fruits and nuts” tag. I’ve been hearing that one for 40 years.

Mind you, CU Boulder was also referred to as “Little Berkeley.” After having experienced the real Berkeley, I can tell you there is no comparison.

I have lived in Northern California, specifically the Bay Area, for more than 30 years, not counting a brief sojourn in Monterey. Periodically my mother wonders why I’m here with the urban sprawl, all those people, the high cost of living.

Yes, there’s all of that. But I like it here.

Let’s put it this way. It’s late February. My freesia are loaded with buds, the roses are leafing out, and the daffodils are up. I have cymbidium orchids on my patio.

The other day I went for a walk on my lunch hour and it was 70 degrees at Lake Merritt. Other people were stretched out on the grass, eating lunch, napping, soaking up the rays. The coots, grebes, mallards and scaup paddled on the lake, the egrets were stalking fish in the shallows.

Yes, we need rain. We can feel guilty about enjoying the sunshine later.

No snow. Except up in the mountains where it belongs. Other places in the US, they got that white stuff on the ground. Snow is pretty to look at, as long as I don’t have to go out in it.

When I go back to Colorado to spend Christmas with my family, people ask if I’m dreaming of a White Christmas. Only if it’s got Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney. They can hold that white stuff till I get back to California.

Air travel and snow don’t mix. Let me tell you about the Blizzard of 2006. That was the year Mom opened her front door, looked out, and closed the door again, not to emerge for several days. I was supposed to fly to Denver on December 20 and finally arrived December 24, several canceled flights and an airport closure later. She told me if the plane couldn’t take off on the 24th, to just stay home and spend Christmas with my cats. The plane got through, but it started snowing again as the bus left the airport.

Of course we do have earthquakes in California. They have them in other states, too. I tell myself we’re better prepared them. Maybe.

I’d rather have an earthquake than a tornado, after seeing what happened to my cousins in Greensburg, Kansas. As for hurricanes and typhoons, I experienced Supertyphoon Pamela while I was in Navy on Guam, and I think I’d opt for an earthquake over a repeat of that. Though going outside while the eye of the typhoon passed over us was unique.

So if you don’t like California, fine with me. I’ll stay here and watch my cymbidium orchids bloom.

Although we’re about to have a cold snap. Last time I looked, the temperature was all the way down to 50!


3 Responses

  1. One of my favorite American poets wrote a song about California, the chorus of which goes thuswise:

    California is a garden of eden,
    A paradise to live in or see,
    But believe it or not, you won’t find it so hot,
    If you ain’t got the do-re-mi.

    The bard’s celebration of the state of Washington, on the other hand, is called “Pastures of Plenty.”


  2. You put up a good argument for California, and I did enjoy the two visits I had there–got to meet Meredith and the Daniels at a Bouchercon and wander San Francisco–but I have to note that Vermont is catching up with California. We’ve had almost no snow at all this winter, and tiny shoots of something are pushing tentatively up out of the ground. And it’s still February! Global warming, sure, and I don’t like it. I miss the snow, I miss that feeling of warmth and coziness while the white flakes are falling out of the heavens and piling up on my bird feeder and I’m in my armchair with a glass of wine and a good book. Well, to each her own.

  3. I’m with Nancy on the weather. Give me seasons. Cold ones, hot ones, as long as there’s that variety.

    But I do envy people like Janet who are living where they want to live. I’m here in Nor Cal with the soul of a New Englander.

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