There’s something about being from California that raises the hackles of people in other states. They don’t mind if you visit, but please don’t stay.
Andrey Kiselev/123RF Photo
I’m not from California but I’ve lived here since the 1980s. So like most, I’m a transplant. I was born in Colorado, and my family is still there. When I visit them, I never fail to hear, at some point, how they wish that California people would stop moving to their state. It’s the Californians, they say, who are responsible for the increased traffic, surging real estate prices and the “too cool for school” attitude that’s edging out the sweeter, Midwestern sensibilities of the natives.
It’s not just Colorado people that complain. I’ve heard the same thing happens in Washington State, Oregon and Nevada – and I know firsthand it happens in Tennessee, particularly in Nashville, which is coping with the influx of some 100 people a day.
As a bit of background, I moved to Nashville when I was 21 and stayed for seven years. That was before you could find a single taco in the whole state. I liked it nevertheless, and last year, decided to buy an old house I could restore and eventually move into when I, like others, make my great escape from the Golden State.
Boy oh boy, if I thought Colorado had its nose out of joint about Californians, it’s nothing compared to the disdain Nashville has for people with a 310, 323 or 818 area code. Move to Nashville and mention you’re from California, even worse Los Angeles, and watch the way their body language changes. There’s an immediate pulling back, like you have something contagious. Oh it’s fine to come from the Left Coast if you’re spending vacation dollars, but please stay in the tourist zone and don’t even think of moving. California people, like fish, start smelling funny after week or so.
I asked one of my Nashville neighbors, who has lived there since the 1990s, why California people are so disdained.
The question didn’t surprise him one bit. He told me about a Los Angeles transplant who moved into the neighborhood a few years back. It was assumed she paid cash for a “tall skinny” — a scorned type of new construction that consists of a tall, narrow house built right next to another tall, narrow house on a big lot that once held a single-family home. Her new home was within a few blocks of 100-year-old train tracks, and she wasted no time launching a campaign to silence the whistle of the passing trains because they disturbed her yoga meditation.
Big mistake. The natives were on her like gravy on grits, and I can’t say I blame them. I love the sound of that mournful train whistle – and after all, she did buy a house knowing the train tracks were right there. But I totally got the illustration. Californians (particularly those from L.A.) are seen as the domestic version of the “ugly American” – loud, arrogant, and oh so sure that they know what’s best – for everyone.
Harsh, but true. We sail into town and gasp in amazement at the low cost of real estate. It’s like they’re giving houses away – big houses with front and back yards at a price that’s actually affordable. Who wouldn’t want to buy one and escape the rat race? So we do exactly that, en masse, contributing to the escalating cost of real estate, the increased traffic and the disintegration of the “know your neighbor” neighborhood.
What people in other states don’t realize is that even if we do sometimes come off as abrasive, life in California cities like Los Angeles has toughened our hides. You don’t live in L.A., you survive in L.A. It’s tough to live in the most densely populated city in the U.S., a city that just keeps packing in more people, higher and higher, tighter and tighter – in a state that demands more taxes, more regulations and expects you to suck it up, stop whining and be grateful. And then there are the earthquakes, the fires and the mudslides…
Like most refugees, we’re not wanted. So hate us if you must, but after enduring California, we can handle it. And keep in mind; you’ll likely be looking for a new state too, once we finish moving into yours.
Copyright © Kim Calvert/2019 Singular Communications, LLC.
Kim Calvert is the editor of Singular magazine and the founder of the SingularCity social networking community. An outspoken champion of people who are living their lives as a “me” instead of a “we,” Kim oversees the creative direction and editorial content of the magazine and online social networking community. She secures contributors and is responsible for maintaining the fun, upbeat, inspirational and often-humorous tone of Singular, a lifestyle guide for successful single living.