What will California look like once the people who can’t take it anymore bail? Will this natural geographic selection leave behind a hardier, more stubborn subspecies of state resident?
Or maybe the clever ones are getting out while they can, while the stragglers they leave behind are the ones too dumb to figure out how to pack a suitcase without government assistance.
I just rewatched The Sound of Music with some of the kids. That scene near the end when the nuns tell the Captain the Nazis just sealed the borders so they’ll have to cross the Alps on foot—it’s a good reminder not to ever, ever wait too long to escape your totalitarian overlords.
I’m only a first-generation native, but this ludicrous place feels like my ancestral homeland. My home as a baby was just a few blocks from Santa Monica State Beach in Los Angeles.
As the years passed, I moved progressively further east, away from the glorious Pacific Ocean of my childhood. At one point I lived as far away as France, but gradually wandered home, washed inexorably back.
Before I was born, my east coast parents moved here so my dad could surf on the weekends. I never surfed, but my friends and I became proficient boogie boarders.
I met my first boyfriend and encountered my first shark on Santa Monica beach. Maybe on the same day, I can’t remember.
The shark, an eight-foot blue, nearly bumped me off my board and was unceremoniously dragged onto the sand by enthusiastic locals (the leviathan was saved by the Coast Guard, relax).
Boogie boarding all day is hard work, so we’d usually have lunch—or just pie—at Patrick’s Roadhouse, a legendary diner in Santa Monica Canyon. In the back was an ornate wooden table reserved exclusively for Arnold Schwarzenegger, who frequented the place (never when we were there).
The owner, a white-haired old character named Bill, would greet us by name and crack jokes with us. Once we found out after we’d eaten that we’d forgotten to bring money, or wallets of any kind. He let us write him an IOU. Patrick’s Roadhouse is still there, but Santa Monica, like the rest of the city, is a shell.
To this day, it’s a ghost town with plywood on nearly every window.
You know what else is everywhere? Homeless people.
Not just glassy-eyed gutter punks lounging in decrepit tents. I mean ranting, fully naked zombies defecating and peeing on every corner. It’s been called Skid Row by the Sea for years, but today Skid Marks by the Sea is more accurate. It looks like someone opened the prison in Aliens 3 and let the inmates out at Wilshire and Ocean Avenue.
(Side note: the median price of a home in Santa Monica is $3,750,000, making it the third most expensive ZIP code in America.)
And as of this week, thanks to the new L.A. County dining restrictions, you can’t eat any pie on Patrick’s outdoor patio. Even if you’re Arnold.
Rats Off a Stinking Ship
Another wonderful family we know is leaving for good this week. Except the U-Haul they reserved months ago is suddenly unavailable.
They were told there is not a single U-Haul in California right now, but they are welcome to fly to Dallas to pick one up. So they can drive it to Los Angeles, pack it, and drive it to Nashville. No prob!
The PODS and the moving trucks are all sold out, too.
Current tally of families I know who either have left, or are about to leave southern California: six. And I don’t know that many people.
Today at the hair salon, my non-political stylist told me that at least 10 of her clients recently told her they’re moving to places like Texas and Idaho. This is at a tiny salon with one chair!
One of her clients said they’re leaving with the entire extended family, and they plan to get houses in the same neighborhood. My hairstylist just bought her first house here last year but said, “if they shut me down again, I’m out of here.”
How selfish! Who’s going to keep Peachy looking peachy if she flees?
Should I Stay or Should I Go Now
“Just move already!” happy red-state residents shout at me on Twitter when I complain. “How can you even live in Commifornia? You nuts? Better bury your guns!”
Haha. Did I just type that? Gun, what guns? We don’t own any legally purchased firearms, I hate guns, they kill people, I’d never own any, no need to knock on my door looking for any.
But my haters do have a point. We are less free here. A lot less.
Yes, it’s a police state. Yes, the sheriffs busted my son’s school dance which had a few too many kids hanging out.
Yes, I am a political dissident forced to write my little screeds in the closet with the lights off on a typewriter I keep hidden under the baseboards, typing while the shower is running so no one can hear. Which also makes me a water waster, which carries a life sentence in solitary while they pipe Barbra Streisand songs into your cell.
My mostly peaceful neighborhood these days is riddled with the cursed “In this House We Believe in Science” and “Refugees Welcome” signs. Everyone is welcome here!
Everyone but me, that is.
After the first riots this summer, I spent hours looking at Zillow porn, making my fantasy list of houses to move to in the Free States like Idaho, Texas, Tennessee, Montana, and Florida.
Somewhere red, somewhere cheaper, somewhere with decent schools and maybe some friends already settled. Someplace not too cold (sorry Bozeman!) or too hot and muggy (sorry Sarasota!). Actually, they all seem lovely.
In fact, I’d move to any of those places if our Governor and Chief Hair Gel Enthusiast Gavin Newsom (and his “first partner,” which is what he calls his wife) come for me, gold-plated pitchforks in hand.
Except right now, I just can’t do it.