Part of the issue is that the nice things about California are becoming less nice as the state gets more crowded. It used to be the suburban dream to move to Orange County, amid the orchards and farms. With almost all the farmland gone, parts of this one-magical county, home to Disneyland, start to seem usual and urban.
Housing prices are so high that most people can’t afford to live anywhere near the coast. The search for cheap housing has pushed people away from the Pacific and into places like the “Inland Empire,” which is an hour or two drive through smog-filled traffic jams from Los Angeles. A car trip from the Inland Empire toward the coast gives visitors the feeling of being stuck in looped film reel:
Suburb; strip mall; mountains; valley; highway; suburb; strip mall …
But they still have In-N-Out Burgers, right? That’s got to account for something. The problem with California is that it’s just too expensive. Perhaps I don’t know what I’m talking about, but it strikes me as the kind of place where the quality of living, overall, just isn’t that great.