In honor of my trip to the Left Coast, please read this column three hours earlier than usual…
Greetings from the land of the Padres, six million fish taco restaurants, and a climate not even Oscar the Grouch could complain about (my kid watches a lot of “Sesame Street,” Oscar’s on the brain a lot these days.)
There are a lot of strange things about the wonderful state of California, things I’ve known were strange but I guess forget about since I only visit once every five years or so. Happily, I’ve gotten to experience some of them this week.
I am finishing up our third day in San Diego as I write this on Tuesday night, and our sixth day in California (the land of Steph Curry, Governor Jerry Brown, and the Los Angeles Chargers (man that sounds weird).
So far our vacation has been fabulous; we stayed with friends in Los Angeles for a couple days, made a quick pit stop to see the famous Pearlmans of Laguna Niguel, and now are at a rented house in La Jolla, down in San Diego with my family.
California has been as weird and wonderful as ever; my wife and I agree that we love this place but could never live here for more than a week a year; just not our speed.
Some quickie-thoughts from the place that loves Tony Gwynn more than anywhere else…
— So I have to lead with the most bizarre experience we’ve had out here: We’re in L.A.’s Grove Mall (famous for celebrity spotting, though we didn’t see any) last Friday, and we stopped in to the Nike store for a minute. My wife and our 2.5-year-old are riding down from the third floor and a woman (Asian, probably mid-40s) gets in on the second floor.
Within the span of five seconds, she looked at Nate, said “Oh what a cute little boy!,” snapped a picture of him, then walked out of the elevator while my wife and I just stood there, mouths agape.
I asked our friends who we were staying with about this and they just said “Yep, that happens. All the time.”
Sorry, that’s just freaking weird.
— I know the image of L.A. as laid-back is a little cliche, but popped into an Apple Store here and man, it’s like the stoner version of the store in NYC. Everybody’s chill, even the people who’ve been waiting a long time. Nobody seems to get upset, and everybody seemed to leave happy. That doesn’t happen in Manhattan.
— At our friends’ house in L.A. our boy discovered a mini-piano that their boys (5 and 7) loved to play. He barely stepped away from it in two days, except to follow the 5 and 7-year-olds around in whatever they were doing.
— The San Diego Zoo was definitely the highlight of our trip so far; it’s an amazing place, full of awesome animals like giraffes and hippos, and we got to see some leopards and jaguars and tigers up close, too. Cracked me up that all my little guy wanted to see was the monkeys and then we saw them and he immediately started talking about wanting to see ducks. I’m like “Ducks? We see those all the time!”
— Two things I’ve noticed about San Diegans so far: 1, They have lots of opportunities to buy a fish taco; seriously, there’s like 20 restaurants selling them within two miles of our rental house. And 2, nobody seems to care very much that the NFL’s Chargers have fled to Los Angeles. One woman I chatted up even said “Los Angeles? Is that where they went?”
Somehwere, Philip Rivers weeps.
**Finally today, I have to say just a few words about this United Airlines fiasco, which unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock, involved airport security personnel physically dragging a man out of his seat and off the plane when he wouldn’t “voluntarily” remove himself due to airplane seat overbooking.
First of all, this practice of flight overbooking is insane and should be stopped; can you imagine if an NBA team sold 20,500 seats for a 20,000 seat arena for a playoff game, then tried to get 500 people to voluntarily give up their seats for a future game?
It’s nuts, right? And yet we all just accept that the airlines can do this and that’s just the way it is.
Second, I continue to be amazed at how badly these corporate CEO’s handle these viral video stories; this schmuck at United, Oscar Munoz, first tried to blame the passenger and didn’t get to an actual “apology” until his third try, after United stock lost $1.4 billion in value since the incident happened.
Hey CEO’s, it’s OK to get the apology right the first try.
Finally, this idea that reporters are now digging into the man’s past and finding things he’s done wrong, as if that justifies what happened to him? It’s as bad as shaming a rape-victim, for God’s sakes. So he had a felony drug conviction 13 years ago, means there’s “nuance” and “more to the story” here?
Give me a break. Ridiculous and disgusting that this man’s past gets dredged up because he got manhandled off an airplane.
This world, sometimes…