so today . . . i said dude. in conversation. twice.
eight years ago when it looked like we were going to be relocating to southern california, i was less than thrilled. i think my sentiment basically was, "you have got to be kidding me! los angeles?!?! i don't think so--they have smog, traffic, sales tax, AND you have to pump your own gas!" none of which we had to deal with in beautiful oregon, where we lived.
but we came anyway--eventually.
rollie came first. he drove a huge truck down and settled in with about half of our stuff. diandra and i stayed in oregon for two more months while she finished out the school year. whenever rollie would call, he would tell us how beautiful it was here--i would ask how he could tell, looking through all that smog. he would describe the amazing mall that was just a few blocks from our house--i would remind him that we would have to pay sales tax in that mall. he would tell us about all the cool places we could go--i would ask how many times he had had to pump his own gas.
i was having some trouble adjusting to the idea of moving to such a mega-metropolitan area.
i bought birkenstocks. "if i am going to have to live in california, i am at least going to get some new shoes, and that's what they wear there." i bought a ring with morganite stones. "morganite is a california gemstone." i did NOT buy tofu. "never mind the mall--what kind of fast food places are there?"
i was trying to adjust.
rollie came back to oregon for diandra's 16th birthday, and drove another huge truck down with the rest of our stuff (i told you, we have a lot of stuff!) and then the day came when it was time to pack up my purple honda and get the heck out of dodge . . .
i don't remember much about the trip south. i know diandra was with me, so i'm sure it was fun! i do remember trying to pump my own gas, and having to go inside and ask the guy behind the counter to help me. he gave me instructions, and i went out and tried again, but still no luck. i went back inside, and he repeated his instructions--a little more slowly and a bit louder. i went out and tried again, but i just could not make it work. i finally had to say, "look--i'm from oregon. in oregon trained professionals pump our gas, and clearly it takes a trained professional to do it, so will you please come out and show me how to work this confounded thing!" he relaxed a little then (i think he thought i was part of some complicated scheme to steal money from his cash register--or some skittles) and came out and showed me what to do.
i knew i was going to hate california--if for no other reason than that my car would always have to get it's gas from an amateur.
we got to l.a. and settled in. at first i spent a lot of time home alone, but i eventually ventured out, found the grocery store and the amazing mall with palm trees inside it, and realized that california was not going to kill me with smog.
eight years later, i love it here! the weather is perfect nearly every day. there's hardly any smog--really! i've adjusted to the sales tax and the traffic. and it is beautiful. really! i've learned that they don't wear birkenstocks here--they wear high heels. i've found that it is much easier to find a hamburger place than a tofu burger place (although the very fact that there ARE tofu burger places haunts me.)
and apparently, i've added some new words to my vocabulary. like "dude." i can promise you, dude is not a word that was even in my brain before we moved to socal. but now it is. it has popped up in my thoughts, and i have said it when recounting the words of someone else. i even write it when i am messaging a friend of mine. recently, i have had to stop myself from saying it more than once, because, i am sorry, but it would just be weird for people to hear a woman of my age say, "dude!" seriously weird.
but i guess they are going to have to get used to it, because it slipped from between my lips today, twice. i guess i am turning into a california girl--although, now that i think about it, the girls don't say "dude." so maybe i am turning into a california surfer dude--but i don't surf, or even swim, or even really want to put anything other than my feet in the ocean.
maybe i am just spending too much time talking to teenagers. california teenagers . . .