A Postcard From California

So apparently there are people on a Reddit board who claim that Texas has it all over California and people living in California are moving to Texas in droves. This is making big news across the rest of the United States.

To which those of us who live in California say: Yeah, what else is new?

When they leave they would just be joining a long standing tradition of California.

The thing is, real Californians aren’t leaving the state. It’s the faux Californians that are leaving. In the two hundred year history of our state we have called them by many names: Miner 49ers, Okies, Rocket Jockeys, Tech Bro’s. Many names, many professions, but one golden similarity.

They all came here for a specific purpose and when that purpose was finished, off they went back “home”, wherever that might have been. Fact of the matter is those tech workers packing up their bags and movin’ to the Hills, Austin Hills, of Texas never claimed permanent residency status here in the Golden State. They were allowed in as migrant labor, high paid migrant labor, but migrant labor none the less. In this latest addition of THE GRAPES OF WRATH the field hands, having tended the orchards, punched a hole in the sky, and written the code are now heading back east to show off all the gold they collected.

And just like those who came before them, as the initial smugness of larger homes begins to fade like the tan lines on their skin they will begin to remember how nice it was to live with clear skies and 65 degree weather in the middle of January.

They’ll remember picking lemons and oranges off the trees in their backyards as they eye the collection of withered harvest masquerading as the produce section of the local market.

Sure they can now afford their own apartment sans roommates, but also now they have to heat and cool that apartment all the time, costs that added to the new rent end up as an even proposition in relation to the old.

Amazingly the earthquake kit kept at the ready still must be kept at the ready, only now it’s called a hurricane or tornado or flooding kit.

They’ll revel in lower gas prices but wonder why when they eye the sky, the air isn’t as fair.

You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone the Lady of the Canyon sang. That’s Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles County California for the uninformed.

That’s not to say all new comers to California are so mercenary. Many come to live the California Dream and oh yeah by the way make a living. They plant roots and call the San Fernando Valley my home. My parents came on vacation in the early Sixties and swore they would move the family here. By the late Sixties they had. Yes, that means I am not a native Californian, I’m New York born, but after 50 plus years here about the only thing I can’t claim as birthright is membership in the Native Sons Of The Golden West.

These folks aren’t leaving. With all our problems, and yes we know we have problems, this is our home and we’ll be damned if some interlopers want to bad mouth us after they got theirs and skedaddled like thieves in the night.

Taxes are high? Yes and no. We have a state income tax, but our sales and property taxes are lower than the next two states in population.

Commuting is bad? You’re going to tell me it’s easy to get into midtown Manhattan from any of the suburbs or get into Dallas from anywhere in the Metroplex?

The homeless? Well stop sending us your homeless, take care of your own, and we won’t have as big a problem.

Natural disasters? At least we acknowledge climate change and are doing everything an individual state can to combat it.

One other thing: unlike other states who shall remain nameless, we don’t try to make voting more difficult. We want to make sure every citizen can vote and every vote is counted. That’s the real reason we are a democratic state.

We are a big state both geographically and in population. There are issues that those of us in the north don’t see eye to eye with our friends in the south on. It’s been like that since we became a state. As a San Francisco Giants fan I can make fun of the entitled egotism of Los Angeles Dodger fans (you know who you are) and they in turn can call me a wine sipping elitist but we will band together in a heartbeat when carpetbaggers decry our lifestyle.

California is a state of mind as much as a state of the union.

Like another great fictional Californian I too hate the Eagles, but how can I not end with this. As they say, you can check-out any time you like, but you can never leave.


Shapiro Out

3 thoughts on “A Postcard From California

  1. Been a little over fifty years since I last hitch-hiked out of LA; grandson of the dustbowl diaspora, product of mid-fifties promiscuous pregnancy and sixties serial Southern California divorce, it’s long been my observation you need to’v gotten away from it to really appreciate that song, the closing of that song. Because it’s so, you can check out anytime you like …

    It never leaves …

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