I’m in California, long known as the Fruit n’ Nut Belt. Only I’m in the Yuppie end of things—without naming names, a town where Morgan Stanley looms over the Pilates Center next to Gucci, and the average per capita is probably more than most third world countries make in a quarter. I’m here on a writing retreat, and I start things off by “orienting”—taking off for a walk around town with my backpack to figure out where everything is, then buy some supplies, aka food.

Here are some of the things I like about California:

Sea lions getting sun and posing for cameras

Things I don’t like about California:

Crowds, and please note the smog.

I went to the beach and experienced the above. Then I went to the market, and discovered awesome things we don’t get for less than the price of a firstborn in Hawaii:


Three dollars for a bunch. I'm robbing these people, no shit.

Well, you say, aren’t pineapples and bananas (which I have in back yard) as good as raspberries and sunflowers by the dozen?

No. It’s all about the human craving for variety. We’re wired to lust after new and different things, particularly in our diets as said new things probably contain selenium or rhodium or some such needed micro-bit for biological functioning. Not to mention tropical is just boring to me by now.

Then, in California there are the cars. Average ride in this town is this:

You can't spit without hitting one of these. No rust either!

While the average car in Hawaii looks like this:

your classic island cruiser, no driveway is complete without a couple

Then, there is the plastic surgery. I passed, on foot with my backpack, nothing less than three “clinics” offering every known beautification process and I’m proud to say, I resisted looking like this:

Yeah with my luck, that's just what would happen.

Instead opting to keep my “natural beauty” since it’s cheaper. And I’m here to write, not beautify.

Then there are the houses, most of which look like this:

Passed this one a couple times.

When most of the houses in Hawaii look like this:

I like the TV satellite by front door. We're classy like that.

Which is all to say, I’m loving my time in California, but Hawaii no ka oi! Rubber slippers beat high heels any day.

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