html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: Mostly, we think you're boring.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Mostly, we think you're boring.

My friend Dan says that Californians have no sense. He loves that; it is why moving back here is his top priority. I was surprised to hear it. I mean, obviously we have the right amount of sense and other places have some wrong amount that is less or more than ours. But no, Dan says, Californians have no sense. He says that Californians will do anything they think of. Why not?! say Californians. No reason!, say other Californians. He says this is why Californians do really stupid shit and really great shit. Good sense doesn’t stop them from either.

I haven’t decided whether I agree with Dan, mostly because I don’t understand another viewpoint to provide a contrast. I know that for me and my people, the answer to the question “Should we…?” is “Yay! Let’s!” Go somewhere, see something, make something, meet someone, invite, include, do, visit, climb, build? YES! Why not! Sometimes there are good reasons why not. Sadly, consideration of those reasons must follow the initial enthusiasm. Sometimes the un-fun outweighs the fun and then we sit morosely, mourning our abandoned idea.

Dan says this is Californian, and the rest of y’all don’t have the automatic yes. We speculated about why it would be Californian. Is it ‘cause in general, it is beautiful here and nature is kind? No alligators here, and the climate won’t usually kill you, even when the daytime temperatures drop into the 50s. Is it ‘cause we’re anonymous here, with no gossipy elders to judge and scold us? Is it ‘cause everyone here took action to get here, or are descended from people who got up and moved? People who aren’t inclined to do stuff never got this far.

Well, whatever fortuitous combination led to having no sense, I like it. Even more, I like being around people who reinforce that. Fortunately, they sort themselves out. If you’re a person whose answer is always “can’t because’, after not too long, I’m going to stop making suggestions. Why bother? You can’t. I probably like your company, so it isn’t that I’m choosing not to spend time with you. But I’m busy, off with someone who said “yes!”. If you chose not to do the crazy thing with us, because the effort to excitement ratio sounded too high for you, then you won’t be around much either. That’s where we are! We have no sense! The only people I’ll actually avoid are the ones who hear AN IDEA! and consistently shoot it down. (They must be from somewhere else.) Those people are little walking plagues of ineffectual boredom; they’re death looking to come early. They get a few chances, and then uninterested politeness. Life’s too short, man, and we’ve got stuff to do.


Picture by Chris












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6 Comments:

Blogger Tom said...

I'm reminded of Ringworld, and the genetically lucky character. I wonder if you went to whatever (current) boomtown (Las Vegas, or Mountain View), how many would have several generations of ancestors from corresponding historical boomtowns.

3:51 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Our destinies were settled long ago.

3:57 PM  
Anonymous mith said...

"He says this is why Californians do really stupid shit and really great shit. Good sense doesn’t stop them from either."

As one of its creators was known to have said: "UNIX doesn't prevent people from doing stupid stuff, because that would also prevent them from doing clever stuff."

"Is it ‘cause everyone here took action to get here, or are descended from people who got up and moved? People who aren’t inclined to do stuff never got this far."

This is not the first time I've heard this theory. Though the way I heard it was that people on the west coast are more inclined to travel because they're descended from people that were motivated enough to travel all the way to the west coast when getting there wasn't exactly a couple days ride on an interstate highway.

8:28 PM  
Anonymous Ennis said...

Funny - I don't recognize this portrait of CA at all. I loved living in CA, but my friends who were Californian were all very conventional. They weren't interested in ever living outside of CA, but they also weren't interested in new things for the sake of exploration. These were college students at Cal! In NYC, if there is a new restaurant or club or something you want to check it out. With my friends from Cal I'd suggest doing something different and 10 minutes later somebody else would suggest going to the same places we always went to and everybody would agree.

My interpretation of this was that they were all suburban kids b/c the only real city in CA is LA and that's all one big suburb. SF is kept small population wise on purpose, most people live in various burbs. As such, almost all Californians are suburban, and suburbanites tend to favor whatever they think of as safe and convenient over things that were new and different.

So sure, they were always up for doing something, but that thing had to be a choice from a proscribed menu of safe options.

9:17 PM  
Anonymous Thelonious_Nick said...

"Is it ‘cause in general, it is beautiful here and nature is kind?"

I think this is it, or at least the most important among several factors. Observe that America's most sensible people live in the upper Midwest, where traditionally all summer is spent preparing for the winter and all winter is spent managing your meager resources so they'll hold out until late April, when spring starts. Frugality, moderation, and an appreciation for small pleasures are the characteristics that lifestyle breeds.

7:37 AM  
Blogger Jon said...

This climatological explanation for clusters of sensical* people is interesting, and something I've never heard before!

"Yay! Let's!" is something I hear from my fellow San Franciscan pals a lot.

* That may or may not be a word, I realize

12:50 PM  

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