Living on the East Coast: Misperceptions of California(ns)

There are four “issue areas” I came across early and often while spending the summer in New York City/ Jersey. The most obvious I can only attribute to The Beach Boys. One of the more common questions I have received, “Hey Bro, do you surf?!” I love The Beach Boys, they were my first concert ever when I was in 1st grade ( I’ve only been to 5 in my life, can you believe that?) And “Kokomo” still remains one of my all time favorites. But look, they romanticized California beaches. I think I’m going to coin the new term “Beach Boy Effect.”

Anyway, to the surprise of almost everyone in NYC and Jersey, I don’t know how to surf. When I say no, the common reaction is intense disbelief. “But doesn’t everyone in California surf?” Uh, negative ghost rider. Once people realize I’m serious that I don’t know how to surf, they either no longer take me seriously and still think I’m full of it. Either way, I still can’t surf.

Thanks to The Beach Boy Effect, every person outside of California thinks all Californians go on a Surfin

“Where are you from?” Since Danville does not have much name recognition outside of a 20 mile radius from the Oak Tree, San Francisco is the answer of choice. Undoubtedly a product of The Beach Boy Effect, there clearly is a lack of geographical understanding of California. 90% of people (not exaggerating) follow-up my statement with… the second misperception… wait for it… “I LOVE SAN DIEGO! IT”S SO BEAUTIFUL.” What is this, amateur hour?

The first couple times this happened I laughed and thought people were joking. But then it became a bit of a game once I realized that there was no understanding that these two cities were not even remotely close. And I found it highly amusing. I mean come on, they are at opposite sides of the state! Do people not look at Google Maps these days? It’s good to know that San Diego, LA and San Fran are all separated within a few minutes of each other, this will certainly help with getting from one place to the other faster. The carry over traffic from LA and SF could create some problems though on the one highway that connects the whole state though.

The campus that does not exist to the East Coast

I was definitely expecting the surfing question, some what expecting the SoCal love but was totally unprepared for the final problem: When people ask what school I go to, over half did not know what the University of California, Berkeley was! I mean, blank expressions would follow. I could have been speaking Spanish for all they knew.

I know this isn’t a major travesty that applies to all Californians but look, the UC system is the best public university system in the country. If people don’t know the best one in the state/ country, this is a problem! Cal? What is that? I found this shocking. One lady asked where UC Berkeley was located. I said “Uhhh… in Berkeley?” Others would ask how I like Cal Tech or Cal State. JV Tryouts were last week folks!

Probably the funniest thing people think about California is that the weather is perfect. During a blistering heat wave in June, someone made a comment to me that it must be difficult for me to deal with 90 degree weather since I’m from California. “Uhhh, during the summer time it does actually get into the 90’s and 100’s some times, we just don’t have humidity.” Other person- “It’s not always 70?” I can not make this stuff up if I tried, people really think these things! I’m probably going to melt because I have never experienced such heat before in perfect weather California.

Clearly most people have never been to San Francisco or else they would not think these silly things. The only logical explanation behind the surfing, geographical ignorance and aloofness about the weather can all be tied together with one simple idea: The Beach Boy Effect. While spectacular music that is great to listen to on a summer day while at the beach, it has forever altered and distorted the views of others everywhere.

Random Tidbit of the Day: If you like action movies/ their musical scores, the best Pandora channel to listen to is: Halo (Film Score) Radio. Damn right I’m listening to a Halo radio station. Get on my level. This station has it all from The Dark Knight, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Pirates, Indiana Jones and even Transformers. The song that is on while I’m typing this paragraph is the musical score when Jack Sparrow charges into the Kraken at the end Pirates 2: Dead Man’s Chest. Hello, Beastie. You’re welcome.

Is there a more manlier death than this? Why did the third movie suck so bad? Why is Jack Sparrow such a champion? If you went through this entire post without a song from The Beach Boys playing in your head, then you must be a Communist. Back Monday on Jersey Shore, Subways and more! Your cousin, Vinnie.


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