I miss you California

I was recently asked what I liked most about living in DC and I couldn’t give an answer.  Not because my mind was bursting with joy, but because I am so desperately homesick I almost can’t stand it.  Don’t get me wrong, DC, Northern Virginia, and Southern Maryland (those in the know call it the DMV) are lovely, but they’re no Southern California.

In an attempt to figure out how to deal with this homesickness that is clawing at my heartstrings, I’m going to lay it out for you.  This is not a pity party but a comparison that shows why I should need a passport to even be here.

  1. Cali has In-n-Out, DMV has Five Guys.  No offense to giant steak fries that are fried in peanut oil, then topped off in the bag to supply my gluttonous tendencies for a month, but I would rather say “Animal Style with Extra Crispy Fries” any day of the week.
  2. Cali has Albertson’s, DMV has Giant.  This one’s kind of a wash, but Giant is laid out differently and it still takes me twice as long to find the random crap that I eat.  Albertson’s wins for familiarity.
  3. Cali has the longest parking lot in the world called the 5, DMV has the biggest circular parking lot in the world called the Beltway.  We’ve all heard the stories that LA drivers are crazy MFer’s, but frankly I’ll take them over DMV drivers.  In Cali the Semi’s are relegated safety to the two right hand lanes with a speed limit of 55, the rest of us go 65 or more in the left lanes.  In DMV, the Semi’s tailgate all the way in the left hand lane so there’s no escaping them.  Then there’s the DMV drivers themselves: DC plates – crazy but know how to handle a car, Virginia plates – safe for the most part and know what they’re doing, Maryland plates – steer clear lest you have a death wish, tourists – also steer clear, they have no clue what’s going on.
  4. Cali has stoplights, DMV has circles (roundabouts).  I hate traffic circles.  They are stupid, and when you have 5 streets coming into one of them its mayhem.  How hard would it have been to build a grid system?  I mean, really?  Not to mention that cabbies will tackle you in them and tourists make terrible choices that nearly cost you your life every time you enter one.
  5. Cali has the beach, DMV has, well, they have a pier and the tidal basin.  I miss putting my toes in the ocean and feeling the frigid waves of the Pacific rush up against them.  I miss having to clean the sand out of my car and smelling the sea salt and seaweed on the shore.  The tidal basin is pretty, but it’s developed and always covered in traffic.  Besides, it looks the best only 2-3 weeks out of the year when the Cherry Trees bloom, the beach in Cali looks amazing for months on end.
  6. I used to think I wanted to live someplace that was green – no just eco-friendly, but carpets of green grass and buildings of trees.  But now I know I don’t, the pleasure of green was a novelty for me not a constant wish.  I miss the golden foothills of the central valley, the cloying of dust as it settles in the back of my throat, the feel of the sun beating down upon me, and the smell of sagebrush.  Oh, how I miss the smell of sagebrush.  There are no birch trees, eucalyptus trees, palm trees, jasperella trees, or even ginko trees out here.  It’s all pine and oak, aspen and cedar, the hearty woods that can survive the cold.
  7. The cold, that’s a whole other story.  I am not built for cold.  Period.  Not a fan of snow, at all.  Not a fan of the biting wind at 10 degrees.  A perfect day for me is 85, 40% humidity, and full sun.  From October to May its cold.  In Cali, there is no real cold, just chill that I don’t need a new wardrobe for.
  8. In Cali I know I can park my car wherever I need to go, in DC it’s futile to even try.  The Metro is gross, overcrowded, and just plain ick inducing.  I still haven’t figured out the bus system.
  9. In Cali we have Disneyland, in DMV we have the National Mall.  This one too is a wash, as they are two very different tourist traps.  One for fun, one for personal history grounding.  Both I find to be absolutely relevant to myself.
  10. In Cali people are nice, in DMV they couldn’t care less.  No one smiles in DMV, they keep to themselves and look smugly at anyone who is talking to another living being.  It’s like they all hate each other.  In Cali, people are friendly, you can talk to just about anyone, and I did.  Not here though, striking up small talk with random people gets me silence, a dirty look, and a quick exit.  What happened to love thy neighbor?

Don’t even get me started on the food.

Thoughts? Ideas?

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