AMOUR, ARMOR, ARMOIRE: “A recent visit to Craigslist left me both smiling and cringing at the state of the written word,” reports Maggie Munro.
“Ads touted a ‘dinning’ table and a ‘Beth Tub.’ There was even something made of ‘Rod Iron.’ The ‘Balenisan’ furniture puzzled me; could it be from Bali? And the cabinet with ‘Big wonderful amour double doors’ was certainly giggle-worthy.”
Maggie, I once had a girlfriend who yearned for an “armor” for her bedroom. Did she mean something to keep lovers away, or have in mind passionate love, amour? Puzzled me until I realized that she meant an armoire, a wardrobe.
Maggie went on to say, “I learned that ‘awesome’ is the most overused word on Craigslist and !!!! the most overused punctuation. ‘Oooober cute,’ though misspelled, gets the point across, but I was puzzled by the ‘1970s chairs from a happier era.’ The Vietnam War, Kent State massacre, and Watergate were happier?”
Maggie, is it possible that for the younger-than-us the 1970s have replaced the 1950s as a hallowed period of innocent, happy days — if you forget the Korean War?
Maggie noted the eye-catching marketing pitch “MEGA ULTRA SUPER TRIPLE LINDY GARAGE SALE-O-ORAMA.” A lindy is a bunk bed.
TWISTED LANGUAGE: While we’re chuckling over the twisted language in Craigslist, how about the labels we slap on places around town? The University of California at Santa Barbara is over 10 miles from City Hall and not within city limits.
Santa Barbara Airport wasn’t in Santa Barbara city limits until the city’s moms and pops annexed it via the ocean a few decades ago. The sneaky maneuver is no longer legal.
Ty Warner’s Santa Barbara Biltmore is not in Santa Barbara, and you’ll be sleeping in the unincorporated county. And if you plan to plant a dearly beloved in the expensive, prestigious soil of Santa Barbara Cemetery, alas, he or she will be laid to rest doing the Big Sleep in unincorporated land outside city limits, ocean view or not.
Thousands of people who live in what’s known as Noleta think they live in Santa Barbara just because they have a Santa Barbara post office address. When the city holds elections, officials get calls from folks out there wanting to vote.
Those Coast Village Road businesses with “Montecito” names are actually in the City of Santa Barbara. The ill-fated Montecito Motors car lot was actually on downtown Chapala Street before it crashed and burned in a funeral pyre of crime. Santa Barbara Honda is on Kellogg Avenue, deep in the heart of Goleta. Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club is out Carpinteria way. Santa Barbara Bank & Trust no longer exists, having been taken over by Union Bank. Montecito Bank and Trust’s main HQ is in downtown Santa Barbara.
I could go on, but we’ve all accepted all this prestige naming, and no one cares or seems to notice.
TWISTED STREETS: While we’re talking about local oddities, try driving down San Roque Road, hit State Street, and without warning, find yourself on Cliff Drive. Or, heading seaward on Carrillo Street, you come over the hill and find yourself on Meigs Road, then Shoreline Drive. Which becomes Cabrillo Boulevard, which in turn becomes Coast Village Road, which begets numerous offspring at the east end.
Suppose you’re out in Goleta on Cathedral Oaks Road and want to head east. In a few miles, without realizing it, you’re on Foothill Road, then Mountain Drive, Mission Ridge Road, Stanwood Drive, Sycamore Canyon Road, East Valley Road, Toro Canyon Road, and (what’s this?) another Foothill Road in the Carpinteria area.
Santa Barbara city limits wander aimlessly like T.S. Eliot’s poetic “tedious argument,” and even residents within blocks of the borders seem to have no idea exactly where they are. At least they’re fairly stable, but show me someone who knows where the county supervisorial borders are and I’ll show you a candidate. They shift with the census and political tides.
Once upon a time, City of Santa Barbara residents could figure that the 3rd District was Goleta and everything west. Today, the 3rd has leaped over the mountains to the Santa Ynez Valley, Vandenberg Air Force Base, and more. I was shocked to discover that 1st District Supervisor Salud Carbajal’s Montecito-Carpinteria domain has made a magical gulp of the Los Padres National Forest to distant Cuyama Valley.
It’s a rare politician who can successfully represent both verdant Oprah Country and high desert Lawrence of Arabia expanses to the north.