Curt is Chicago native - but don't hold that against him. After stops in Madison and California, he moved to Waukesha in 2004 to open a downtown business.
So I did the craziest thing last month…
On the first of November I left for California- and I have decided that I won’t return to Wisconsin till spring. I am “opting out” of winter this season and instead of spending the next six chilly months shoveling hundreds of millions of snowflakes, I have chosen to spend it with hundreds of millions of people, stuck in traffic every day.
And before you get any crazy ideas about swinging by my apartment and throwing a huge party while I’m gone, or stealing my vintage tube television, let me forewarn you. I am subleasing my flat to a retired gentleman who worked in a very special unit of the CIA. I’m sure you have heard the saying, “shoot first, and ask questions later”. This guy doesn’t bother with the questions.
My decision to come back to California was not an easy one. I miss my friends, my family, a cold beer at a friendly pub, and the sound of drunks staggering the Waukesha streets every morning at 2AM.
I also miss my students at the art school. My business partner and our newest art teacher say they have everything under control and not to worry. But I feel as if I left a part of myself behind and it saddens me a little.
However, I reassure you that I’ll be back in the spring to teach again- I thoroughly enjoy it.
I have all but fallen out of the loop of politics and scandal in the downtown. I have been told that not much has changed- what little I do know I will keep to myself for now…
I do have to say that I find the politics of California pretty darn fascinating. A local Waukesha newspaper recently reported that my absence from the city was due to the fact that I was “out of the country”. While that is untrue, I do sometimes feel that California operates as its own unit- separate from the rest of the world. And interesting enough, in most places here, I am a minority.
So if you care, I would like to share with you some of the more curious moments I have experienced during my first month here…
If you have ever been to a mall in the early morning hours, you know what I’m referring to. Mall walkers are those folks who get their daily exercise by doing laps around the inside of the mall. They choose this venue (at least I always thought) as a means of avoiding the elements of winter. But here, in the sunshine state, where the weather is sunny and pleasant most of the time, there are mall walkers- and I am dumbfounded.
Seriously- are they afraid of something I don’t know about? Do California birds attack you sometimes without warning? Is the smog really that bad? Or is it something so sinister that outsiders like me are left to be the victims so that locals can live to see another day?
I have yet to find out. If I’m not back this spring, consider this blog as a warning.
Traffic on Game Day.
I was invited to the San Diego Chargers game last Sunday. This being my first time, I wasn’t aware that my two hour head start was not nearly enough to get me to the game on time.
To top things off, I got lost, and while I was speeding by a two-mile long stretch of traffic on the freeway it dawned on me that they were all taking the exit to the stadium. So I did what any out of state chump would do- I cut into traffic at the last second (yes, I became “that guy”). My dastardly deed did not go unnoticed however and soon there was a gentle tap on my window.
It was the CHP. And he was not as impressed with my move as much as I was. I rolled down my window and he politely said, “You cheated- exit the line.”
Exit the line? And go where? I was not the least bit familiar with where exiting the line was going to take me. I was convinced the next off ramp went to Tijuana. So I kindly asked the officer, “What’s the fine for cheating?”
He replied, “There is no fine for cheating, but there is a fine for disobeying an officer.”
Off to Tijuana I headed.
But my gray cloud of shame soon turned to a rainbow of goodness- I took the next exit, made two rights, a u-turn, and a left, and parked within walking distance of the stadium. I actually strolled into the stadium at the start of the game. Turns out Officer McSmartypants saved me about an hour in traffic. Gosh those guys are helpful. And darn good looking in those chaps and mirrored sunglasses.
California, the New Cheese State.
I can’t believe I am going to say this, but it’s true. This state is swimming in cheese. I ordered a hot pretzel the other day and instead of the usual one ounce shot cup of cheese that you usually get and only lasts you through half the pretzel, I was given a full six ounce cup of melty goodness.
Ladies and gentlemen I was less than conservative as I smothered my pretzel with the orange colored goo and when I was finished, I had enough cheesy wonderfulness left over for at least three more pretzels.
It was a great day. And while Wisconsin may be known for its quality of cheese, this state is fast becoming the leader of cheese production. One more reason to hate California.
On that note, I will bring this blog to a close. Enjoy the cold and snow and I will continue to update you on the fascinating world that is the People’s Republic of California. Believe me; we haven’t even scratched the surface yet…