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The differences Comments Off on The differences

Posted on November 16, 2003 by Marna

The end of this week marks my four month anniversary in California. Friends back East continue to ask me about the differences of living out here. I’ve made some casual observances in previous blogs, but here are my overall impressions:

Personal Grooming – I realized a few months ago that the only time I have close-toed shoes on is when I have an interview or when I’m exercising. Other than that, I have to constantly maintain my feet — weekly pedicures to loofah off knarly skin followed by the application of fire engine red toenail polish. In New York, this was a concern maybe three months out of the year. In California, it will be year-round maintenance.

Natural Beauty Part 1 – Someone told me when I got here to wait until the fall. Wow. There seems to be less smog. After the fires, I walked outside, looked east up Venice Boulevard and actually saw the San Gabriel mountains for the first time. On my way to work, I get dual shots of the ocean and the Santa Monica mountains. I really do enjoy being so close to both the beach and mountains. And this is LA!!! Imagine how much better things are once you leave the area. California is a spectacular state.

Natural Beauty Part 2 – There are gorgeous people everywhere. These are not Hollywood types who have to look the part. Normal, everyday people just look good. Perhaps I grew up around too much inbreeding and I thought ugly was the norm. It isn’t in California.

Traffic – Don’t blame it on the urban planners, just stop breeding future drivers. Honestly, the traffic here is no different than DC. I’m enjoying driving and listening to the radio for the first time in years. However, ask me in a year and maybe I’ll be complaining about the traffic. My solution has always been to live near where I work.

Bathrooms – Almost every bathroom I’ve been in has those pop-the-center-hole-out tissue toilet seat covers. This might seem an odd observation, but I realized it was the norm last weekend when I was in my beloved Target. Two women were bitching about how the bathroom had run out of tissue covers. I had to chuckle and then decided to chime in with, “well, where I come from, covers are a luxury. Remember when we used to use strips of TP if we had to sit on the toilet? Why don’t you try that?”

Are you 420-friendly? – There are many different theories as to the origin of 420, but the consensus is that two stoners in a California high school referred to their after school smokes as “420” because that was the time they would meet. So, leave it to Californians to develop and continue to use a veiled Cheech and Chong reference to determine if someone smokes pot. I prefer the New York direct approach: “Do you smoke pot?” I don’t have to go to to figure out the meaning of that question.

99 Cent Only Stores – This is a dollar store like nothing I’ve seen on the east coast. They have food!!! There is schlocky shit there too, but overall it is quite a find, especially if you are getting stuff for an apartment. The other night six ounce cans of tuna were two for 99. I stop in frequently to get seasonal stuff (three foot plastic candy canes, santa hats, stockings…). However, my all time frequent purchase is the eight inch glass Jesus candles. Ninety-nine cents for me to light a match on Sagrado Corazno de Jesus (Hey-Zeus) and recite: “I implore you by the ardent flames of love that burn in your heart that you would hear my prayer.” Of course, my prayer is I get a fulltime permanent job with benefits at a company full of happy people.

That’s my first four months of life in California. I realize I’m in my infancy. The awkward teen years are around the corner.

Stay tuned.

  • About Marna

    Marna’s writing career started as a Pentagon intern. Early exposure to $500 toilet seat press releases made her appreciate creative nonfiction. Now she has more than 25 years of senior-level marketing and communications success working with Fortune 100 companies, government, nonprofits, small businesses, startups, and agencies.

    Stats: 377 Posts, 132 Comments

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