As a Texan, my take on California is based, in part, on movies, music and murders—Dirty Harry, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, The Beach Boys, the Manson family and O.J. Simpson.
It’s a perception of palm trees, glitz, glamour, surf spray, blood red sandy sunsets, optimism, money and movie stars. All of which is funny because the little Sierra Nevada town to which I came and settled has none of these elements.
All kinds of crazy
What it does have are chilly lakes, river and creeks, colossal ponderosa pines, boulder-strewn mountains, a rustic Old West main street, cabins, cottages, trailer homes, covert marijuana operations, county fairs and farmers’ markets, meth mouths and a ubiquitous hippy vibe.
Its denizens are a curious mixture of gun-toters, hunters and fishers, mellowed radicals, old-guardians and libertarians, cowboys and wine connoisseurs, big-city expatriates and small-town burn-outs. One can find equal numbers of 2nd Amendment activists and gun control enthusiasts, good ‘ol boy beer guzzlers and potheads. It’s a place where everyone can fit in—as long as they fit in within their own groups.
And along comes the Texan, who talks like a Midwesterner and thinks like a Texan and laughs at the funny stuff going on all around him as he encounters big-government, big-idea California head-on and realizes he’s all the way in when he gets his driver’s license and marries a mountain girl. This new California life means higher taxes, better weather, more expensive gas, more personal freedom and less social responsibility.
My Cali now
This California is now my California. But I can still look at it my way: through the eyes and prejudices of a Texan. Big, bold, beautiful, bloated and kinda nutty—in good and bad ways. Cali Crazy is my take on California; and I’m sticking with it. Yeehaw, baby—let’s ride.
For more Cali Crazy Texan takes on the Golden State, here’s part one: Cali Crazy: A Texan’s take on the Golden State—part 1—Suspicious minds