I make new friends.
I've often said that living in Santa Cruz is like going to a Grateful Dead concert. Every day. Of course, not everyone here is a deadhead but there are a few who are just...deadhead-like.
Feeling settled and putting down roots, I am. Yet I realize it's no small feat to feel really comfortable in one's environs, unless one learns to speak as the natives speak. A daunting task to be sure --once you've hung around Santa Cruz a while you can't help but notice there are distinct communication styles - dare I say - even languages.
I will try to simplify, but like Toulouse Lautrec, be forewarned that I may come up a wee bit short.
They're blonde! They're cute! They have names like Tyler, Skyler, Tiffany, and Amber; the famous ones have nicknames that seem really...gnarly. Keywords: drop in, epic, swell, gnarly, shred, stoked, awesome, spark one (i.e., smoke pot), air, bro, dude, sweet, rad.
Ya might just smell 'em before you see 'em. (And no, I'm not talking about the transient population, even though they are rather...omnipresent.) Deodorant is eschewed in favor of patchouli, as are microwave ovens, polyester, bathing, and televisions. Keywords: organic, free-range, sprouts, anarchist, puere tea, free, burner (i.e., Burning Man attendee but also pot smoker).
Resembles aforementioned "hippie" but tends to be more upwardly mobile and upscale. Keywords: progressive, chakra, cleanse, goddess, tantric, yoga, burner (i.e., Burning Man attendee but also pot smoker). The most important keywords are not really words at all, but actions: long embraces, direct eye gazing, usually followed by each person placing a hand on the other's heart. The best word I can think of to describe it is "earnest." Best bet is to prepare to hug and be hugged.
What can I say, they just look lost. Most are likely to be under-dressed for the swift climate changes that can occur once the sun goes down. Keywords: it costs HOW much? Hwy 17 traffic, how do we get to the beach, where is the nearest bathroom, Hwy 17 sucks, where do I park, what weirdos. Best bet is to not go out on the weekend, especially downtown.
Still with me? I hope so, because the next episode finds me dipping my toe into the deep end of the...DATING POOL.