Now, I know plenty of people in The OC who love it there (I only call it "The OC" because it pisses off the people who actually live in Orange County), and will proclaim its merits until the day they die. However, I am not sure I could survive there. Everything is so...spread out. I almost drove my car to fume exhaustion looking for a gas station. I have never once seen a grocery store within five miles of a house. I have to wonder if people in Orange County have groceries drop-shipped from LA.
But despite the fact that the county has spawned tv shows like *gag* The OC and the “reality” show The Real Housewives of Orange County (which is frightening in so many ways I couldn’t even begin to express myself) among other horrible vices, there are a few good things about Orange County. The beaches really are better in OC than in LA (but not by much anymore, and really now, can I even use the beach as a metric by which to compare?). Pollution girdled on three sides by the 405, 10, and 5 freeways can’t fight the motion of the ocean. There are better places to play golf in OC, or at least they don’t have those ridiculous stunted excuses for driving ranges in Koreatown with nets 50 yards away and hanging targets masquerading as the pin.
And one thing for which I most certainly have to give credit to The OC is…family.
A little more than half of my family now lives in The OC. Somewhere in our Delicious gene pool, about half of the DNA got scrambled, confusing that half of the DNA into thinking that moving to the OC is a good idea. My parents are living a life of luxurious leisure on a golf course where the big effort of the week is trying to figure out how to get rid of the bunnies that get into their garden from the back nine; and one half of my twin sisters just moved to a house near Newport that is so big and new, I have to go stay with them on some weekends because they tell me the house feels so empty. O. The. Horror.
I and the other smarter twin are still in LA. I know it doesn’t make biological sense. Don’t twins have the same DNA? Don’t ask me how it works. Maybe it was an environmental mutation. Or maybe it has something to do with…kids.
My sister and her busband moved to The OC because of my baby niece. The OC is cleaner for the baby. The OC is more spacious for the baby. The OC has bigger, newer houses for the baby. The OC also has neighbors who live in actual neighborhoods that have names like “Sunnybrook Farm” and “Walnut Grove.” (Hush! Let me continue on my little mockerade.) Staying with my sister for the weekend, I witnessed something I haven’t seen since I lived in Cincinnati, Ohio. I peeked out the window of their study where I temporarily took up residence to blog about stuff like this. My sister was outside on her cul-de-sac sidewalk with my niece on her hip, chit chatting with her neighbors from the up the street, also with their babies.
They were like…omg. They were like…talking to each other.
I never talk to my neighbors. In fact, I am not all that fond of my neighbors, especially since I could write at least four paragraphs about the hag upstairs who plays the piano at 8 am on Sunday mornings. But that’s a subject for another day.
The OC is a different life. My sister and I baked Halloween cupcakes with little Jack o’ Lantern faces. That’s not all that different from my LA life, right? Right, except that I bake when I’m stressed and turn the output over as deliverables to my co-workers, and my sister gives Halloween cupcakes to her neighbors who give her a tiny plush pumpkin filled with candy, Halloween stickers, and spider rings.
The cupcakes were delicious. It took us about 45 minutes of drop by drop adjustment with yellow and red food coloring to get something close to pumpkin-orange. Personally, I thought the cupcakes looked like very ripe peaches with mad faces.
My sister also lent me a Halloween costume she wore a few years ago. She wasn’t going to be wearing it this year. She couldn’t. She’s a Mom now. She’s in The OC now. There was no way she could dress up as a Naughty Pixie. Since Halloween is every girl's excuse to dress like a slut and be applauded for it, she let me take her costume to let out my inner ho. Little does she know that I dress like a ho every day! Naughty Pixie? Amateur.
Instead, my sister projected her inner ho in a more modest way onto my niece. Even though my niece is still too young to go trick-or-treating around the neighborhood, she was an octopus. Of all the things that my sister could have chosen for a baby girl, like a fluffy bunny or a tiny pink fairy princess, she chose an octopus.
I am a highly sensitive, emotional, melodramatic girl. There is no denying that. However, I rarely cry. I don’t cry when I’m in pain (which isn’t that often anyway because despite my having a severe case of hypochondria, I have an unsually high tolerance for pain). I don’t cry when it’s “that time of the month.” If I watched Oprah, I know I wouldn’t cry. I don’t cry in movies. I don't cry.
But when I saw my niece as a tiny pink octopus, I had tears in my eyes because she was so cute. I have to hand it to my sister. She comes from the fashion industry, so she knows how to make an impact.
** a year ago today, trick or heat? both at india's tandoori **