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Another State of Mind
by Michele Christopher
So this is the way it is. We all know the drill. Sometimes you have to move and sometimes you really don't want to, but you do it anyways. Those last looks as you look behind and that last thought of why you liked that state in the first place. Why were you there? What made that to be the place to live? I mean "cause you were stuck" isn't really an answer, but what made that state so cool?
So tonights question is simple.
Why do you like your state or country?
turtle hits the beach.
What do I love about California? Pretty easy question so I thought I'd make into a poem. Well, maybe not. The basic part of California that I love is that it is not a state anymore. It never really was in the first place. You can look at it on the map and it may be there. But not really. Being in California stopped being crossing a line in the sand along time ago. California became a state of mind along time before any of us were born. Something that is in all of us yet is buried in some.
It's that "fuck it, let's go" attitude.
When the Pilgrims hit the ocean running on go, that was a “fuck it let’s go" attitude. When immigrants left the East Coast for California, right there, another "fuck it, let's go" attitude.When Mexicans came up and helped build the state. When every culture from everywhere in the world all got sick of everyone's shit, that was when California was born. So basically, we are a state of people not wanting to hear anyone else's shit anymore. We just kinda bailed on all of you, erased the chalkboard and tried again. And if that didn't work, we kept going by building docks out in the water. See, us Californians are hell bent on trying over. We look at a situation and think "well this sucks" and before you know it, another Berkeley shows up with some new idea.
Sure, these ideas don't always work, but that's why we have Mexico as a scratch pad.
Really, California is the only place where you take a thousand cultures, mash them all together and get weird ass food combinations that kick ass. I walk down the street and I have no clue where these people came from. But, it really doesn't matter anymore. All of the different cultures all work here together. For some god knows reason, I can eat Vietnamese, shoot pool, play dominos and buy a gun in the same minute. See that's cool. These are people who came here from all over the world cause they were sick of your shit and wanted to try it again. That's the California attitude. I'm not saying we are perfect, but it's that attitude that we have. The "we can do this better than you" attitude. As I said, sometimes it fails miserably, but at least we tried.
Enough about the people, let's talk about the more reasons. Del taco and free tattoos. See, to me in life, that's all that matters. Well, there is Michele, so three things that weren't mutual exclusive when we started this site, but have become since I decided to move to New York. But, that's another story. The ability to eat 39 cent tacos while getting drilled on. I mean fuck, spending all day at a tattoo shop and coming home with new work while only paying like a five bucks in "Macho Nachos" is kinda cool.
I walk outside and have something going on at anytime of the night. In one hour I can be anywhere I want to be. Cept San Diego. Isn't that funny. The one place I want to end up is the farthest away from me. The weather here is, well, weather like, but it’s still really cool. We don't get tornados but I guess that’s a trade off since the earthquakes nail you monthly.
It's a pretty ruthless place but greed is everywhere. People aren't going to be nice to you unless they want something from you. I know that really well. Unfortunately, that attitude spills out to me sometimes, well, all the time, but that's just the Californian in me talking. Remember, we came from a fuck off state that looks after its own and that's where it ends. If you want in, we will take you, but you better wake the fuck up quick and watch how we do this here cause you don't have much time. It is really sad that we do have a tendency to leave people behind, but as I was saying, we have no where else to go. It's cut and dry. We ran out of space to ditch you. So we are going to protect this place till we go down. This is the ultimate attitude.
Angry pilgrims started this state. Although they never put their foot in the soil, they were always us.
When people stop putting city names on tour shirts, stop saying where they came from before they moved here, and just start saying "We're from California", that's when you know you have passed boundaries and state lines. Things have no meaning anymore except for the fact that they are from California now. They always have been and always will be. They just didn't know it yet.
And you know what?
That's a good feeling.
Gabba gabba we accept you. - T
ed note We understand that one of our writers hates California so we are ready to take punishment by her.
michele moves in:
As it gets ever closer to the day Turtle gets in his car and leaves California in his rear view mirror, I find myself thinking will he like it here? Love it here? I mean, the guy loves California. I’ve never known anyone so loyal to their home state. How is New York going to hold up? What’s so great about it, anyhow?
I’ll tell you.
Just keep in mind, when I say New York, I mean, for the most part, Long Island. Not that little island known as Manhattan. The hell with the rest of the state. Just this long island that I live on and rarely leave. Sure, we’re only a forked tongue sticking out of the mouth of the state. But it’s my home. And it will be Turtle’s by the end of the month.
Sometimes when you move to a new area, you have to get used to certain things. New climate. New fast food places. Funny accents. And sometimes, there’s a whole polar opposite attitude adjustment needed. California attitude = laid back. So what. Who cares. Go with the flow. The lazy smile, the slow movements, the relaxed body language. New York attitude = whatchoo talkin’ 'bout willis? The hard stare. The fast walking. The wound up, knotted muscles. We’re a hard bunch. Yes, even out on the island we have that “lead, follow or get the fuck out of my way” thing going on. I guess it’s inbred, like the way certain ethnic things are, like how Italians talk with their hands. Californians act like they just smoked six tons of Panama Red. New Yorkers are always at the tail end of a five day vodka binge. That’s a big adjustment to make. You either sink or swim here depending on your attitude. If you can find a happy middle ground between obnoxious and apathetic, you will swim.
But this isn’t really about the difference between the states and their people. This is about what we have. What would make someone move here and say, hey this isn’t so bad a place.
Wait. Hold. There’s something else I need to address with the Turtle. Let’s get this out of the way.
There’s no Del Taco here. I know he knows this, but it bears repeating. There are no 39 cent tacos to be had. None. But we have White Castle. 59 cent hamburgers that will leave the same acidic hole in your stomach. Really, when the end product is the same - about fifteen minutes on the toilet bowl -does it matter what product you used to get there?
There is no Rooster Sauce to be had. I know it’s in every restaurant in California, but I’ll be damned if I can’t find a bottle of it here anywhere. You’ll have to settle for some other brand of hot sauce to drown your It’s-Not-Del-Taco Taco Bell in.
There is no Wienerschnitzel. You can get chili dogs at Checker’s, but I know they won’t be the same without that whole Wienerschnitzel atmosphere. But hey, I’ll put on some lederhosen next time we go to Checkers and maybe that will make it all better.
We do have diners. 24 hours greasy spoon places where you can get pancakes any time of day or a hamburger that will make you forget you ever ate at an In N Out.
We do have pizza. Better than the crap you have been eating your whole existence. Real pizza that folds over and drips grease and the cheese slides into your mouth.
Sure, we’ve got blizzards in the winter and humidity in the summer and local traffic so bad that it takes you twenty minutes to make a left turn onto the main road over here. Yea, we have laws against driving while talking on the cell phone and we have too many strip malls and no good radio stations and my hockey team might as well play dead and roll over. We’ve got high taxes and ridiculous housing prices and the trees and grass are slowly disappearing from our landscape as the suburbs become little cities.
I’m supposed to be saying nice things, right?
Well, it’s got me. And I cook a pretty decent dinner, even Mexican food that tastes a hell of a lot better than 39 cent tacos and doesn’t leave you reaching for the toilet paper. And I’m a great partner at Gauntlet as long as I’m Valkyrie and not the elf and I’m naked.
See, there’s things Turtle gets that not everyone moving to New York will experience. Dad’s chili. The thrill of driving with me while I’m in a fit of road rage. Wondering why my son and his friends are throwing rocks at each other. A bunch of teenage girl rehearsing songs from some musical you never heard of. Naked Gauntlet. Me.
It’s the best I can offer. Long Island doesn’t have a whole hell of a lot going for it, when it comes down to it. I like it here, I really do. I can’t really explain why though. It’s all I know. It’s my home. Good enough reason for me.
Maybe not for someone moving across the country to settle down here.
I gotta find some Rooster Sauce. -M
So we have told you about our home state and why we like it, what are your feelings on your home state? Why do you like or dislike it?
Michele and Turtle write Late Night Typing across a few time zones. For now.