Bear With Me

Dear California,

We need to have a talk.

I was in love with you before we met.  When I first saw you for my own eyes one October day; and as it turned out, the first day of snow in Kentucky, I was reassured that you were the right one.   

For years, I frolicked and explored, with day trips to Santa Cruz or Monterey and quick weekend trips to LA and Tahoe.  My sister was star struck in Hollywood;  I was California struck.  I thought you were everything I would ever want, from 100-year-old Victorian houses with character, to the anonymity of living amongst millions, or the possibility of being as individually quirky as I might want.  But my quirkiness was no match for your Exotic Erotic Ball, Folsom Street Fair, nude beaches, Pride Week, Telegraph Avenue, or Haight-Ashbury.  

I can’t begin to name all the reasons I am attracted to you, but like an old lover, your cities and streets are so familiar; comforted by the fog as it envelopes me, or basking in the sun, supine.  Seventeen years after I first laid eyes on you, I still crave your beaches and Arts and people; the ethnic feel of your neighborhoods, the endless choices of food, from El Salvadoran papusas to Indian, southern, Mexican and the full diaspora you offer.

You opened my eyes to a world so much larger than rural Kentucky, and I will always adore you for it. 


I’m pretty damn sick and tired of paying your delinquent bills in this partnership.   I wholeheartedly believed that if I paid my “highest rate in the country” sales taxes, higher-than-a-kite prices for organic food at the farmers market or my $4, no…$5…no…$6 toll every day to go over the goddamn Golden Gate Bridge, that you would be loyal to me too.  I thought that we had a deal that wasn’t $500,000 for a fixer-upper, $7 for a pack of cigarettes, or $3.50 for a gallon of gas.

But lately, you’ve been taking me for granted!  Screwing behind my back by sneaking in taxes on top of taxes on top of taxes that no other state pays – like $57 in sales tax when my phone only cost $50!  Your roads are in disrepair and your schools are in disarray.  You promised me diversity until you passed Prop 8.  You promised me a sunny California, but you haven’t even delivered on that in the last two years!

The once strong, manly bear of California is now poor and cold, begging for pennies on every street corner with his tattered scarf.  No longer ruling the land, but looking for a free ride at my expense.  Like any other love affair that has run out of gas…


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