California dreaming on a winter’s day won’t do anyone any good, especially not this year.
As devastating as the recent slew of storms and unconventionally bad weather has been, they regrettably are not the only things we have to complain about, living in this stereotyped region swooned over by the rest of the country.
Southern California, in the minds of those who do not know, is a glitzy, ditzy Garden of Eden, where everyone is rich, the temperature never dips below 80 degrees, and the living is easy. But we natives know that as we look on in defeat, upon this smog-filled, mudslid, bankrupt homeland, the perfect image immortalized on campy shows like “The O.C.” is merely a figment of the imagination.
I’m sure there are some positives my cynical mind just can’t process, but here is a list of gripes that has this sunburn-kissed Miss ready to say “California, (or at least L.A.), here I go.”
#1: One disaster after another. If it isn’t the rain, it’s the heat, and if it isn’t a wildfire or drought, it’s a mudslide or flood. And let’s not forget the earthquakes. The truth is, our stucco-ed, thin-walled homes are so cheaply built and poorly situated in hazard areas, it’s no wonder that three storms later, we’re battling the likes of deadly mudslides and massive flooding.
#2: Lousy weather that wouldn’t be so lousy if there weren’t so many lousy people out in it. Southern Californians “don’t know how to drive.” In the midst of pouring rain, hail, and flooded highways, those of us who chose to slow down were consistently tailgated by others trying to go their conventional 90 mph. And as bad as the sport utility vehicles and trucks were, they weren’t entirely responsible for the countless instances of life or death close calls I encountered. People driving average-sized sedans motored through inches of water as though they thought the snazzy maneuvers depicted in car commercials were really possible to execute. That mere impatience, which continuously leads to so many deaths, is unforgivable.
#3: Costs of living that makes middle-of-nowhere locales like musty Kern County sound worthwhile. The going rate for a two-bedroom apartment in a low-crime, low-gang-activity area with minimally decent schools is about $1,400 a month. Although on television we may all be portrayed as high-rolling lawyers and movie moguls, this place has simply become too high and mighty for those among us who do not hail from the ranks of the big spenders.
#4: Plastic surgery prevalence and a Hollywood-worshiping mentality. For the most part, the people are fake, superficial, apathetic and rude.
#5: Traffic worse than anywhere else in the country. No matter what time of day you drive, the 101, 405 and 5 freeways are always congested to the hilt. Last Thursday, it took me three hours to get somewhere that with no traffic would have taken only 45 minutes. Give me the subways of New York City over this any day.
#6: An under-funded and fast-sinking school system. With a bankrupt state budget and educational resources getting shafted more and more, the California public school system is the last entity I would entrust with my children’s education.
Let the rest of the country maintain its illusions, while I anticipate the day I can say I am no longer a California girl.