The good, and bad of flaky people in California, and Arizona
If you're from a place that's energetic, such as Minnesota, like I am, the slow and often flaky behavior of people in California and Arizona can come as a surprise. I was born and raised in Minneapolis, and respectable people always had the snow shoveled from their sidewalks by 9 am, and the grass was always mowed. In fact, that's part of the reason I left Minnesota, the attitude is more than just energetic, it's kinda crazy!
I moved to Phoenix when I was 19 and immediately fell in love with the more relaxed attitude. The manager of the apartment where I lived, who was also from the midwest, hated it, and called it a "mañana attitude". And that meant that whenever he tried to get something done by someone, they would not show up, and insisted that they would be there tomorrow (which is technically what mañana means, but in reality it means "maybe sometime in the future, maybe not"). And now waitaminute, if you think I'm picking on Hispanic people, think again. This leisurely attitude towards doing things in a timely manner wasn't confined to a particular group, it seemed like everyone did it. Everyone, of course, except the Midwestern people, who were idiot enough to be out in 100 degree weather mowing their lawns.
And then I moved to California and I really, really got to see what "laid back" meant. I lived in Santa Barbara for about three years and maybe it's the beautiful weather, or something, but the people there hardly seemed to be moving at all. I really enjoyed it, and it reminded me of the song "Margaritaville" by Jimmy Buffet. And it started to worry me. I liked Santa Barbara, but I saw too many people who were just wasting away their lives. I didn't want to be a grey-haired surfer dude working four jobs and living in a broom closet of an apartment. So I moved to Los Angeles.
I gotta tell you that LA made me nervous. It's so big, and so crowded. Luckily, it's also laid back, so if you actually show up, and do the work, you'll be fine. There were six hundred (600) people who applied for the job I got at Blue Cross in the Marketing Department. I can't say that I was all that qualified, but I had a college degree, and I showed up for the job interview, wearing a clean shirt and a tie. My midwestern work ethic had calmed down quite a bit, but I still remember seeing people who seemed as if they were hardly moving at all. Often I would want to go take a pulse of someone, to see if they were actually alive.
Today I find that I can be energetic, and get the work done, and I can also be laid back. I like the compromise that living in Minnesota, Arizona, and California has taught me.
Image at the top of this post, relaxing in Santa Barbara, California in the 1980s
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Posted by Brad Hall