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Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on June 7th, 2012, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 13, Issue 13 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 13

Stupid Californians

Krider discovers that cargo shorts come in a bizarre length

By ROB KRIDER

Californians are very smart people. Don’t think so? Just ask one. We think we are awesome because everyone else in the world wants to live here. We know that movies are filmed here, the stars live here, and we invented the iPhone. We Californians don’t sweat the little details, like the fact that the iPhone is built in China and that Robert De Niro actually lives in New York. But with a blue sky and a perfect temperature of 74 degrees, who really cares about details?

Being born here in California and living amongst the beautiful people and the wonderful weather my whole life, I have taken some things for granted. Things like cold. I’ve read about this phenomenon before, but I never really knew what cold was. Honestly, I never really knew what a season was. Seasons and snow are things people made up to explain the North Pole and Santa Claus.

My California ignorance slapped me cold in the face when I took a trip outside of my comfort zone. Last week, I decided to take a drive up to Oregon to let the kids do some soapbox derby racing in Salem. We threw their cars in the back of the truck and started rolling north. There wasn’t any real planning involved; it was one of those last-minute crazy road trip ideas. My wife, whom I love, said the trip was “a stupid idea.” I ignored her opinion, thinking the trip would be something the kids will grow up always remembering. It turns out the kids will never forget this trip because it was the first time they realized their dad is a warm-climate idiot.

First, you should know that the heater in my truck doesn’t work. Who needs a heater during the summer in California? Californians driving to Oregon, that’s who. When we left town, the temperature was 87 degrees. I jumped into the truck wearing flip-flops, cargo shorts, and a T-shirt.

For my trip to Oregon, in my luggage, I packed underwear, a toothbrush, and swimming trunks. When we got near the California/Oregon border in a town called Weed, we were out of gas, and it was snowing outside. I didn’t have chains for the truck. In fact, my tires didn’t really have any tread. I didn’t even have a jacket. I got out at a gas station and almost froze to death trying to put gas in the truck. I walked into the gas station wearing shorts and flip-flops in the snow, and the attendant looked at me as if I just arrived in a space ship. I asked, “Do you guys have a Walmart or something around here that sells stuff like …”

“Pants?” The gas station attendant finished my sentence for me.

“I was thinking of blankets, gloves, jackets—but sure, pants would work, too.”

“No. But we do sell a sweatshirt that says ‘I love Weed.’”

“I’ll take three!”

So my kids and I headed into the great unknown of Oregon, wearing sweatshirts proclaiming our love for weed. In Oregon, they didn’t have weed, but they had rain—and lots of it. Sure, it was beautiful seeing all of the trees and green bushes around, but all of that greenery comes at a price and that price is being wet 364 days a year. I’m from California; give me sunshine, or give me death!

Somehow, we didn’t freeze to death, and we didn’t crash the truck into a snow bank. After a very successful race weekend (we Californians do know how to build race cars even if we aren’t smart enough to pack an umbrella), we headed back to our home state with some soap-

box trophies. I never realized how wonderful the sunshine was until I hadn’t seen it for a few days.

That trip into the snowy Oregon unknown reminded me of another time I was outside my element, outside of California. In college, I took a road trip across country to see the Woodstock Festival in 1994. Yes, for that jaunt I also only wore flip-flops and cargo shorts. During the trip. I remember driving through Utah thinking, “Look at all of this open space! Why are we all living on top of each other in California when there is all of this grand expanse we could be building on?”

While driving, I endured a hailstorm, a wicked lightning storm, and what appeared to be a hurricane. I was worried for my own safety, so I pulled off at the nearest exit and zipped into a McDonald’s parking lot. I was assuming everyone around me in the parking lot would be feeling the same sense of panic. It was the apocalypse, and the world was ending. I was looking to the local people for some guidance. Where was the regional storm shelter? Would the National Guard be by to evacuate us?

Instead of mass running and screaming through the parking lot, I was met with a nice fellow who casually held the door to the building open for me. Once I was inside the safety of McDonald’s, I figured people would be under the tables and we would be taking stock of a how many Happy Meals were on hand to keep us all alive through the storm. Instead, I found local people acting completely normal, sucking down chocolate milk shakes and eating Big Macs. Nobody was worried about the weather at all. Were they delusional? Had they given up hope? Then the lady behind the counter said, “Welcome to McDonald’s! Would you like to try the McRib?”

“Is the weather always like this here?” I asked.

The lady looked at me as if she didn’t understand the question. She glanced out the window and said, “Oh, if you don’t like the weather, just wait 10 minutes and it will change.”

“What? That’s no way to live. How do you make plans to do stuff? Where I’m from, I know six months in advance before it rains.”

From these two experiences, I learned a very important lesson. No, I didn’t learn to pack warm clothes or to be better prepared. Instead, I learned to just stay in California. We got everything we need right here.

Rob only wears shorts, period. When he’s asked why he’s wearing shorts in bad weather he replies, “I’m protesting winter.”




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