Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Two Worlds, One State

Magnet # 32:  Sunny California

Material:  Rubber

Purchased By:  Mom & Dad

Boy, skipping work on Monday this week really threw me off.  Not that I'm complaining - I just keep thinking it's Tuesday.  And when I realized that it was actually today that California acheived statehood back in 1850, I had to scramble to get this post together.  After all, I've got plenty of California magnets.  And I'd rather not waste a day when it's totally appropriate to post one of them.

I've only been to California once in my life.  I was about ten at the time.  We flew in at LAX and saw Southern California places like Venice Beach, the Walk of Fame, and Universal Studios.  We went to Knott's Berry Farm instead of Disneyland because we'd been to Disney World in Orlando and wanted to try something a bit different.  Then we headed up north on the Pacific Coast Highway.  Those twisting roads were a little scary.  The rental car we had reserved was not available, so we'd been upgraded to a Lincoln Town Car that was almost brand new.  It was nice - there was so much leg space!  Up in Northern California, we stopped by Yosemite National Park before heading over to San Francisco to spend a day at the Fisherman's Wharf.  Too bad I wasn't collecting magnets then - they have an entire shop devoted to magnets called the Magnetron.  But I did plenty of shopping nonetheless.  I think it was there that I bought a really cool raccoon puppet that makes a squeaky noise.  We flew out of San Francisco - it was a great trip.

What strikes me, and probably quite a few others, as most interesting about California is the dichotomy that exists there.  Southern California and Northern California are almost nothing alike.  Is there any other state in the Union that has two such distinctive cultural areas?  Down South, there's such crazy momentum.  It's all so sunny, so glossy, so beautiful, and so expensive.  The North is almost an extension of Washington and Oregon - there's a laidback attitude and forests all over the place.  I recently met some of my neighbors, a couple where one is from Northern California and the other is from Southern California.  They assured me that there really is a total difference in attitude between the two regions and, at times, it can be problematic for them.  I confess, I think I'd be much more comfortable in the North - I'm pretty sure Southern California would swallow me whole. But I suppose it's worth giving both a try to find out for sure.  One thing's for certain - no matter where one is in this state, there's beauty to be found.

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