August 8, 2014 | by Mark McDonald
Texican, Welcome to California

Tattoos, $4.19 unleaded, Speed Humps and Dudes

By Mark S. McDonald
Editor, sportsandoutdoors.guru

LIVERMORE, Calif. — You know you’re a Texas bumpkin lost in California when …

 

  • The waterfront of San Francisco can have a mesmerizing effect. Here’s the view from your second-floor table at Aliotto’s. Enjoy.

    The waterfront of San Francisco can have a mesmerizing effect. Here’s the view from your second-floor table at Aliotto’s. Enjoy.

    You still can’t get enough of San Francisco. Couldn’t live there. No way. Don’t have the tolerance for joggers bumping into me on the city sidewalk, government over-reach and everybody-is-a-victim culture. But beyond that, for seafood, the “Bay effect,” regattas, sea lions, rapid transit, jackets in August and sourdough bread, this town gots game.

 

  • You drive over a speed hump, not a bump. No need for confusion. It’s the same man-made rise in the pavement, installed specifically to piss off the locals.

 

 

  • Nobody is cooler than your pedi-cab driver George. Pedaling up to 45 miles a day, he knows every inch of his route to Pier 39. A surprise bonus for day in The City.

    Nobody is cooler than your pedi-cab driver George. Pedaling up to 45 miles a day, he knows every inch of his route to Pier 39. A surprise bonus for day in The City.

    Everybody calls you Dude. Huh? I thought the Left Coast was New York West, the capital of kool. What next, groovy? Or far out! At UTEP, we had a defensive back from Washington, D.C., the late Eric Washington. We called him “Blade,” for his skinny, bowed legs and because the team leader always needs a nickname. Blade reported for two-a-days calling everybody Dude. Here, the local priest is Dude. So Californians think Dude is edgy and hip? The year Blade first called me “Dude” was 1970. Nearly half a century ago.

 

  • #3 Boudin bakery.JPG

    Follow your nose to Boudin Bakery. Just for one day, ditch the gluten-free diet, and dive into the sourdough. Oatmeal raisin cookies are plenty good, too.

    All teenage girls wear size 2 shorts. All teenage boys wear the same vacant stare. Under-developed males, aged 12-30, come standard-equipped with a blank expression.

 

  • Tattoo contests … first one to cover the last inch of his epidermis wins?

 

 

  • On local highways, you see a few miniature, electric cars. In Texas, we call them golf carts. Apparently, our neighbors drive these little rigs from the back seat. Oh, wait. They don’t have one.

 

 

  • As you eat your way across The Embarcadero, try the so-called Seafood Tower at Aliotto’s. Lunch, before wine or dessert, will set you back $65.

    As you eat your way across The Embarcadero, try the so-called Seafood Tower at Aliotto’s. Lunch, before wine or dessert, will set you back $65.

    Unleaded gas is $4.19. A week earlier, in Levelland, Texas, it was $2.99. Blame George Bush for that, too?

 

  • At the Oakland airport renting a mini-van for a week costs north of $2,000. “Look, honey, we just bought a used car!”

 

 

  • Coffee bars are places people go with their laptops and cell phones to ignore each other. Reminds me of citified yankees crowding into so-called a so-called “sports bar” to watch a game on TV — with total strangers. Swel-l-l-l-l. No, wait. Bitchin’, Dude.

 

  • Where people wade through a crowded airport, head down, blindly texting in full stride. Just once, I’d like to see somebody square up on a guy, take the texter on his chest, like a basketball defender taking a charge. I’d pay to watch.

 

  • A setting you won’t find in Notrees, Texas, it’s just a typical morning on Taylor Street.

    A setting you won’t find in Notrees, Texas, it’s just a typical morning on Taylor Street.

    “‘Sup.” Not “good morning,” not “howdy.” No greetings or salutations. Local hipsters greet each with ‘sup, short for what’s up. Kids greet their school principal with ‘sup. As in should we sup together?

 

  • Here in Cali, 30 is not too old for skateboarding. I hear there’s public support for Cali colleges to offer an advanced degree in skateboarding.

 

  • Blossoms add color to the street scene as a tourist mugs for the camera along The Embarcadero.

    Blossoms add color to the street scene as a tourist mugs for the camera along The Embarcadero.

    First adult male in Cali to tuck in his shirt must move to Arizona. It is the law.

 

  • It’s 63 degrees on San Francisco Bay and a hoodie feels good. Forty miles east, in Livermore, it’s 101. Shade feels good. I’m confused, Dude.

 

 

 

  • Crepe myrtle trees here have better training than Navy SEALs. In a riot of vermillion, the trees grow more than 20 feet tall, saluting the heavens from a single trunk. I look at my own scruffy crepe myrtle at home and search for a green thumb.

 

Sobering message on a road sign. Welcome to California!

Sobering message on a road sign. Welcome to California!

Our intrepid editor just survived his seventh trip to California, this time following a 13-and-under Little League team while researching his next book: “They Gave Us Baseball — Now Look What We’ve Done,” to be released in 2015. Dude says he’s looking for his tie-dyed T-shirt and baggies.

 

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