Patriot is to America as (BLANK) is to California

by juli boggs

When you’re living on the road predominately with southerners, you get a lot of shit about being from California. “And you like it?” people ask me incredulously when they find out. For the most part this  revelation results in gentle teasing about being spoiled, sun-tanned, rich, urban, and shallow (guilty!) but some people are so excited with disapporoval they can’t wait to tell you exactly what they think. As one man felt compelled to inform me, he had never been to California and had no desire to. In fact, the closest he had ever been was Las Vegas when his wife took him along for a Mary Kay convention. “Our pastor says that state is the land of fruits and nuts and they can keep ‘em,” he says.  “No sir, don’t want it. Not LA and certainly not San Francisco.” He says San Francisco with a particularly disagreeable emphasis that makes me think we’ll all be better off so long as he stays in Alabama. Luckily we didn’t have to work together very long.

While many people can’t imagine anything beyond what California represents (even if it doesn’t begin to encompass what California is) I couldn’t be happier anywhere else. Do the schools suck? Yes. Is the state broke? Completely. Is the smog stifling and traffic choking? Absolutely. But I’ll be goddamned if I don’t love all the plastic-y frou frou fantasy and egomaniacal queers that come with it.

“California has the public image, the land of milk and honey. It has one of those images that’s completely and utterly removed from what it really is. Like all great fantasies.” – Tom Waits

See? Tom knows. Can’t wait to pay $5 a gallon for gas on my beach camping roadtrip and I’m serious. Except for the paying $5 a gallon part.

Reasons I’m cuckoo for cocopuffs, wherein cocopuffs is an unclear substitute for “California”:

  1. We’ve got Mexico- the land of beaches, avocados, and cheap drugs (just 3 of my 4 favorite things).
  2. We’re the top agricultural state in the US, and the only state commercially producing almonds, artichokes, dates, kiwifruit, figs, olives, persimmons, pomegranates, raisins, pistachios, sweet rice, and walnuts. These taste best when fed to you by half naked sun-tanned individuals as you recline in a chase lounge.
  3.  Speaking of agriculture: winos.
  4.  Such a variety of beaches, mountains, deserts and forest to choose from you get dehydrated just thinking about it.
  5.  We constitute the 8th largest economy in the world, even though you still can’t find so much as a minimum wage job anywhere in the state. But what’s unemployment but ample leisure time?
  6.  At more than 37 million, we are the most populous sub-national entity in the Western hemisphere (except for Sao Paulo,Brazil) which makes for a large dating pool, especially if you speak Spanish.
  7. Speaking of pools, nice climate.

And what do you have, Minnesota? Ten thousand lakes of ice? Try again.

Feature image pulled from photoSIG. Gasolina image by Jeffrey Hardy.