Where I grew up, just about the worst place in the world a person could say they were from was Riverside. The only thing as bad as being from Riverside, was being from Fallbrook, and that was just San Diego's version of Riverside.
Riverside was everything us kids from near the coast thought was wrong with the world (Have you seen the SNL skits where Gov. David Patterson always talks about "New Jersey!"? It's like that): they drove lifted trucks with big, shiny rims. They went to "The River" (aka Lake Havasu) on Spring Break to get drunk. Their chicks wore thong bikinis and had long, fake nails. They hung out in the desert and dirt biked. My friends and I were more about driving whatever our parents let us, going to our local beach for Spring Break, wearing bathing suits that were at least semi-functional while we surfed, and getting a manicure or pedicure a few times a year for school dances.
Typical person you'd see walking around Riverside or Fallbrook
We hated when people from Riverside (aka the 909) decided to come to the beach. You could always tell who they were because they had a Famous Stars and Straps hat on sideways or Famous boardshorts and sometimes they wore socks and sandals. They'd also bring a surfboard or bodyboard that someone in their extended, redneck family had and try and go for a surf. I'm not in to localism or anything (surfer mentality of- this is my home break, no one else can catch a wave here unless I know them and say they can), but I am all for respecting the rules of surfing, such as not snaking (stealing) a wave from someone who is already on it. Not being a part of the culture, most of these guys didn't seem to get the rules so we mostly had this mentality (though we didn't vocalize it-well, at least not to them):
So, how come I'm talking about a group of lame people from an area I haven't lived in for 6 years (as of today, it's my moving to Australia anniversary and also the anniversary of MOTH Dude and I meeting! This time 6 years ago I was pounding shots with Bun, hoping to get up the nerve to meet him! eeeeeee!)? Well, see, this is how my train of thought has gone...Today, I had to listen to a recording of one of my calls in the call centre with my manager and we talked about what a direct person I am and that I have a certain way with words (and then she suggested, really nicely, I promise, no sarcasm) that maybe this wasn't the right line of work for me (anyway, a story for another day perhaps? and are all of these asides in parenthesis starting to make you mad? sorry!). So then I got to thinking about a certain incident that went down at one of my sister's water polo tournaments during a game against none other than the University of Riverside. So then I got to thinking about Riverside, in general, and thus, this rambling post.
So the incident at the Water Polo Tournament...
I'm sitting in the stands with my Mom at one of my sister's many tournaments; I often went to Nae's games throughout high school and then as often as I could when she became a Banana Slug for UC Santa Cruz. The game between UCSC and UCR is on in the water and the Riverside girls are playing really, really roughly. They're winning, but they are playing really dirty and you can see the Santa Cruz girls getting dunked and punched and overpowered by these beasts from (have I mentioned this yet?) Riverside. There are people behind me who are UCR supporters and they are starting to talk crap about UCSC and I'm listening and listening and listening and finally I turn to my Mom and say as loudly as possible, without actually yelling it at her, that, "At least the one thing the UCSC team has going for them is that they don't have to live in a hole of a place like Riverside. Isn't it awesome that we don't have to visit Nae in a place as crappy as Riverside? God, Riverside is shit!" And my Mom is looking at me at first like, "Why are you saying this to me right now?" and then as the Riverside supporters start commenting back she gives me the death stare that says, "Please kid, shut your mouth before we get rolled by this riff raff from Riverside" (well maybe it was more just the "Please, shut your mouth" part. My memory is a little fuzzy,but I'm sure my Mom hates Riverside, too. Right, Mom?). I ended up getting the UCR supporters so riled up that my Mom made us get up and walk to the other side of the pool during the game so that the war of words would not turn in to a full on brawl. In the end, I think UCSC ended up getting their asses handed to them by UCR but I know Nae appreciated that I had stuck up for her and the girls and that I had put those Riverside people back in their places.
And I'm assuming after reading this, you'll all hate me (unless you're from Orange County) and think of me as the entitled and spoiled brat from the OC and I guess, in a way, you'd be right. But let's bring this back full circle and I'll finish by saying that part of the reason for staying in Australia 6 years rather than the 4 months I had planned to, other than MOTH Dude, is that coming here was a reality check. I have friends here now that dirt bike and think lifted trucks are rad (though none of their chicks wear thong bikinis, thank God) and would have fun at "The River" and that doesn't make them bad or wrong or whitetrash. They're just different. So I went away a little princess from the OC and I think I've hopefully matured in to a (not so) young lady who is more accepting of others.
Oh man, did I take that full circle stuff too far? Are you throwing up in your mouth a little bit after those last few cheesy sentiments? Well, I'll just leave you with this then: I still think, 6 years on, "Thank God I don't live in a hell hole like Riverside!"