My wife and I have bought a house up in Washington state. We’re renting it out for now, but expect someday to retire there. We’ve been discussing retirement for the last two or three years, and it just occurred to me that at no time did my wife, a California native, ever suggest we retire here in California.
I think my wife has long ago come to the same conclusion I did years ago: the crazy is too strong here. Crazy is a novel thing, but not after this many years of it (in my case, I’ve been living in California for 36 years, and thank you for your sympathy). I remember learning to be unfriendly about 33 years ago, when the nth person I met and was friendly to started telling me about how she was reincarnated from Cleopatra (always Cleopatra; apparently nobody has ever been reincarnated from Cleopatra’s maid or slop jar handler). Or how they regularly talked to ghosts. Or how in spite of the heavy five o’clock shadow and the hairy chest, really and truly, way deep down, he’s a woman. Or how the world is actually flat, or heating up like a bunsen burner, or being controlled by Jewish or Catholic or Muslim bankers in a secret location in, well, it’s secret. Or how airplanes piloted by government workers are spraying deadly chemicals and killing us by the millions. Or how Republicans cause dandruff and bad breath. You name it, they’ll tell it to you. Crazy people have to share their craziness, because they take your friendliness as a sign that you approve of it.
Man, there’s only so much of that you can take. Every time we go up to see the house or visit the, um, that secret location in Washington, it’s so refreshing to be surrounded everywhere you go with what can only be characterized as “normal” people. What a relief! Now I know why most Californians leave the state for their vacations.
Today, for example, I came into work (only six to eight years more, thank God) and two co-workers were discussing the “realism” of The Handmaid’s Tale, a television show that is to realism as vinegar is to jelly doughnuts. Seriously, there’s nothing at all real about it, it’s some angry lesbian’s fantasy about how awful men truly are. And the people talking about it were both men. How can I make this stuff up?
As I said, I’m counting the years at this point. The catch is my young, young, young wife – I will have to wait over a dozen years for her to be able to retire, otherwise she loses a nice pension. Ah well, youth has its compensations.