“My life is like a stroll on the beach…as near to the edge as I can go.” ~Thoreau
Well, I am back with both feet in North Dakota. While I am happy to be home, I am a tish sad to be far away again from my brother and his family and my Cali friends. Isn’t that how vacations go though? Just about the time you get used to being with everyone and readjust your norm it it is time to go home.
I still have plenty to share with you about my So Cal trip, but I am not sure how and when it will all come out as there are so many things going on that are competing in my mind for blog time. Here is what I know for sure (and yes, I did lift that phrase from Oprah – we are tight you know) – today I want to share my So Cal top ten list with you and tomorrow I will share my return trip airport observations.
I fancy my top ten list along the lines of David Letterman’s top ten lists – I will work my way down to number one. Alas, before I extol the things I like the most about Southern California, I need to first acknowledge a few things I am not so fond of.
First of all, the logistics of traffic – knowing what direction you can go in and at what time of day without hitting traffic is an art form. I had forgotten how many cars they could cram on one freeway and the seeming breakneck speed with which folks speed up on each other and shift from lane to lane. Scary – really scary. Makes me appreciate our North Dakota traffic jams which I believe is technically defined as more than six cars in a quarter-mile stretch on the highway…or something like that.
Secondly, the notion of dangerous crime (i.e., robbery, rape, murder, etc.) being a likely possibility in some neighborhoods. I vaguely recall that being a part of my day-to-day reality back in the days when I lived in Southern California, but after 13 years in North Dakota I have become fairly comfortable with our low crime stats and apparently naive as to where it is safe to stop and get out of the car in Los Angeles County.
Thirdly, I am not fond of the vast diffenece in wealth that is apparent in California. I know it exists everywhere, but nowhere is it more blatantly apparent than in Southern California. It isn’t just the “haves” and “have-nots”…in So Cal it is the “HAVES!!!! Neener-neener!!” and “have-nots”…status is worn like a neon flashing sign. Most folks in North Dakota are much more subtle than that thank goodness.
Finally, the hurry, hurry, hurry of the Southern California lifestyle. Not sure if it is all the driving or if it is lifestyle-oriented, but folks seem to be in an awfully big hurry. I think the stress level of Californians is dramatically higher than that of North Dakotans. Comparatively, I felt like my get-up and go was on mosey level and my stress level was like a day at Disneyland.
On the up-side, I remembered many a thing I love and miss about Southern California. Former or current So Cal folks please let me know if you agree.
Southern California Top Ten List:
10. The diversity
9. The weather
8. The focus on health and fitness
7. The recognition of the importance of the Arts
5. Access to multitudes of shopping, dining and entertainment options
4. The beaches
3. Authentic Mexican food
2. Did I mention surfers?
1. Family and friends…because really folks – that is what it is all about.
Day three hundred and eighty-eight of the new forty – obla di obla da