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Invasion of the Californians in January to Arizona, especially Scottsdale

It's January, and I've been watching the invasion of the Californians at this time of year for over a decade now. They're here for the big car shows in Scottsdale.

I used to live in Los Angeles, and I have a lot of friends in California, so I have a great affection for Californians. They're weird, and the best part is that most of them have no idea how wonderfully weird they are.

If you've never lived in California, you may be puzzled by their behavior when they descend on the Phoenix area in January. They're only here for a few weeks, so you have to enjoy the weirdness while it lasts. Here are some of the things that they do:

• On motorcycles, they split lanes. Yes, it's perfectly legal in California for a motorcycle to pass between cars, between lanes. It's wildly dangerous, and yes, a lot of people get killed doing that. There's really no need to do it in Phoenix, as traffic is rarely as dense as in Los Angeles, but I remember seeing motorcycles splitting the lanes, and moving along quite nicely, way back in the eighties, when the freeways looked more like parking lots than anything else.

• They have a completely different point of view of money. When my California friends visit me, they are happy to pay just about any price for anything in Phoenix, and consider it a bargain. Everything is a bargain in Arizona, including five million-dollar cars. They will often say stuff like, "in LA that would be, like, twenty million". When they take me out to lunch, they're delighted that they their money buys so much. When I tell them what they could buy in the housing market, they just don't believe it.

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• They're thrilled with convenient parking. I've often found that the topic of conversation with my California friends when we go to a restaurant revolves around the fact that they can see their car from there. Phoenix has gigantic parking lots, and lots of free parking, and it's an absolute fantasy to my California friends.

• They don't mind waiting. I've gone to restaurants with my Arizona friends who angrily stomp out of restaurants if there's any kind of a wait, even a few minutes. California people are used to that, they hang around, and talk. I like talking with my California friends.

• They don't complain about traffic. When I lived in Los Angeles, I carried a book in my car whenever I drove on the freeway. When traffic stopped, I put my car in park and read for a while. When traffic started moving, I would put my car in drive, and go. I've never had the opportunity to do that in Phoenix, no matter how much of a "traffic jam" there is. I read most of "the Once and Future King" that way, on LA freeways in the eighties.

I get a big kick out of the invasion of the Californians every January.

Image at the top of this post: at the Barrett-Jackson Classic Car auction a few years back. Yes, that's a California vehicle, it even has the vintage black license plate. Ya gotta love the Californians!

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