I joked recently that I’ve just been making my way down the coast. I grew up in the East Bay, moved to the Central Coast for college, and have been lucky enough to call San Diego my home for over 3 years now. But no matter how long I live here or anywhere else, I’ll always think of the Bay Area as my hometown. This is obvious in some ways — my sports affiliations, for one. But if you listen/watch/ask the right questions, there are a few other tip-offs.
1 | I still say “5” or “I-5” instead of “the 5.”
If you want to find out where a Californian is from, ask her what freeway she takes to get from San Francisco to LA or vice versa. If she says “the 5,” she’s from Southern California. If she says “5” or “I-5,” she’s from NorCal. I don’t know why this is, and actually, I do say “the” with SoCal freeways (the 210, the 405, the 8, etc.), but I would never, ever, ever, ever say “the 580” or “the 680.” And for the major interstates — 101, 1, 5 — I don’t say “the.”
2 | I thought Mission burritos were normal burritos until college.
I mean, obviously there was Taco Bell and sit-down restaurant burritos, but I honestly thought that enormous burritos, stuffed with rice, beans, meat, cheese and other toppings, made in front of you assembly-line-style, wrapped in foil were normal/standard everywhere. Then one time, Husband and I were discussing state dishes and I said “I don’t think California has one official state dish,” so we looked it up. Turns out, there isn’t “one” official state dish, there are many, including Mission burritos. When I read the description from Wikipedia, I said, “…that’s just a normal burrito, isn’t it?” Turns out, it isn’t (for better — California burritos — or worse — Tex-Mex burritos).
3 | I still say “hella” every now and then.
When I’m really getting into it, I’ll even call something “hella legit.”
4 | San Francisco is and always will be “the city.”
As in, “I grew up in Fremont, about 45 minutes from the city.” Or “I’m going to the city tonight to watch the game.” Or “When the lights…go down…in the citayyyy…” (which is my ringtone, btw.)
5 | Lake Tahoe > Big Bear
Like, the > symbol really isn’t adequate here. Is there a symbol for “does not even begin to compare”? Don’t tell me you can shred decent pow-pow at Big Bear. Just don’t bother.