No love for Southern California

On Tuesday, my mom took me down to Orange County and San Diego to visit family members and attend various Hanukkah dinners. Though I love seeing these folks, there’s pretty much nothing I despise more than southern California, so the trip put me in kind of a weird funk. It only took 24 hours in that section of an otherwise splendid state for me to fall ill. I have had a bad fever and full body aches since then and really, really wish there were another way for me to get together with family members. You can criticize my living choices all you want and defend So Cal (Dan, I’m sure you have tons to say on the matter! Comment away!), but nothing will ever sway me to appreciate it.

But you see, there’s a story behind my issues with the So Cal area, and having lived there for the first nine years of my life, I’d say I’m semi-qualified to complain about it.

For one, the traffic is terrible, and the scenery is hideous:

English: Aerial view of central Orange County ...
Orange County

At the end of the day, I just have some bad memories growing up there. The traffic always made me late for school, so you bet I learned nothing from Kindergarten to fourth grade (with the exception of how to read!). It’s no place to raise kids, so I’m relieved my parents moved me up north before middle school. Much of my formative years were spent hurling into barf bags in 405 traffic, in part due to the general congestion of southern California highways and stop-and-go flow. The other problem was that my mother constantly took me on road trips down to San Diego in which we’d see as many of her college buddies as possible. To be fair, I had fun hanging out with the daughters of her friends, but the travel experiences were pretty unpleasant. Little kids lack patience more than any other age group, so imagine my discomfort at always having to be the wingman. I was the youngest, though, so I didn’t really have a say.

Sick in Newport Beach circa 1996!

Yesterday, I got a wave of deja vu as I was sprawled across the two backseats of my mom’s rental car, writhing in agony as a result of overpowering body aches and stomach pains. I felt like I was seven again, being transported from one smoggy, overrated and overpriced So Cal town to the next by no choice of my own. As earlier stated, I enjoyed seeing my family, so interactions with them were nice, but a trip down south is no picnic.

As my mom would say, “Oy gevalt.”

But, ’tis the season to make sacrifices, right? It has been fifteen years since I last went with my mother on one of her sorority reunions, so I’m really in no position to whine about one trip as an adult. It’s just no fun to be sick as a direct result of going somewhere you dislike. I guess those “plane germs” people warned me about my whole life really do exist.

On a brighter note, I’m going to a Santana Row spa tomorrow for a pedicure. It doesn’t get much better than that!


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