1. Sleeping through earthquakes.
When your cousins from Idaho wake you up in the morning asking if you felt the 4.1 earthquake, you respond nonchalantly: “There was an earthquake last night? Weird. I slept like a baby.”
2. Spotting authentic Mexican food a mile away.
Is the restaurant on a map? Can you see it from the street? Is it in the corner of a shopping center sandwiched between a nail salon and a CVS? When you order at the counter, can you hear shouts of Spanish in the kitchen? Is there someone in the back hand rolling tortillas? Do they serve horchata and jamaica juice?
Growing up in SoCal means you know exactly what to look for to find quality hole-in-the-wall places when your craving for enchiladas suizas is out of control.
3. Properly using surf/skate/snow lingo in everyday conversation.
We know the more nuanced meanings of words like “dank,” “sick,” “rad,” and “gnarly.” Despite what it seems, these words of approval all have subtle, but uniquely different connotations and contexts — and we’ve mastered them.
What’s more, we’re able to use words like “stoked,” “super,” “killer,” and “pumped” in normal — even professional — settings on occasion, and not sound ridiculous (at least not to ourselves).
4. Picking the perfectly ripe avocado at the market, every time.
Years of buying and eating avocados has taught us the fine art of distinguishing between avocados that are just about ripe and avocados that look ideal but that will turn brown as soon as you slice them open to spread on your toast.
Knowing when to eat your avocado before it crosses over to the dark side of slimy brown nastiness can sometimes feel like life’s greatest mystery, but we know the trick: peel back the stem, look for a small circle of green, and you’re good to go.
5. Driving like someone from Fast and Furious.
Not only do we drive everywhere, we maneuver through some of the country’s worst, most rage-inducing traffic twice a day to commute, so we know how to get around fast and with style.
Reversing into a tight parking space in one swift turn, gracefully slowing your eighty miles an hour down to a cool seventy when you see a cop in the distance, swerving into the carpool lane to pass someone going sixty-five on the 405—these are crucial skills here.
6. Making workout clothes look chic.
We somehow manage to look effortlessly cool wearing just a simple polyester T-shirt and dry-wick shorts. We love bopping around town in our Nike Frees and baseball caps, and we know how to rock workout clothes on every occasion.
Going to an early dinner? Bust out the mid-calf leggings and patterned zip-up jacket. Making a quick grocery store run? Tennis shoes and a jaunty ponytail.
7. Being genuinely delighted when it rains.
It’s a rare treat to be so unaccustomed to a particular type of weather that you greet it with awe, wonder, and childlike glee instead of grumbles, indifference, or nonchalance.
It’s true that sometimes we may get a little terrified of an unprecedented downpour (What if there’s a landslide in my neighborhood? How will I drive home on the 5? Where do people sell umbrellas around here?), but most of the time — and especially in the midst of this awful drought — we’re stoked to see water actually falling from the sky.
8. Making small talk with absolutely anyone.
We learn from a young age how to converse with strangers in a friendly, light way, talking about the weather, the day’s events, and everything in between as we stand in line at the grocery store, order a Neapolitan shake at In-n-Out, or wait to be seated at a restaurant.
It doesn’t even matter if we’ve had a bad day, consider ourselves shy, or lose our voices — we’ll still be asking Rhonda at the register if she’s had a busy morning as she rings up our oranges.
9. Making sweet mermaid sculptures out of sand.
Us SoCal kids may not all be able to build a gorgeous sand castle, but we can sure as hell bury someone in the sand and sculpt the mound on top of them into a beautiful, bodacious version of Ariel using only our hands and endless buckets of water.
10. Justifying crazy expensive living costs.
We know our rent isn’t cheap, and we’ll often be the first to complain about it to friends outside of SoCal, but when a relative from Illinois argues that “living here just isn’t worth it,” we’ll jump to the area’s defense with the same level of enthusiasm necessary to explain the appeal of fresh fish tacos to someone who’s never heard of handmade corn tortillas.