California Dreamin’

Although the hotel bar was fully occupied, its adjoining restaurant could boast no more than 15 percent occupancy. As computed by table or chair, take your pick.

Upscale in a traditional-and-not-trendy way, the west coast destination draws political dignitaries as often as it does tourists and attendees for professional conferences. Be assured I was not among the two former categories. And the most significant part of the previous sentence is “west coast.” California, specifically.

The stereotypes, jibes and ridicule about the state and its citizens appear as often as avocados on, well, everything there. The insults are as frequent as the envy, enamor and excitement the state engenders.

In an act of self-deprecating parody, television producer Norman Lear once had his Archie Bunker character describe the state as “the land of nuts and fruitcakes.”

California is all that, but unlikely uniquely so. And more. I’m reasonably confident this is the place where the current vocal pattern began. It’s the one where at the end of every sentence one raises one’s voice. As though each statement were a question. Puh-leeze.

Or the verbal pattern where every sentence begins with the word “So” and ends with “right”. The “right” will sound like a question but in fact is a call for affirmation.

Meanwhile, back at the hotel bar, a male and a female couple were parked at one end canoodling. I know they were a couple. They were connected. Literally. Physically.

No, not that way.

They had, you see, brought with them their pet. (Sidebar: maybe this is too harsh. It could have been a service animal.) And the pet had the habit of bridging the couple using each one’s arms and hands.

The pet was a two-foot snake.

No one said a word.

Just another early evening at the bar.

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