Tales of Idiocy and Woe...But Now I'm CRAZY in California!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Almost a month has gone by...

...and no posting from me. I think my "blog break" before Christmas ended up being almost a "blog coma". So, seeing that I don't have much to say right now, I'll simply give a list of things that are crazy about California. Here's my top ten list of "What drives me CRAZY in California":

10. The cost of living. I'm renting a room for more than what rent, food, insurance, and gas all cost me last year. I don't know how any single people survive off less than $12/hr, even with room mates and such. It is honestly insanely expensive here.

9. The hours of stores. There seems to be no "uniform hours of business" down here. Going to buy things outside of 9am-5pm is simply a crap shoot. You don't know what will be open. Some places (like the grocery store Ralphs) are open all the time. I've gone and bought groceries at 1:30am. Other places are closed when they should be open. I was in San Fernando several weeks ago and wanted to get something to eat at 10:00pm. The Subway was closed. The Burger King was closed. The Jack-in-the-Box was closed. I had to have KFC because it was the only thing open at 10:00pm on a Friday night...in LA. I have been puzzling over that one for weeks.

8. The prices of fast food. I've noticed that restaurants can have as much as a dollar variation on their menu items in a range of a few miles. There's a Subway near my house where something is $4.09, and on up in Sun Valley is $4.69 and one in North Hollywood is $4.99. You think people would notice where things are the cheapest and go there for stuff. Apparently not.

For those Saskatooners who read this, imagine if the two Burger Kings on 8th street (Center at Circle and 8th as well as on Louise, down by Blockbuster Video) had a $.90 difference on their Whopper value meals. Would ANYONE not drive down 8th street to save a buck?

7. The price of gas. There's also like at least a $.30-40 spread on gas prices down here. Check out gas price variation in Burbank and Saskatoon. And it's not like the gas stations arefar apart either. You'll see two gas stations, with a 20 cent difference in price, on either side of an intersection...and people are filling up at BOTH. For this reason alone, I sometimes suspect that a majority of people in California are simply illiterate.

6. The telemarketers. I can NOT believe how bold they are down here. I constantly get those automated calls, where it's a recorded voice and they're trying to get you to re-mortgage that house you just bought. But then, there's the real live people who completely and totally try to hornswaggle you. The other day, a guy called to get me to subscribe to a local newspaper. He was speaking REAL fast and told me he'd send me a subscription to the paper, which I told him I didn't want. He then completely ignored me and told me that he'd send me a complimentary subscription for like 3 months, and then asked me for my Visa number and expiration date for some suspicious charge. I asked him why I needed to give him my credit card information for a complimentary subscription to a paper, and he talked so fast I couldn't understand him, muttering about some sort of charge. He tried to get my credit card information like 5 more times, and I told him in no uncertain terms that I did NOT want the paper and would NOT accept any bills for it. He then, completely ignoring my protest, told me that I'd get a bill in the mail for some sort of charge and I spoke in loud Tarzan English "ME NO WANT NO THING FROM YOU. ME NO WANT YOUR PRODUCT. DO NOT SEND IT." I felt like I was in the movie Boiler Room.

I've also had 3 seperate people attempt to get me to give them my bank number and pin, all using quite unsophisticated rhetorical tricks. I was polite with the first guy, but with the last one I laughed at him, out loud. I then simply asked him what planet he thought I was born on and promised him that there was no possible universe where I would give a total stranger access to my bank account information. I also insulted his dog. (I wish Rob Chura could have handled that call. I would have loved to see how he would've handled it.)

5. The amount of people. There's just all of western Canada in 1/3 of Vancouver Island here. To say that it's packed tight is an understatement. The In-and-Out Burger in Burbank has a 10 car line up in the drive-thru like every moment it's open. I've never seen less than 1,000 people in Ikea. The Mall is packed on Monday at 10:00am. I don't know where everyone comes from, but they're here.

4. The amount of concrete. I tell you, I miss Saskatoon for nothing short of it's parks (Let alone Calgary and Banff!). A park down here is a patch of brown grass with 2 swings and a few trees...with some high voltage lines running through the middle. If there are nice parks with rolling, lush grass and huge, shadey trees, I simply haven't seen it yet. I think down here those are called "Golf Courses".

3. The Smog. I remember one day when I looked down at LA and thought, "Man! That's a low cloud cover". Then I realized that the clouds were dark brown and I couldn't believe it. It's not THAT bad here in Burbank, but when you drive over the hill into LA on some mornings, it's honestly gross. Then, when you see it against the mountains, you realize that you're breathing that stuff in. I would not be surprised at any statistics regarding children who are brought up here and chronic lung problems. Some mornings, I long to stand in Caronport and smell the dairy farm "smell" wafting over the highway, let alone the smell of the air outside after a spring rain storm...or better yet, right before. When the air's all charged with static electricity and you can smell the rain coming. That's a good smell. Smog is not such a good smell.

2. The amount of traffic. It seems that all those people are have a common schedule of when's a good time to "go somewhere". Sadly, I've been caught up in their mad "dash" and spent 2 hours driving 15 miles. After that I understand why everyone has automatic transmissions down here...though I cannot understand why there are SO many jacked up 4x4's down here.


1. The roads. Brodzki, get down here RIGHT NOW. Whoever designed the roads down here was crazy-go-nuts. So many roads have like 3 different names, and all at the same time. Also, half the freeways have no actual connection to each other. You look on a map and think that the 170 and the 134 will merge, but no-o-o-o-o-o-o! You have to get off and take like 7 turns to get onto the 134. Even with a MAP I get lost down here, but only because half the time I simply cannot figure out how to get onto the road I want and have to keep driving so as not to get smoked by the 75 mile an hour traffic around me.

What's worst of all is that every road is called "North" or "South". I don't have a clue why, but when I'm driving "North" and have two exits, one called "something road North" and one called "something road South", and I want to head EAST, I get confused. I've learned to go places by trusting the directions that people give me as opposed to attempting to make sense of the signs. I mean, take 170 North and turn onto 180 North and then turn onto 210 North. How can I turn "north" like 3 times?

**********************
So just because it sounds like I'm ranting and whatnot, I am. But if you think that I hate California, I don't. There's a whole lot of cool and nice stuff down here too. The beaches are really sweet, the weather is awesome in winter (though summer is nutso hot), I've met a ton of great people, I go to a fantastic school, I go to an amazing church, etc. Don't think I hate it. There's just some things that are silly/strange/crazy down here. Until Next Time,

The Armchair Whining Weiner.

- Oh, and I actually didn't insult his dog. What kind of horrible person does THAT?

4 Comments:

  • Great post man; I laughed through the whole thing. I think my favorite part was the fact that there's a grocery store called Ralph's. It's where a person buys food, and what that person's liable to do after ingesting it.

    By Blogger Andrew L, at 9:07 PM  

  • Oh, this post is a classic. I was totally laughing....I liked number 3. Makes me wish for a thunderstorm...and a porch, with a swing or chair, blanket, and an Armchair.

    By Blogger Jennifer, at 6:49 AM  

  • I cannot not STAND the telemarketers here either! Those automated ones annoy me SO much. My favorite telemarketer however, was one that told me that Brian had won a free trip to Las Vegas, and when I told them that I was not Brian nor did a Brian exist at this number, they then told me, "Oh, Well then YOU'VE won a free trip to Las Vegas." All I would have had to do was give them my credit card....Suspicious, no?

    When I first moved down here I used to average about 2 telemarkter calls a day. Thankfully now, it's only 2 or 3 a week.

    Portland is nowhere near the size of LA, but still I too am tired of concrete. A Park here seems to mean a cement water fountain and maybe a statue. However, this city IS known for it's roses, so maybe it will soon turn into a delightful garden.

    By Blogger amelia, at 2:14 PM  

  • It's funny you should mention bad signage in LA because I thought you'd be used to it having grown up in Prince George. I've driven through BC specifically Prince George, and that's some of the worst ever....like, I understood Toronto better.

    As far as telemarketers, I had a great conversation with one last week, he was from Winnipeg and had a 15 minute questionnaire he needed done and I could tell he was young and bored, so I told him to write yes' down one half and no's down the other half then go take a break for 15. Guys who talk too fast and want my visa number I hang up on immediately, and if they call back, I tell them "I've killed before".

    By Blogger Yosemite Sam, at 9:43 AM  

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