California Dreamin’

The Mammas and The Pappas

Been here a few months, and I haven’t even sued anyone.  Everyone in California sues everyone else.  Why not?  I think I should.  Sooner or later, everyone does.  Maybe I’ll sue the guy who flipped me off.  I was only going eighty-five.  How was I to know that the fast lane is only for Elon Muskers?  How much coal does it take to run all those Tesla’s anyway?  If these California green weenies really wanted to save the planet, they would all drive a Ford F 250 like me.  In California, you can’t buy regular diesel.  Those little green tree huggers only want you to fill up your sixty-gallon tank with their very own bio blend made in Dubuque, Iowa.  Did you know that the biodiesel I use is food grade and is most likely also used by KFC to deep fry your chicken?  Maybe I’ll try it on my pancakes?  Sure, my truck gets all of three miles per gallon, only goes forty-five downhill, and emits a cloud of smoke which rivals Hagrid at Hogwarts after a bad meal.

Maybe I should sue the guy who was hogging both lanes at the McDonalds’ drive-through.  He looked all of twenty-five, smoked one of those little girl cigars, and had on a big white cowboy hat.  So how did all that, plus his Barbie doll girlfriend, slide into that little Lotus?  I mean, seriously.  I was in the San Fernando Valley, going through the McDonalds’ drive-through, and the guy in front of me was driving a Lotus.  You know the Lotus, don’t you?  Well, if you don’t, you’re no Mario Andretti.  To date, Mario Andretti is the only race car driver to have won the Indianapolis 500, the Daytona 500, and the Formula 1 World Championship.  He also won in the NASCAR series, but that would make him far too common.  Which he’s not.  In the world of car racing, Mario Andretti is a legend.  In the world of racing cars, the Lotus is a legend.  Maybe I should biggie size my lawsuit?  Driving a bright red Lotus in the McDonalds’ drive-through.  What was the guy thinking?  Maybe he should pick up some sushi at the next gas station?

California gets a bad rap.  Everyone who lives in one of the forty-nine lesser colonies hates California.  Why not?  Where else could you surf in the morning and snow ski in the afternoon?  Did you know that there are nine National Parks in California?  More than any other state.  Alaska has but eight.  Utah, which I love, has five, and Colorado has four.  Maybe there’s something in the water in California?  Come to think of it, there is!  Oh, it’s just gold.  Take that, lesser forty-nine.  No wonder everyone hates California.  It’s the land of plenty.  Plenty of fruits and nuts, that is.  And vegetables too.

California is the most populous state in the union and, if it were its own country, would be the world’s fifth-largest economy.  One-seventh of all the U.S. GDP comes from California.  The Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach is the largest in the country and handles a quarter of all the container ships arriving at our shores.  Did you know that 90% of the wine produced in this country comes from California?  How about all the almonds, strawberries, and avocados?  Did you know that Arkansas is the only state to produce more rice?  Are you beginning to appreciate the greatness of California yet?  Next time you sit down for a meal, unless you’re eating field corn or soybeans, thank California for your bountiful harvest.

Things are higher and deeper in California.  At 14,505 ft above sea level, Mount Whitney is higher than any other mountain in the contiguous U.S.  Yes, yes, I know Colorado has all those fourteen thousand-footers.  I love Colorado too. I love it second best.  How about lows?  In the shadow of Mt. Whitney is Badwater Basin in Death Valley.  At 282 feet below sea level, it is the lowest elevation in North America.  Things are larger and higher too.  The Sequoia trees are larger than any other tree in the world, and the Giant Redwoods along the coast are the tallest.

California is a land of many tribes.  Here in Ventura County, where we live, south of Santa Barbara and north of Los Angeles, a sea of farmworkers tends the vegetables and fruit.  While corn, rice and soybeans are mechanically harvested, food is picked mainly by hand.  Watching a few dozen workers pick cabbage or strawberries all day makes you realize how privileged most of us are.  These are not illegal immigrants.  While few, if any, are citizens, all have a green card.  More importantly, all are willing to do the back-breaking work most of us have forgotten how to do.

So here we sit in sunny California.  We never intended to live here-high taxes, more than their share of social problems and of course, way too many people.  But we had high taxes in Maryland too.  Other states have their share of social issues as well.  Somehow the homeless problem in California, Oregon and Washington seems solvable.  Maybe solvable, given the will.  There is enough money.  In comparison, the abject poverty in Oxford, Mississippi, Selma, Alabama, and Fairbanks, Alaska, seems intractable.  For many, the social problems keep many good people from coming to California.  Sadly, too many more didn’t get the memo. California has a lot of people.  The highways are crowded, and the cities packed.  The home prices are through the roof, and the price of a gallon of gas is at least $1.50 more than most other states.

When I get around to suing someone, just like everyone else, it will most likely be in the morning.  But they’ll have to wait until after my coffee.  The mornings are calm as the sun begins to warm the air.  I sit on the back patio, watching the birds fight for the food I give them.  Upon reflection, hummingbirds are nasty little things.  Very territorial.  Yep, I’m going to sue.  But not until after my coffee.  Maybe I’ll wait until the afternoon.  With a high of 73 today, it will be exactly one degree higher than yesterday.  There’s a slight breeze off the nearby mountain, so I’d better take a short nap.  Got to rest up before the evening California harvest.

I guess I can wait and sue someone tomorrow.

Stay in school and don’t do drugs.