Welcome Wagon

If I worked for the Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce, I’d start a Welcome Wagon. I would design and deliver gift baskets to new residents. Mine wouldn’t be your run of the mill, welcome to our wonderful community, isn’t it beautiful, have a pizza on me type of basket. When someone decides to move here, they already know it’s a great place. My baskets would feature some of the more quirky aspects of our small town.

Let’s say you’ve moved to Fort Bragg. We’ll sit at your kitchen table drinking lattes from the Mendocino Cookie Company and start with the least controversial of topics—global warming. The weather along our coast is fickle. Some whiners complain it’s too windy or rainy or foggy. What sissies. They should not be allowed an opinion until after they’ve spent a winter in the Midwest. In the past few years, the effects of climate change have benefited our area, ushering in increasingly warm, sunny days. This makes it hard to remain a hater of greenhouse gases. To keep you focused, I’ll give you this bumper sticker:

The basket will include a copy of page 31 of the California Driver Handbook which specifies the right of way laws at four-way stops. On second thought, scratch that. Those laws are useless in Fort Bragg. Instead, I’ll add a flashcard printed with the rules of the game Rock, Paper, Scissors. This is how right of way is determined in our town.

If you find yourself at the corner of Franklin and Chestnut (an intersection complicated by left-hand turn lanes), you’ll know it’s your turn to move after you’ve been honked at twice, flipped off once, and rear ended.

DSC02395The highlight of the basket will be my patented Taaka Vodka/M&M candy gift (made for less than ten dollars). As you open the Taaka to take a slug and toss back a couple of M&M’s, I’ll caution that this is a great place to live if you don’t have anything to hide. Similar to high school, gossip is a popular form of spreading “news” in our town.

I’ll tempt you to reveal your secrets by claiming I was once a roadie for Van Halen. If your story isn’t equally as entertaining, I’ll stir in a few spicy details before passing it around. You’ll become an instant celebrity.

Your basket will also contain a coupon for a free Gird Your Loins class at the Mendocino Sports Club. You can cash this in after you’ve made the mistake of opening your mouth to express an opinion and need to learn how to defend yourself from attack. We are a passionate and polarized community when it comes to such issues as the Dollar Tree Store or Taco Bell. Dare to take a side and you will be pummeled by the opposition.

tacobellWhen The Fort Bragg Advocate News asked for comments on their Facebook page regarding the future building of a Taco Bell, one woman innocently posted: “Yuck! We don’t live here, but plan to someday. One of the reasons we love Ft. Bragg is because of so few corporate chains.”

Poor, naive thing—she knew not what she started. The cannonballs fired immediately:

“Ft. Bragg doesn’t need you here.”

“Interesting that most of the ‘anti establishment’ nut jobs are not the people born in Fort Bragg but those who are transplants.”

“There’s enough of these lunatics ruining the town, they don’t need more.”

Her response: “Why are you all being jerks just because I expressed an OPINION?”

One of the greatest gifts of living here is the lack of suburbs. It’s difficult to remain a snob when you can’t huddle within your own socio-economic class.

More than twenty years ago, I took my first trip to The Purity. I stood in line with a man who had a wire coat hanger fashioned as an antennae around his head. He clutched a plastic gallon jug, half filled with red juice, to his chest and spoke lovingly to the box of doughnuts he was purchasing. I avoided going to that store for several months until I learned that trips to Safeway or Harvest put me in line with similar folks.

Like me, you’ll learn to accept people for who they are—not for the status they hold. As a result, you’ll have friends from all walks of life—from the intellectual to the illiterate, the wealthy to the poor, elderly to youngsters. Since this gift is far too large to fit into a basket, I’ll substitute a candy bar purchased to support Little League, a $25 gift certificate from Triangle Tattoo, a dollar gift certificate from the Dollar Tree Store, and a promise from someone to take you on a pub crawl through the Barmuda Triangle (the configuration of three of our oldest downtown bars: Tip Top, Welcome Inn and the Golden West).

Toward the end of our visit, you will question if you made a mistake by moving here. Quite the contrary—four-way stops aside—you are one of the luckiest people on earth.

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Space Talk

Each week, the Fort Bragg Advocate News posts a question on their Facebook page. The responses are published in the week’s edition of the paper, which comes out on Thursday. Most questions, such as “What is your favorite Paul Bunyan Days memory?” and “What is the most important issue to you at the local and/or state level?” receive only a handful of responses.

But questions about whether our town should have a Dollar Store or the morality of taking down the town Christmas tree donated by Montessori students and replacing it with Paul Bunyan-type tree generate a flurry of passionate replies.

This past week’s question, “What do you think about the new Taco Bell that’s going to be built on the southeast corner of Cypress and Main?”  spawned over 100 replies. I now share my favorites. (Spelling and punctuation have not been altered.)tacobell

Critics who question the nutritional value of the menu.
I think it’s GREAT! I’m exercising my RIGHT to eat unhealthy food…….I served MY country so that we ALL can eat whatever we want, where we want and how much we want! Can’t wait for the EXTRA BIG Baja Blast soda to be here in town!!!!!!!!
They have an Extra Big Blast Soda? With Bacon I hope!
fast food aside; imagine if you went into north coast brewery and after ordering the waitress asks “would you like to supesize that”? “oh, yess i want a 64oz red seal ale…”
Dogs don’t eat that stuff! I would hope we’d support our locally owned Mexican restaurants who serve healthier versions and thus encourage Taco Bell to leave as quickly as they arrive.
REBUTTAL: hey now!! our dogs will eat it…. if we buy it and smother it in bacon…

Critics who make me smile.
Will it have drive through meth like that last one did?
And mmmmm… How appetizing for those hands to be preparing those meals. Just divine!
Speaking of cops, at least all the junkies will be in a central, convenient location
we live next to a world class coffee roasting company but allowed a starbucks to inhabit the old taco bell building… they made that heap of junk look pretty nice and seem to attract the “desert coffee” clients and tourists…
Rebuttal: seriously…what is desert coffee?
Rebuttal to Rebuttal: the foofie creamy triple choco blahblahblah….

Critics of taco prices.
We have I think 9.00 tacos here in Gualala because they are organic give me a break it’s a taco
Rebuttal: Can walk away from taco bell with a lot of food for $9.00
Rebuttal to Rebuttal: …and walkk straight to a toilet….

Fight! Fight!
No no no… We’re just living under rocks! Tweaker need jobs, too!
Rebuttals: Sure, Debbie, I live under a rock. If that makes you feel better lol.
     Are you living under a rock? The locals who LIVE here and depend on actually working jobs to make a living… If *you’re* motivated, one can get into management – more money and more benefits. Of course – one has to actually *want* to WORK…
      Debbie is right, and Erica needs to go to collage and stay off the Progressive propaganda pages found on the internet.
      Gosh, Crystal, maybe you need to find a COLLAGE under your rock, too.
      Erica Ann sounds like she’s just newly moved here and still has the ‘Bay Area” or So Cal mentality…
    Naw she is just Millionaire I bet who has never had to actually look for work in a town that was killed by out of touch progressives.
It will give jobs to which locals? Hello. The jobs it will give will benefit no one. It’s sick. About as sick as consumption of it will make everyone who eats there.
Rebuttals: You do live under a rock.
      What a doomsayer and bunker nut!

Supporters of a fast food combo.
Hope is is a combo with a KFC
Rebuttal: Now we’re talking.

Outside agitation.
yuck! we don’t live here, but plan to someday. One of the reasons we love Ft. Bragg is because of so few corporate chains.
Rebuttals: Dear Sherry. Ft. Bragg doesn’t need you here. As the other posters who actually do live here mentioned some variety/options will be appreciated in OUR Community.
      Sherry is just the kind of person we do need here to keep FB a nice place to live. There are plenty of people here with your perspective, Sherry. Welcome to Fort Bragg!
      Interesting that most of the “anti establishment” nut jobs are not the people born in Fort Bragg but those who are transplants. Theres enough of these lunatics ruining the town, they don’t need more. But here’s a suggestion. If Fort Bragg has too many chains for your taste, you could always move to Mendo or Caspar. I’m sure you’ll be more then happy there.
Sherry’s Rebuttals: First, thank you Toni Rizzo. Second, “Dear” Diver Doug, you sound like a real peach , third, I thought this was a place to express opinions, not be attacked. I didn’t know that there was such a “us v. them” attitude in this community. Why are you all being jerks just because I expressed an OPINION?oh, and if you all hate it sooo much, why don’t YOU move?

My favorite: I just can’t believe how many are acting as though it’s like the falling of the Berlin Wall. It’s a frickin Taco Bell.

(Be sure to watch the “Fast Food Folk Song” below. It’s awesome!)