16 March 2008

Maine vs. California

Last week when I was whining and moaning about my month of lists, a reader named Larry suggested I make a list about all the reasons Maine is better than California. That’s a fun idea for a list, but then two days ago I noticed that Larry beat me to it with a post of his own.

Just now, as I sat back down to address this, it seems his blog is nowhere to be found. Larry? If you're still out there, can you let me know where you went?

ANYWAY, I'll move on with my thoughts about it...

Upon reading his blog, it sounds to me like Larry misses Maine… and having lived in California myself, I can’t say I blame him. Though I have a sneaking suspicion that if Larry were to spend a week here right now with these grey skies and this weather, he might appreciate sunny CA just a little bit more.

The reality is, I don't think these two places can be compared fairly because they are just so darned different. Almost like two foreign countries.

So what I want to do, just to make it fun, is to take Larry’s list and make my own little commentary. Larry, I hope you’re game! Part of Larry’s list is below with my comments in italics. (And to all my dear friends who live in CA, I miss you!)

**(and a quick disclaimer - for me, this is primarily about Southern California. You know, San Diego and L.A.)**

1.) Even though CA is having spring like 70 degree weather right now, and ME is under tons of ice and snow; ME actually has real seasons (even if they do have funny names).

Ok, here’s my take on this… four seasons seem WONDERFUL when you’re not in them. When we lived in San Diego, it used to freak me out to string Christmas lights on our palm tree (yes, I really did that) but I loved to be able to go to the beach ALL year long. And the only jacket I owned was a light windbreaker. Coat closet? What’s that? Mud room? Ha!

2.) Unlike CA (smog), you can actually "breathe fresh air" in ME.

Yep, Larry takes the cake on this one – no contest… though I spent 10 days at Lake Tahoe and it was just about as clean and clear as Maine.

3.) In ME, rush hour does not mean an hour of "stop and go 5 mph" traffic.

This is true; unless one is trying to enter or leave Maine in the summer time on a weekend. Try getting through the big I-95 tollbooth in southern Maine on a summer weekend day and you’ll get a taste of California traffic.

4.) The official language of ME is actually English.

I do remember coming to Maine and going to a McDonald’s drive-thru where I was utterly shocked that the people working there spoke plain, American English. In California, one would think McDonald’s is an ethnic restaurant. I kid you not.

5.) The ME beaches are soooooo much better than CA's.

I have to take issue with this one for two reasons. First, accessibility. In CA, for the most part, you just drive up to the beach (which is right IN town) and park along the road (which is right next to the beach) and parking is usually free. Second, two words – palm trees. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Maine beaches. But I do miss the palm trees. Just not at Christmas.

6.) Mainers do not seem to rush around like chickens with their heads cut off.

No, that would be our tourists. ;)


I think that ought to do it. If I hear back from Larry and/or discover what happened to his blog, I'll post a link here and you can see if you agree with the rest of his list. I do also have to point out that California wins for having the most sunny days and the most agreeable climate. Oh, and how could I forget - no black flies out there.

The weird thing is, having said all that, I'd really rather be here. Maybe it has to do with the fact that our humble home in Maine would have a fraction of the land out there, but cost about 10 times what we paid for it.

Or maybe it's the quiet lifestyle here. Or the amazingly colorful autumns.

Actually, in the end, I think the biggest thing for me here is the people. Let's face it, although there are a ton of nice folks in California, the people of Maine have captured my heart.

And lastly, this is home. End of story.

Have a good week, friends.

Copyright © 2008 - Paulla Estes


Larry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Katherine Mitchell said...

I'm from California (as is my whole family) and I now live in Maine. I've met A LOT of Southern Californias that have moved to Maine, actually. They all HATE it!!! As do I, BUT, I'm beginning JUST BARELY beginning to appreciate it with it's rustic charm and it's hard not to like it in the Autumn. But summer suck with all the nasty bugs and winter here is just hell on earth. Been living here nine years, so I've had my taste but was fortunate enough to spend last summer home in Pasadena, CA going swimming everyday in a POOL not some damn lake. (: Also, the food here is VERY limited, I mean, come on, where are the taco trucks?

Paulla said...

Katherine, I TOTALLY agree about the Mexican food. I have to go out west once/year just to get my fix, lol. I'm glad you're starting to like it here. Funny, I wrote this post 5 years ago - and I do like it here better now than I did then.

The only thing I will NEVER get used to is the lack of being able to see the horizon. So many trees here. They're beautiful, but they make me feel claustrophobic at times. Which is why I go to the beach often. ALL year. :)

ccvsafa said...

Have you ever tried skiing or other winter activity? My husband and learned to ski one year (though not very well) and spent a few weekends at Sugarloaf. Even if you don't ski, there's always tubing, which is a lot of fun! Or just socializing in the lodge, or outdoor hot tub (it's not bad!) The key is to have fun in Maine in the winter. It makes it go MUCH faster!! Pam Leach, Rockland