Some quickies a la de Tocqueville, understanding your property taxes are huge and your state is soon to be bankrupt, and some of your municipal services are already closing on Fridays.
Still . . .
"Humans and animals singing in safety and joy. . ." Maybe a little nuts, but to be nuts for compassion may not be so bad. This was the poster for an animal benefit outside of the Pinecone Restaurant in Sebastopol tonight. That says "California" to me.
The Pinecone was chosen because it had a homely neon sign that said "Pinecone" and "Good Food," and the presumption was this would be a down-home diner serving American cuisine, such as it is. But no, it was Indian cuisine, and served an excellent curry alongside a fanstastic Irish trio of an upright bassist, accordion/flautist and bodhran player. It is that comfortable melange that seems to characterize these areas.
The trip has been solely Northern California, and the pleasures are as follows:
- Good food
- No blaring rap music
- Microclimates (in Florida, you must travel 10 hours before the climate begins an almost imperceptable shift.)
- No mosquitoes or fleas
- Microbreweries and wineries
- Newspaper editors who meet regularly at coffee shops with local citizens to discuss issues
- Beautiful coast
- $1,000 littering fees
- And something more ephemeral. . .
The Mendocino Bulletin advertised for the Caspar Community Center Flea Market and 4th Sunday Breakfast: "Bacon and potato frittata, Mexican egg bake, banana pancakes, a gluten-free frittata and rhubrab coffee cake." Pancake breakfasts do not have to be Dixie Lily white flour + Karo corn syrup affairs.
One could say simply, "It is not the East Coast," but how to capture that vibe? "Less petty," perhaps. There is a languor and perverseness in the Southeast. Tennessee Williams and Flannery O'Connor capture it well. People seem to work out here -- to do things. They wear fleece and move about. The weather shifts, and they adapt. In the SE, they shiver.
One cannot witness a whole truth in a couple of weeks, but it seems there is a helpfulness and cheeriness, even in the working class areas. An acceptance of multiplicities. We haven't been in any real gritty areas, but the people we have met are generally helpful and upbeat.
A little more optimism and curiosity, perhaps. Even in these difficult times.