It’s a Different World

It IS different.  It’s the only place where a 1200 square foot house is considered big.  The only place where $500,000 for a 1200 square foot house doesn’t make you blink an eye.  The only place I know that has beaches and snow within a day’s drive; where you can see celebrities walking in the mall (if you’re at the right mall); and that has at least two professional baseball teams, a hockey team, and two football teams too. 

It is also the only place that has one instantly recognizable name for over 200 square miles – the Bay Area.

I believe California has always possessed a very strong self-identity, all the way back to when it was its own country, if only for 22 days.  Its natives are arrogant, even pompous, with their imagined superiority over other states, acting like the big brother to 49 little siblings.

I do agree that California IS special.  Sometimes “special bus” special.

Name a community elsewhere that passed a law to make chewing gum illegal (Carmel where Clint Eastwood was mayor).  Who else has outlawed styrofoam as the enemy of man (San Francisco)? From compostable to-go cups to cutlery made of corn, you’ve gotta admire the West’s ability to make it up as they go.

But this is exactly why I live here.  And love it.  Although I don’t love every aspect of this crazy state, I do love California’s ability to immerse and engage you in its crazy liberal open arms.

On the way home from a day in San Francisco, near the 4th street on-ramp to the Bay Bridge, I believe, you may pass by a St. Vincent de Paul shelter.  On the side of the shelter is a mural with famous lines from “The New Colossus“, a poem welcoming immigrants to New York City through the Statue of Liberty.  The mural says “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses  yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.  Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

That’s what we are, in California.  Transients and migrants on a golden shore.  The peninsula of misfit toys.  Travelers who have found a place and made a home; a place where almost anything goes, and practically everybody is welcome.

I don’t know what’s come over me, since I wrote about California’s betrayal not long ago.  Must be the happy pills.

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