Look at this, please. This is unreal.
It’s a picture I took over Thanksgiving break visiting my dad in Laguna Hills, California. He’s been there for almost five years now, but looking at things like THAT in real life still hasn’t lost its magic for this Tennessee native. Every time I go out there, I learn something new about the area. And this last time I realized just how much I thought I knew about the west coast lifestyle, when really I didn’t (still don’t) have much of a clue. Shocker.
What are some of those incorrect assumptions I originally made, you might ask?
1. All California guys have bleached hair long enough to confuse the average citizen as to which side of the head is the front and which is the back. I will thank Hollywood for that one. Not true. While there are a few who live to embody the stereotype, west coast men generally know how to keep the scraggly at bay. And I am forever thankful for that.
2. It’s hot year round. Talk about a letdown. I’m not sure what convinced me that the sun never quits shining on the face of California and that temps never drop below 70, but let me tell you something. The day I stepped off the plane in LAX in December wearing shorts and a t-shirt is one that still haunts me. It was cold. Happens over there, too. Also, there’s this thing called “June gloom,” where the sun doesn’t even burn through the fog until mid-afternoon during the month of June. Atrocity, I know.
3. Sweet tea doesn’t exist over there. It does, but you have to hunt for it. It has its own section in the grocery store. And if you ask for it at a restaurant, you can forget about the waiter taking you seriously for the rest of the night.
4. People only drive porsche convertibles. Also not true, but I can guarantee you didn’t see this coming. You know those colorful vans people drove around in the 70s? And Scooby Doo and the Gang drove around in every episode? Yep.
5. Surely everyone knows what “fixin’ to” means. Not even close. The funniest stories I’ve accumulated over the years almost always have to do with a “southern saying” I use. People cannot interpret. I’ve decided it’s time to carry around flashcards with the definitions written on them. And in the meantime, I will continue repeating my restaurant order… Because I’ve heard “it’s so cute but I don’t know what you just said” more times than I’m willing to admit in this semi-public domain.
There’s plenty more, but those have been the most fun to handle. I may have ventured over as a naive southerner with completely unrealistic expectations, but one thing is for sure. I love my home away from home more than most things. And my perspective has obviously adapted over time. These days, I turn down the “y’all” just a little bit and embrace the unsweet passion iced teas. But the palm trees, surfboards, sailboats and beaches? That scene will never get old.