Thursday, July 31, 2008

BEST OF: With apologies to Jeff Foxworthy ...

You might be from the coast of Central California in summer if ...

l. You know the state flower — Mildew (good one, Jeff!).

2. You’d shoot your cat before you’d throw aluminum cans, a Dasani water bottle or an empty “Two-Buck Chuck” wine jug into the trash.

3. You use the expression “sun break” and know what it means.

4. You know more than 10 ways to order coffee, even at Taco Bell.

5. You’d feel overdressed wearing a suit anywhere except to your own funeral.

6. You know how to pronounce Cayucos, Cuyama, Cholame, Pfieffer Big Sur and (last but certainly not least) San Luis Obispo.

6a. You can talk about towns like Buttonwillow and Shafter without getting the giggles.

7. You can point out the difference to wave-watchers between kelp and an otter, or between a swimming sea lion or harbor seal.

8. You know 52 kinds of birds, because they all come to your back yard to raid the cat-food dish.

9. You can identify at 100 yards whether the whale is a gray, humpback, orca or wishful thinking.

10. You know the different nuances between Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai food, and you can cook all four very well, thank you.

11. You feel justifiably smug when the temperatures don't vary by more than a few degrees, night or day. “Better than 110,” you mumble as you develop mold in your nasal passages and grow kelp between your toes.

12. You break out the 50 SPF sunscreen and the Tilly hat any time the weatherman says there's a chance of partial sun through the coastal fog.

13. You put on your shorts when the temperature gets above 50, but still wear your hiking boots and parka. You switch to your sandals when it gets above 60, but keep the socks on.

14. You’ve been to Hearst Castle, Pozo, the Far Western, the Oceano Dunes, the missions and most of the restaurants in the county. Or at least you say you have.

15. You measure distance in hours or portions thereof, plus degrees. “It’s only 20 minutes to Morro Bay, but it’s 30 minutes and 40 degrees to Paso.”

16. You know the difference between an ag easement, a conservation easement and having land in the Williamson Act, and know they're all better than having another 650 homes in the viewshed.

17. You use a down comforter in the summer and a light blanket in winter.

18. You regard the other side of the Santa Lucias as “over there.” You know it's another country, because the terrain AND the people are sooooooo different.

19. You design your child’s Halloween costume in layers, thin enough so, if the weather's as hot as it usually is, the kid won't faint, but sized to fit under a raincoat or over a turtleneck, just in case.

20. You carry jumper cables in your car and know how to use them, whether you're a man or woman. You also know how to change a tire, because at 9:30 at night on Highway 1, that's probably your only way home.

21. You may be a blue-hair, but, by God, it probably looks black or auburn to the rest of the world, if they don't look too closely.

22. You know all the important seasons: Tourist Season (spring through fall) which coincides nicely with Visiting Family Season; Rainy (can be a day or six months); Dry (can be one day or all year); Windy (April through June, plus anytime there’s a big, special event with a tent); Road Repairs (summer); Brown Hills (fall); Shopping (winter or all year); and Holiday (very similar to Tourist/Family).

23. You know half the fun of going to “The City” (San Francisco) or “The Pit” (Los Angeles) is griping about it, before and after the trip.

24. You know your neighbors, often for blocks or miles in any direction. You don’t agree with all (any) of them, but if they’re sick, or in an accident, or there’s been a tragedy or death in the family, you’re there in a flash to do food, laundry, dusting, babysitting. You’ll make funeral arrangements, or call the relatives, the cops or the doctor. Then, when the crisis is over, you’ll all go back to kvetching at each other, just like always.

25. You are fully aware you’re among the luckiest of humans, because you live on the coast of Central California, the most beautiful place in the world, fog or no fog.

This column ran first in The Cambrian on June 26, 2003, and subsequently in The Tribune. Comments are encouraged here, or you can e-mail Kathe Tanner at

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You might be from the coast of Central California in summer if ... You're a teenager who has NOTHING to do (besides sports)all the time. If you live in Cambria...