Lessons I’ve Learned in California

It has been said far too often that traveling facilitates your self-discovery.  Heck, I met a man just last night at an event who dropped out of college to travel.  Of course, he ended up in a Venezuelan prison for five months, which I suppose sped up the process of “finding himself.”  Well as for me, I’ve found many things aside from myself on my voyage to California, and an orange jumpsuit and bars is not part of that list.  But these 7 things are:

coffee

1. Get your Starbucks and run (California specific):  Those sneaky California sales taxes can really kill you with this one.  If you order your Starbucks “for here” you get an added sales tax that you wouldn’t get if you had ordered “to go.”  Better yet, to avoid any confusion, just grab your coffee and bolt.  This way they fully understand you mean to take it “to go.”  

old

2. You really can pass a day staring out the window drinking tea: I’ve developed something of a reputation among my neighbors as “the old coot.”  Parents tell their children, “stay away from that house, you know who lives there.”  Every now and then the neighborhood kids wander up to my front steps, ring the bell, and run away on a dare.  I should purchase a cane and a cat for more authenticity.  But in all honesty, it is absolutely necessary to hold yourself still and move with the seconds from time to time, the tea is just for added affect.

hill

3. Finding a hill doesn’t necessarily mean you should go down it: From where I’m staying (Berkeley) the whole state seems like one big hill.  To top it all off, I live on the top of a 90 degree slope.  For the most part, I get around by bicycle, which means I get to feel that rush of wind as I soar down the hills.  But I’ve found that just because the hill is there, doesn’t mean I should go down it just to feel that thrill pump.  Because at the end of the day, I still do live way up back at the top.

subway

4. Toast tax (California specific): They’re at it again; if you order your Subway sub “toasted,” they add on an extra sales tax.  This time, you can’t get away with it by grabbing your sandwich and running.  Well, I guess you still can.

sleep

5. Fold-out couches are more comfortable: I’m subletting with 6 other guys, in an apartment meant for 4.  But I have a pleasantly satisfying fold-out couch all to myself.  Surprisingly enough, this is much more spacious than my bed back home in Virginia.  It might be more comfortable simply because it’s more comfortable; but it also might be this way due to the connotations of sleeping on a couch.  Not the “honey, why don’t you sleep on the couch tonight,” connotation, but one of adventure and reconnaissance.  The feeling you get abroad, modestly for the sole reason that you’re not safe and sound in your own bed.  Of course, I do miss my teddy bear sometimes.

rice-krispy

6. Rice crispies give your jaw a good workout: On my second day here, my apartment-mates and I unearthed a massive rice crispy treat fit for a Tyrannosaurus Rex.  We were so thrilled with our find we decided to divide up the loot and pamper our discovery right away.  Two hours and five thousand bites later, we weren’t even halfway done with this colossal candied treat.  But on the bright side, I’ve been packing on loads of  muscle… Around my mouth.

hollywood

7. Hella’: Just, hella’.

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