Sometimes I find it a little heartbreaking to be so far away from California.
Right now I’m listening to “Surf Rider” and thinking of all the things that make living in California awesome. Specifically, the things that make living in *Northern* coastal California awesome:
* The weather, hands down. I am enjoying the summer here, but it is mostly due to things such as central air conditioning, brick construction, malls, and giant doses of ice-cold water. And also, because I do enjoy DC very much. But please– nothing can EVER beat 65-70 degrees, always.
* The surf culture, and boys (and okay, girls–blah, boys are the better eye-candy for me) on their surfboards and in tight, tight wetsuits. Granted, it does get ridiculed and it does deserve a little ridicule: most people who surf all the time develop this holier-than-thou attitude, as if they were somehow closer to everything important and sacred because they can stand up on a board. But by the same token, it is that sweet and goofily spiritual attitude that has made the state so open-minded, I think. That and, you know, pot.
* Smoke-free restaurants. I hate the fact that people smoke while they eat around here, and that they do it right next to me. Your food should not be complimented by soupçon d’ashtray.
* The ocean is on the correct side: west and left. It’s taken me a really long time to get used to the fact that east around here means toward the ocean.
* The lonesome Grizzly bear on the state flag. It’s kind of a cheez flag, but I miss seeing it.
* Fresh artichokes, strawberries and Brussels sprouts that don’t break the bank. Anytime I look at a Fresh Express salad wrapper or at Bunny Luv carrots, I get a little misty-eyed. Oh, Salinas and Watsonville…. you’re so poetic from far, far away.
* A taqueria everywhere you look. And excellent Mexican food too. We have found a couple of yummy places here, but they are not Mexican really. And somehow that kinda makes a difference.
* Fresh avocados nearly year-round. Mm….. avocados.
* Marianne’s banana ice cream….. mmmmmmMMmmmMM!
* Driving 5 hours in any direction and knowing with perfect certainty that you’re still in California. There is a bit of a testosterone-driven, pissing-contest quality to that I think but I do think it’s good to point it out. While it is pretty cool to be so close to everything here on the East Coast, sometimes you can really feel the crunch and the mild claustrophobia of everything being so packed together. But it’s also great for exploring different things and for pushing pins into the map.
* The magnificent, wide-open spaces found there. Not that there aren’t magnificent, wide-open spaces anywhere else; but they aren’t in California.
* The Pacific Ocean. The coast. The breeze. The smell. The coldness. The beaches. Even the seagulls.
* The morning fog– so thick and pristine and enveloping. Fog is usually best in the mind’s eye because it does have this maddening property when it’s been 47 days and you still can’t see farther than out to the mailbox.
* The smell of coastal redwoods and cypresses.
Hmm…… more later.
I am suddenly craving a burrito really badly. And a barefoot walk in 60-degree water.