We visited the motherland the other week. California, there we went. We took the kids to Disneyland and its related theme park, California Adventure, as an early Christmas present.
And it reminded me of all things I don’t miss about California:
• The traffic.
• The marine layer, that thick layer of clouds and fog that might burn off for an hour if you’re lucky. This time of year, Arizona weather beats California hands down. Now, ask me that again next July, and I'll have a different opinion.
• Snotty rich people who hate anyone with an out-of-state license plate. I really wanted to tell this one woman I had probably lived in California longer than she had, Arizona plates not withstanding. But I restrained myself.
• The traffic.
• Lack of Christian radio stations. In Orange County you have the Fish. That’s it. Here in Arizona I have KLOVE, AirOne and the Source. Don’t have to listen much to commercials. Yes, my minivan doesn’t have a CD player. I am deprived.
• Not being able to see the stars because of the marine layer and light pollution. The sky actually stayed the color of mercury vapor streetlights.
• Did I mention the traffic?
Things I miss about California:
Disneyland. When we lived in California, we had annual passes so we could go for a couple of hours, watch a parade, go on some rides, eat dessert and take sleepy kids home. Now, to get our money’s worth, we have to do the endurance version, 12-13 hours. Not so much fun. Still, the kids had a blast.
And, I never thought I’d say this, California Adventure. This is Disney’s attempt to encapsulate all that is great about California. It didn’t open to rave reviews, and in the beginning there wasn’t much for little kids to do. But this time around, I liked it better than the real thing. The Redwood Creek Trail replicates the redwood forests of northern California where I went camping with my family as a kid. And nostalgia, real or imaginary, is what Disney does best.
They also have this ride, Soarin’ Over California which is a hang-glider ride combined with an IMAX-type movie over the best parts of California. Reminded me of what I loved and missed about the state.
As long as I forgot about the traffic.
Still, I wrote 1,000 words between Redlands and the OC. Guess traffic’s good for something.
And last, but never least, I miss my old in-person critique group. One of my closest writing friends, Peg, met us at Disneyland, and she and I talked about writing for three hours while saving places to watch an amazing 50th anniversary fireworks show. Way cool. Almost as much fun as talking about writing.