|Image from HomeAway.com|
dated May 2007
YOU KNOW YOU'RE FROM SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA WHEN...
1. Your monthly house payments exceed your annual income (and you think it’s normal). This can be true. In all of the US, California is known to have one of the highest real estate rates. For instance, you can not buy a 3-bedroom house for less than $400K here but go move to Georgia, and you can buy a beautiful Victorian, two-storey, 5-bedroom for about that much. The median home/condo rate in LA in 2005 is placed at $513,800 and in all of CA at $447,700. Go to another state and it drops significantly.
2. You drive next to a Rolls Royce and don't notice. Sa totoo lang, when I first got here, I noted the variety of cars. I would usually rubberneck when I see how numerous the BMWs, Benzes, Jaguars, limousines (stretch and super streeeetch, private and for hire), Bentleys, Hummers, Carreras, Porsches, Corvettes, Cadillacs, various models of MBs etc. were, apart from the higher end models of Japanese cars such as Lexus, Infiniti, etc. etc.. There they were on most roads and freeways coasting right beside my then truly old 82 Toyota Celica (at least, sportscar pa rin! LOL). Not to mention the penchant of most Californians for convertibles and sunroofs at a more modest level. Love of the sun, daw (but that's another story...). After a while, I did get immune. Siyempre there are moments when I still stare, but not as much as I used to. Oh heck, just to have a car here is good enough as the area is so vast, public commuting can hamper mobility.
3. You don't know anyone's phone number unless you check your cellphone. Isn't this true everywhere these days?
4. You speak Spanish, but you're not Mexican. Hmmm...this can be true for all southern border states to Mexico (i.e., Arizona, New Mexico and Texas)...but we're really talking about California here, aren't we?
5. You begin to 'lie' to your friends about how close you are when you know darn well that it'll take you at least an hour to get there (see below). What's that song? "LA is a great big freeway..." for good reason.
6. Getting anywhere from point A to point B, no matter what the distance, takes about 'twenty minutes'. Again, we're talking freeways here on a good day AND perhaps away from the dozens of business centers. 7. You drive to your neighborhood block party. Yeah, you have to drive, that's the way it is. Suburbs are just spacious in contrast with downtown LA and the crowded city of New York where most people live in flats/apartments.
8. In the 'winter', you can go to the beach and ski at Big Bear on the same day or mow your lawn in your shorts on New Years Day, and maybe sunburn. What's great about So Cal is it has both the beaches and snow if you drive up the mountains (Big Bear, Mt. Wilson up Pasadena, and a handful others more). Mostly it is warm, except during Fall and Winter, of course, but still comfortably warmer than any other US state and generally, the absence of snow.
9. You eat a different ethnic food for every meal. The irony is, despite the variety available (Mexican, fusion Chinese, Japanese (tons of sushi places), Greek, Filipino, Armenian, Italian, Vietnamese, Thai, Indian, some Indonesian, Korean, American...I still get to the point where I don't know what to eat anymore, it's insane. Obviously, these are the predominant Ethnic groups here except American, d-uh.
10. If your destination is more than 5 minutes away on foot, you're definitely driving. True, true, especially at the height of summer and unless you are exercising. A lot of people find this really odd but I suppose you have to live here to understand why. My own uncle from Seattle, WA, found it crazy that I should get a car instead of continuing to use public transporation (the bus, that is). He thinks I just wanted to be "in", the poor thing. :-)
11. Calling your neighbors requires knowing their area code. Yes, really. I learned to memorize 10-digit phone nos., and of course the prefix 1- if the no. does not have the same area code as mine.
12. You know what 'In-'N-Out' is and feel bad for all the other states because they don't have any. It's a drive through burger place native to So Cal. I'm singing the jingle in my head right now.."In-N-Out...In-N-Out...that's what a hamburger's...all about!" My payment, please.
13. Stop signs stand for: Slow To Observe Police. Of course, this is not the traffic light STOP but the 4-corner, 2-corner Stop signs that require you to really stop for 2 secs and not just slow down, whether there's people or none. Just like in Subic. All those who took the CA Dept of Motor Vehicles (DMV or LTO sa Pinas) driver's license test should know. I took the actual driving test twice! and I've already been driving in the Philippines for a long time...but that's another edition :-D
14. You go to a tanning salon before going to the beach. Odd. There's the beach but people still want the glow from the salon. I tried this myself using the UV-free magic tan. See, I can't stay in the beaches here to sun myself; either too crowded, nice ones too far and exclusive, or water really is colder compared to Philippine beaches which are the best in the world, I daresay.
16. Your cell phone has left a permanent impression on the side of your head. Thank technology for Bluetooth ;-)
17. You think that Venice is a beach. For the less traveled, maybe, since it is a beach slightly south of LA (after Santa Monica) where Muscle Beach is. You know those movies where hunks are working out on the beach? Yes, that one...that's where it is.
18. The waitress asks if you'd like 'carbs' in your meal. Or a low fat, diet option to your sushi even. Enough said.
19. You know who the tinsel underwear dude in Venice Beach is.Muscle Beach again...but not me. Who is he???
20. You classify new people you meet by their Area Code. An '818' would never date a '562' and anyone from '323' or '213' is ghetto/second class. Best area code: '949/714.' (Orange County or OC). The area codes obviously denote how far away the person is from you and therefore, estimates the likelihood of you having a long distance relationship and in some cases, indicates the social status factor. Hence, an OC resident may not want to date a VC (Ventura County) resident. 323 and 213 are for the city of LA. and OC is of course, the rich.
21. You call 911 and they put you on hold. This is NEVER true. I’ve had a need to call 911 (I witnessed a car accident). The operators are always fast. There are cases when you dial 911 by mistake if you’re using a PBX as you dial 9 first for an outside line, then the 1, before the area code. Punching digits too fast hits 911. And if you get nervous and don't wait for the operator to admit your honest mistake, they always call you back. Worse, if you don't answer, they send cops over to check on you. So, it's wise to just wait for the operator and explain your mistake. Remember, each call means you are tying them up from those who really need their response.
22. You have a gym membership because it's mandatory. Another exaggeration. Not mandatory but yes, common as part of the prevalent view towards a “healthy and fit” lifestyle.
The gym is packed at 3 pm ...on a workday. Hmmm...not really packed but yes, busy and usually never empty. Why do you suppose there's a 24-hour fitness club?
23. You think you are better than the people who live 'Over the Hill'. It does not matter which side of the hill you are currently residing, you are just better than they are, for whatever reason.'Over the Hill', I recently found out, means over the mountains up north. Not sure about this but I suppose it has something to do with living on the hills as tantamount to being upper class. Well, I live in the Valley so what does that make me? Grrrr...
24. You know that if you drive two miles in any direction you will find a McDonald's, Subway or a Starbucks….OR donut shops galore. In the city of LA, add Yoshinoya, El Pollo Loco, Pizza Hut, KFC, Taco Bell! Go two miles for a Starbucks? Perhaps. Personally, I prefer Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, native to California. Again...endorser's fee, pls.
25. You know what 'SigAlert', 'PCH', and the 'Five' mean. Visit www.sigalert.com and you will see it gives you real time traffic updates on the "1s" and "5" or freeways. Freeways usually end in 1 or 5 and then there's the 10, 67, etc. I used this sigalert service often when I worked 30 miles away and needed to drive a super busy 101 daily. I wish we had the EDSA, Roxas Blvd, Buendia, Pasong Tamo, Makati Ave alerts as well. But then, heavy traffic was a given in Manila when I was there so why bother? Oh, PCH is the Pacific Coast Highway. Excerpt from wikipedia: "In Southern California, the California Legislature has designated the segment between Interstate 5 in Dana Point and U.S. Route 101 near Oxnard Pacific Coast Highway (Commonly referred to asPCH for short)."
27. It's barely sprinkling rain and there's a report on every news station: 'STORM WATCH'. Enough said. I dread driving surface streets and freeways even when it just drizzles. The drivers are just BAD. It is commonly said: "Californians do not know how to drive in the rain" since (Sonny and Cher duet) "It never rains in California..." right? Samantalang sa Pilipinas, I drive in two feet high flood, at stick shift (manual) pa ang kotse, say mo! Viva, Pinoy drivers!
28. The Terminator is your governor. :-D I feel so secure!
29. You actually get these jokes and pass them on to other friends from California! More than that, I posted it on my webpage. Hala.
Special thanks to my HS friend, Pinky, who forwarded this to me and unknowingly provided me with the material I needed.
P.S. Someone commented to me: "You've discovered blogging". Well, no and not yet. First, I've known of blogging for quite some time now. This is obviously not it. I have yet to decide whether I'd like to blog these thoughts or just plaster them in this webpage then this act will organically stitch my pages together. In other words, this page will have content...quite difficult. We will see.
At the moment, I am working on a corporate blogging page for my work and all my energies are focused on that at the moment. My CEO just LOVES to write, I tell you.