what’s up, california?

Katie, I’ve lived in your home state for less than a year, but I already get why you miss it so much and come back to visit every chance you get. California rocks. It’s as cool as you’ve heard, people. Sure, it has the problems everyone grumbles about: loads of traffic, crappy public schools, and a bad economy. But in response, California’s all like, “I don’t give a fuck. I’m California.”

So I’m not going to address the obvious issues. But there are a few things I’ve noticed that I’d like an explanation for, or at least bring to California’s attention. I’m not sure if enough people have asked the following:


  • What’s up with Oxnard? So, I’ve driven from just south of San Fransisco to just north of Los Angeles several times since we’ve moved here. I have family in Malibu, which is about a 6 1/2 hour drive from Palo Alto. People are often surprised that I don’t think twice about loading three small kids in the car and driving 6 1/2 hours, but it’s really not a big deal. It’s a beautiful drive, the kids are used to car trips, and it’s fun to get out of our daily routine. Anyway, I’m driving down the 101, right? First, I pass between two mountain ranges. Then, a eucalyptus forest. I drive by wilderness preserves and through lush green valleys and then go over a mountain pass and get my first peek of the sparkling Pacific off Pismo Beach. I drive through towns with names like San Luis Obispo and Santa Maria. I see surfers, beach homes, wetsuits, and poppies. And then, somehow, between Santa Barbara and Malibu, two of the most beautiful cities in the state, I find myself in Oxnard? I’ve tried to get from the 101 to HWY 1, or vice-versa,  no less than six times around Oxnard and I’ve gotten lost EVERY SINGLE TIME. And, it’s never been lost in the same way. Just always lost. I think the Oxnardians do it on purpose, to get me downtown where they’ve placed oddly-large, bright street-signs that are supposed to make me excited that I’m going from First St. to Second St. to Third St. Well, Oxnard, it’s not working. I no longer even refer to you as “Oxnard,” but “Stupid Oxnard.” Please, just put up some signs that clearly indicate how to get from the 101 to HWY 1 WITHOUT HAVING TO GO THROUGH ALL THOSE FREAKIN’ STOPLIGHTS!


  • What’s up with the white vertical blinds? California, you are supposed to be an innovative leader in design and technology. Surely you know that there are roman shades, bamboo blinds, curtains made of silk, linen, cotton, right? So why the plastic white vertical blinds in every home? Even the homes with floor-to-ceiling windows that have a view of the ocean are covered with those clanky, awkward, ugly blinds. It’s time to think outside the box with window treatments, California.


  • What’s up with all the down? Really, guys? It’s overcast and has dropped to 60 degrees and we’re going to wear ankle-length down coats with hoods? Why does anyone on the coast of California even OWN a down jacket? Northern Minnesota? Yes. Southern California? No.


  • What’s up with the gardeners? From what I can tell, a “gardener” here is someone who shows up once a week with a leaf-blower to blow leaves from one part of the “yard” to another. And EVERYBODY has one. The “gardener” is included in the rent. What’s up with that?


  • these are better for toes.

     What’s up with all the shoes and socks? In a place where it’s totally legit to wear flip-flops every day, to every place you go, why all the shoes and socks? Uggs are the only exception, because there are just too many of them to fight. But socks? And shoes that lace up and/or buckle that require socks? Why?


4 thoughts on “what’s up, california?

  1. Hi Maria, I feel creepy reading and commenting on your blog because I barely know you–I was in one of yours and Katie’s grad seminars with Mike Johnson, and I found your blog because it came up on my GChat. You called for commenting though, so I feel less creepy.
    Anyway, now I live in San Francisco, and at first I said all of the above, especially about the weather and clothing, but damn, after three years I’ve gotten spoiled. Now, it’s like 50 degrees, and I cry about it. Time to go back to Kansas! And then when I can’t find anything good to eat and miss seeing brown and gay people, I will come back 🙂

    Sidenote–I love this idea and this blog. I always enjoyed reading your essays in class, and I’m glad I can still read it. Keep it up!

    • Thanks, Katey. I’m so glad you “found” us. I loved sharing class with you. We should get together sometime. Chris and I love going to the City. I’m glad to know you’re out here!

      p.s. I’m hoping people who don’t know us AT ALL will read this thing, so it’s not creepy to hear from someone who DOES know us.

Add to the discussion! We read and appreciate EVERY comment, though we aren't always able to reply.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s