Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Learning rules and choosing battles

As a transplant from the comparatively laid-back Bay Area, I have had a lot to learn about the customs and values of Orange County. Early on, I "got" that shoes and bags were a way-bigger deal than I had appreciated at first. And in spite of not actively caring, I can now make much more fine-grained distinctions of bags or shoes that I see around town, just from being here long enough. I carried around an NPR tote bag instead of a purse (which is called a bag here), first just because it was a convenient size and I liked it, and then as an act of defiance well into the period after the distinctions started invading my brain space. But then my MIL gave me a designer bag for my birthday last year. I have mixed feelings. Its an easy ticket to avoid fighting that battle when I don't feel like it, but I do worry about it. I'm conflicted. I alternate the Prada with the tote.

And then there are cars. I already know that my hybrid is far from the vehicle of choice for this crowd. But there are more layers. Neighbors on BOTH sides of us have people who come to their houses to wash their cars, (using a portable, leaf blower-esque thing to dry), every week! Nuts, if you ask me. As a courtesy to my husband's family, I try to get my car washed once a month, so it doesn't get too bad, but that doesn't always happen. And the latest thing that I noticed: my car is the "wrong" color. Not only do all of my family members (husband's side) and all of my in-laws' friends drive the same make of car, but there is a tiny range of colors: white, black, and dark blue. That's it. My red car is just another thing about me, apparently, that screams: not from here.

1 comment:

Barbara DeMarco-Barrett said...

I love that you haven't totally melded into Orange County, in style and content. You are still very much you, which is great. I remember my years in the Bay Area though you. I can relate about the car, too; the second reason I'm happy for rain (the first is the drought) is my car is cleaned off, for a minute.