Tag Archives: California lifestyle

5 Ways To Tell I’m Not A Native Californian

These Top Lifestyle Differences Stand Out To  A Southerner

Hermosa Beach sunset volleyball Goodyear blimp
In California, they play volleyball on the beach, sometimes under the Goodyear Blimp.

Despite living in California for 20 years, there are way to tell that I am not a native of the state.

I am from the South and there are just certain differences that to me – and others who know these things –  always make it apparent that I  am definitely from somewhere other than here.

1.) I Don’t Clean My Porch With A Water Hose

This is one thing I’ll never understand about Californians. They clean their porches and decks with a water hose.

They bring out the hose, spray the deck over and over, side to side, get everything wet within a half-block radius, then roll it up and do it again the next week. This, in a drought-stricken state where water is at a premium, mind you.

I’m not a native Californian. I use a broom.

2.) I Don’t Eat Avocados Or Guacamole

Californians consume avocados – and guacamole in particular – the way Canadians consume beer. Which is to say a lot.

They put avocados in salads and dishes at house parties and serve it as a side dish. Eating guacamole with Mexican-style chips is a true element of California lifestyle and people also put blobs of it on things like burritos.

When you mention the fact that avocados and guacamole are fattening, a native Californian will look at you as if you should be locked up in an insane asylum. Then they will say, in a low breath but definitely defiantly, “well it’s GOOD fat.”

3.) I Don’t Eat Artichokes (Especially The Raw Leaves)

Soon after I moved to the state, I got a girlfriend who was a true native Californian. When we went to restaurants, sometimes all she would order would be an artichoke. It’s a big, leafy thing that looks not unlike the big onion thing they serve at Outback Steakhouse.

She would pull off the leaves and scrape off something from the inside of them with her front teeth. This would be her entire meal.

That’s one of the first signs I knew that no matter how long I lived here, I would never be a true Californian.

4.) The Beach Is Used For Exercise Not For Partying

In California, people go to the beach to exercise. They run on it, play beach volleyball, even do yoga. They party after all this activity.

Not so in the South. There, the beach is for partying! Taking coolers full of beer and drinking in the sunshine. Hitting the dive beach bars after drinking on the beach.

Of course, in the South it’s legal to drink on the beach and not so anywhere in California.

5.) I Know About And Care About College Football

People in California have too much to do rather than to worry about  and follow their college football team on a year-round basis, as do people in the South. Why, they are scarcely aware there’s even a recruiting season, let alone spring football.

And when their teams play, they think the Pac-12 is the greatest conference in every sport, has the best football teams and always point out that it has won way more national titles than any other conference.

True on that last point, but how many other conferences play spots like water polo?

On California’s Beaches The Beach Path Is The Strand Not A Boardwalk

Where It’s Not A Carnival But  A Lifestyle

Manhattan Beach Strand
The beach path, here in Manhattan Beach, helps create the California lifestyle.


Besides the weather, the attire, the people and and the accent, there’s one more difference between beaches in California and those of the East Coast and the Jersey Shore in particular.

And that is the name of the sidewalk that runs parallel to the beach.

On the East Coast, it’s a boardwalk.

In California, it’s The Strand.

This is in large part because there are no boards on the walk path; it’s concrete. And it doubles as a running area and bike path and in Los Angeles, runs for close to 20 miles from Santa Monica south to Palos Verdes.

There are also bike paths and The Strand in Long Beach, Newport Beach and San Diego’s Pacific and Ocean beaches.

Californians do get a little prickly when some outsider calls it the boardwalk. Myself included, and I’m not even a native.

“Do you see any boards,” I say. “Here,” – and this is when I smile and lower my voice to a more friendly tone – “we call it The Strand.”

The Strand is where all life at the beach begins. It is between the sand and ocean on one side and houses on the other. This is broken up on occasion by piers in different beach cities.

Oh, and there’s one other difference between California and the East Coast beach paths, and this also applies to Florida: Most of the buildings along the path are houses that are either owned or are rentals.

In the other places, the beach is dominated by hotels and condos.

Come out and visit our California beaches and see for yourself. Just be sure and call the beach path The Strand.