Photo: Hermann Kaser

Telling everyone we’re from California. 

This is especially true when we travel internationally. We’ve learned over time that most people tend to be more interested in and accepting of us when we say we’re from the golden state instead of the broader — and much more controversial — United States. After all, the U.S. as a whole has plenty of issues, but California? We’ve got Mexican food and the beach, baby.

Hating on smoking.

The majority of Californians don’t smoke — cigarettes, that is — and there are very few areas within the state that cater to smoking culture. As a result, most Californians love to make a fuss (and feel secretly superior) whenever someone lights up near us. We’ll be the first ones to do the passive-aggressive cough charade if we happen to sit near someone smoking, we use the words “absolutely disgusting to describe second-hand smoke, and we’re always craning our necks around at the beach to see who’s ruining our perfect 80-degree day with a cigarette.

Bragging about our access to Mexican food. 

Mexican food is California’s claim to fame and one of the top five reasons most of us locals could never live abroad permanently. We’ve got the best chilaquiles, fish tacos, and carne asada anywhere outside of Mexico, and we love to announce it to out-of-towners in the most hyperbolic way possible. That place across the street has the best homemade tamales you’ll ever have in your life. They changed my world.

Talking about traffic and directions. 

Making small talk about the current (always terrible) state of traffic is a Californian pastime. The traffic is always — without fail — horrendous, inconvenient, and getting worse every day. But the next best thing after talking about traffic is talking about the clever ways we try to avoid it. Californians can have a 40-minute conversation with each other about navigating the 101 at rush hour or which side streets to take to avoid the shit-show that is the intersection of the 405 and the 10.

Avocados.

Avocado toast, avocado smoothies, avocado face masks, avocado pesto, fresh guac — anything avocado-related, we’re in. Californians are obsessed with avocados: we like to buy them organic at the farmers market, we request sides of avocado slices on everything we order at restaurants, and we relish any chance to teach avocado novices how to peel back the stems to check for ripeness.

Rain.

Probably because it happens so infrequently (especially in SoCal), we Californians are strangely enamored with rain. Not actual rain, though — just the idea of it. We don’t want to deal with flooded backyards and horrendous traffic on the 5, but we love the concept of a cozy day where all we have to do is snuggle up with a cup of tea as we watch the drops accumulate on our windows.

In-N-Out Burger. 

We Californians consider In-N-Out to be the state’s best fast-food establishment for a few reasons: the menu is simple, the fries are crispy, and the food is delicious and seriously cheap. Well, cheap for California, anyway.

It’s our first choice for fuel after a long beach day, the best option for a late-night pit stop, and the only place we want to go when we’re returning home to California after a trip out of state.

Wearing open-toed shoes year-round. 

We like to let our toes breathe. Yes, even if it’s 50 degrees out and even if the ground is slightly damp from the previous night’s unexpected rain. We’re not accustomed to imprisoning our feet all day every day, and we reserve the right to wear Rainbows and strappy flats even in February if we feel like it.

Health food. 

Californians are all about that green juice, quinoa bowl, gluten-free pizza lifestyle. California is a mecca for alternative diets (celiacs, vegans, and vegetarians rejoice), but it’s also at the forefront of super delicious, easily accessible health food thanks to small businesses, local cafes, farmers markets, and farm-to-table restaurants.

Using reusable bags at the grocery store. 

We take our recyclable bags seriously here. Most Californians leave at least a few cotton totes or Lululemon bags in the trunk of their car so they’re always prepared to do a little environmentally-conscious grocery shopping. And it’s not because anyone behind the checkout counter shames you or makes you feel guilty if you don’t have reusable bags — it’s that if you do have them, you usually get a big smile of congratulations and a nod of appreciation from the bagger. Win win.

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