This week’s Listicles topic at Monday Listicles is your hometown.
Mind if I gush?
I was born and raised in Marin County, California. It’s defined a huge part of who I am, and I’m passionate about where I’m from – so first I’m going to give you a photo tour of one of the most beautiful places in the world.
To get there, just head north from San Francisco, and once you cross the Golden Gate bridge, you’re there.
After you drive across the bridge you enter a rainbow tunnel, the first indication that you’re entering a pretty special place:
The biggest indication that you’re in a special place is Mount Tam. This mountain was always a character in the setting of my life – giving me a grounding point so I always knew where I was, where I was going, and where home was.
On the other side of Mt. Tam there’s more of the Pacific ocean – and Muir Woods, Stinson Beach, and Bolinas…
Bolinas is a bastion for surfers and the hippie counterculture – my husband would be chased out with pitchforks and torches for his conservative political views, while I’d probably get sucked into whatever cult was going.
Bolinas earned a reputation for being the most secretive place in the United States because of residents tearing down all destination signs to keep out the bad karma that emanates from all other places – leaving the road to Bolinas completely unmarked.
But I know how to get there.
I grew up in the town of San Rafael. George Lucas filmed parts of the movie American Graffiti there:
My husband and I bought our first house in picturesque San Anselmo:
Yuppie San Anselmo is next door to down-to-Earth Fairfax (whose town motto is, “Only In Fairfax” and has “no chain anything”). The ice cream store serves organic flavors like Honey Lavender and Rose Petal ice cream.
Needless to say my husband would be run out of town for scoffing at the town parade:
10 About My Hometown
1. In 1978 NBC News produced a program about Marin called “I Want It All Now.” It aired nationally and implied that Marin County, one of the most affluent communities in the country, with the highest per capita divorce rate in the nation, the highest per capita number of hot tubs, peacock feathers, Porsches, and New Age kooks (according to them) was shallow and self indulgent.
Want to see it? Click here.
What do I think? Well. Keep reading.
2. Marin is like the handsome quarterback in high school (the one with the cleft chin) – so gorgeous that you have a hard time seeing what’s really underneath. I’m generalizing, but to me Marin is an enclave with its own indulgent, entitled reality – one that’s separate from the rest of the world. It’s cut off but doesn’t know it. I didn’t see this until I moved away - and was able to see it from a less biased perspective.
3. We moved to the East Coast when Fi was 3 because of my husband’s career, and I did not want to leave. Our plan was always to return. But now after 6 years on the East Coast – I’m not so sure I want to move back.
4. Why? Because I’m not sure I want to raise my children there.
5. Why? There is an enormous amount of entitlement in Marin – an ease of lifestyle that facilitates self-indulgence in the form of too much time spent trying to find yourself, obsess about the right organic food, and psychoanalyze the shit out of basically everything.
6. I used to think that all the stories of people I know were typical but turns out, they’re not. Here are some random examples of stuff that has happened back home off the top of my head and in no particular order:
- A mom-friend and her husband moved to Bolinas and joined a “church.” She bought the leader of the cult a compound, and left her husband for this woman – but the husband stayed in the picture. She took her child out of school and followed her to India.
- After her divorce, a mom I know recently got divorced and sold her home for $20 million. Dollars.
- Another mom-friend who is a vegan left her Stanford-educated husband because he was doing psychotropic drugs to find God. He exited the mainstream corporate world, began dressing like Willy Wonka, changed his name to “Magic S.” and opened a vegan chocolate factory. I’m not kidding.
- After moving to California with his wife, my cousin, a relatively normal Canadian who graduated from Yale, went vegan and named his baby Xenops (which means ‘alien tree’ – I looked it up). Oh, yeah. He also changed his baby’s last name from the family name, to the name of a tree. It seems like people who move there from other places go even more beserk for the New Agey-ness than we locals do.
This kind of shit just doesn’t happen in Maryland.
7. It may seem like paradise, but most people seem to be on antidepressants, in therapy, divorced, and/or unknowingly submerged in a never-ending quest to try to find themselves, and to imbue their privileged lives with meaning. I’m all for finding out who you are – and Lord knows I’ve had my share of Gestalt – but there comes a point when you just need to go out and live.
8. Not many locals will admit it, but marriage is seen as disposable or temporary. There is tacit permission to leave a relationship if it gets hard – and this cultural indifference bothers me.
9. Even though it espouses to be a liberal, open-minded town – the truth is that politically it’s pretty intolerant of any other views. I’m a liberal, but my husband is a conservative – I didn’t see this one-dimensional side of Marin until I saw it through his eyes.
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