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The weird and wonderful behavior of California people

I haven't lived in California since the '80s, but I visit often, and the there people really haven't changed.

My California is Los Angeles, by the way, so maybe what I've seen doesn't apply to the rest of California. California is a very big state, but whenever I see a California license plate here in Arizona, I always jump to the conclusion that they're from Los Angeles. And I'm OK with the weird behavior of Californians, which always follows a definite pattern.

Here are some typical California behaviors that I've come to recognize:

• They're rich. People in California scoff at any house that's under a quarter of a million as "a run-down shack". What they pay for everything just seems like another world, and they take it for granted. My California friends are rich, but most of them hate "rich people", which are the people who are richer than they are, you know, the ones who live up higher on the hill than they do.

• They eat weird stuff. Every Californian I've ever known loves to talk about some mysterious food that I've never heard about. It always seems to be only available at specific places that only certain people know about, and if you eat that food, it will have miraculous qualities. Of course, it costs a lot, and even something as simple as almonds will have most California people jumping up and down, and looking at you with a glittering eye as they explain. And don't get them started on the subject of coffee! "There's this one place, see, where you can get, like, the very best coffee beans, grown organically and free range, and then you grind them with this special machine... etc. etc."

• They don't mind crowding. There may be places in California that aren't crowded with people, but I've never seen them. Even when they "get away" somewhere, the freeways are crowded. I like hanging out with California people for this reason, as they don't immediately panic if there are a couple of cars in the parking lot of the restaurant they're going to, or if they have to wait for a few minutes to get a table. Here in Arizona, most of the people I know go into a panic if there isn't a parking spot right up front of a restaurant - my Arizona friends say "Wow, there's no parking!" - even when I can see a couple dozen open spots. When people in California say "there's no parking", there's no parking, and you can't stop there.

• They go outside. I love sitting outside, especially at restaurants, but my Arizona friends just think I'm crazy. Even when the weather is absolutely gorgeous in Phoenix in the fall and winter, most Arizonans will sit inside. If I want to sit outside, I apologize, and I'm sure that many of them just know that I still have some weird California behavior left over, and they humor me.

I love living in Arizona, and I love visiting California. I feel very comfortable in both places, and I love both places. I moved to Arizona when I decided that I would never be able to afford a house, and I've tried to keep myself as Californian as I can - I've even landscaped my house to make it look more like California than Arizona.

Oh, and by the way, the one thing that you can always get in California and Arizona is great Mexican food! I just love living in the Sunset States!

Image at the top of this post: Calabasas, California. It's not really LA, but it's my California.

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