Ask a Santa Barbarian and Midwesterner a Question

And They'll Give You Different Answers

My Answer Depends on Which Hat I'm Wearing | Credit: Rick Doehring

How similar are the communities, life styles, and attitudes in Santa Barbara and the Midwest? Who knows? And, frankly, who has time to read all the studies which would legitimately answer those questions? I certainly don’t. So I made up a questionnaire to find out. But, actually going out and asking these questions to real people would have required work. Except I don’t do “work” — I’m a writer.

Then I realized that I had spent about half my life in both areas of the country, which meant, of course, that my anecdotal non-researched answers should be taken as fact. And, since I made up the questions, I really should know all the answers.

What follows is my actual questionnaire — see if you can figure out which answer is Midwestern and which is Santa Barbarian. The first answer is easy. The rest are … so much harder. You have 10 minutes. Good luck.

What might you get when you try to buy a house for $89,000?
A three-bedroom ranch from a Realtor in Detroit.
Hysterical laughter from a Realtor in Santa Barbara.

What weather can you face in just one day where you live?
Hail, sleet, snow, sunshine, rain.
Partly cloudy, then partly sunny.

What do you call serving Jell-o at a family picnic?
A mistake.
Aunt Lorraine’s best dish. Especially when she puts in pretzels.

What answers might you hear to the question, “What conference are you in?”
The “Big Ten,” the “SEC,” or the “Big 12.”
“Updates on Wellness Therapy,” “How to Run a Nonprofit for Profit,” or “Growing Marijuana Legally — You Can Do It!”

What is the Santa Barbara Bowl?
Servings of faddish, and retro, vegetables mixed with local lettuces.
Concerts of faddish, and retro, musicians mixed with local bands.

What is the subject of the discussion when an Old Mission is the topic?
The most famous building in the city.
A Tom Cruise movie that came out prior to his newest one.

What is being referenced by the term “Spanish architecture”?
Our entire town.
Our Taco Bell.

When someone is driving an electric vehicle where you live, what is the most likely thing that they’re riding in?
A golf cart.
A golf cart. And then they get into a Tesla.

What has to be part of the solution to stopping mass shootings?
Less guns.
More guns.

What are pedestrians given where you live?
The “right of way.”
Three seconds to “get out of the way!”

When do you use the words “coast,” “tide,” and “ocean spray”?
When I buy soap, detergent, or juice.
When I go to the beach.

What are you likely talking about when you’re discussing “Art”?
Probably my father’s smelly older brother Uncle Art, while we’re eating Aunt Lorraine’s Jell-o at the family picnic.
Probably Van Gogh, O’Keeffe, or my father’s smelly older brother.

What tools do you need for snow removal in your town?
A shovel and a plow.
A straw and a mirror.

Comments overheard on the learning of other languages:
“Sometimes I wish I knew how to speak Spanish.”
“You have to speak English if you want to live here.”

What is Napa?
A wine valley.
An auto parts store.

In the area where you live, what is frequently described as being “less than 10 minutes away”?
Great surfing.
A tornado.

What is your favorite professional team?
Da Bears.
My divorce attorneys.

Do you think that there will ever be a 100 percent “smoke-free city”?
Is that supposed to be a joke?
Is that supposed to be a joke?


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