Visiting M&B (and little D & O!) in Dundee, Oregon last week made me realize how I’ve become so ingrained with California culture. Specifically, Silicon Valley California culture. A couple notes on things that I was surprised to find out I was surprised at:
a) Communicating with people without smartphones. No GPS, Facebook, Instagram, camera phone, nor a variety of mindless games. This is a world I live in – a world my peers live in. The only people I know who don’t have smartphones are my parents. Well, and my friends in Oregon. Not that it’s a bad thing. And not that one can’t be obsessed and constantly checking your phone for messages even when it’s NOT a smartphone. It just seemed rather weird to me…which shows how much the power of the internet in my pocket has been ingrained in me in the short 1.5 years I’ve had my own smartphone.
b) Speed limit of 55 mph. A long time ago, just a few years before I got my own driver’s license, California’s speed limit was also 55 mph. Then it rose to 65, and then again to 70 by the time of my high school graduation. It boggles my mind that if I were driving, I would have been going at least 15 mph above the limit (30 mph above the limit, if I were honest with myself).
On a side note, I remember how fast freeway speeds seemed during the half-a-year I spent biking and BARTing to work and to run errands. 55 mph is slow as snails. Also not necessarily a bad thing, being slow as snails.
c) It is COLD in Oregon. I stepped on the plane in a place where the high was going to be in the low 70s, and stepped off the plane where the high temps were equivalent to the low temps of where I came from. I have a snow-worthy coat, and it was not the coat I brought with me. I should have.
d) Californians have this obsession with hardwood or laminate flooring and plaster dry wall as well as other modern, trendy styles, inside and outside the home. We like glass tile back splashes in our kitchens and brushed metal appliances and hardware for sinks and tubs. We go with thick carpets or we go home. We like energy star every things, and that’s at the very least. We even go for appliances that are more efficient than government regulations call for. We have a love affair with ethnic cuisine. We have a pretty high living standard in Cali.
Of course, I am heavily generalizing. I’m sure there are people who live in high standards everywhere, just like there are people who live in less expensive means everywhere as well. But I’m willing to bet that on average, what Californians think is a low standard of living is considered a high standard of living elsewhere.
As always, my eyes are opened a big wider each time I travel. Even if it’s just across state borders. And even if I’ve learned all these lessons before, I see a new lesson here as well: that I’ve been desensitized, and grown a little a lot complacent in recent years. It’s time to shake things up in a big way.