December 13, 2006

The Ubiquitous Walnut

I live a block from Walnut Avenue. And in Southern California, this tells you ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about where I live. With all the oddities of life in Southern California, perhaps the most bizarre phenomenon I've encountered so far is the abundance of Walnut streets. Name reuse proliferates among SoCal streets, but the king of them all is the Walnut. Each and every town and district pays homage to the almighty Walnut. In fact, there is even a whole city named Walnut. Upon further investigation, I found that the city of Walnut was founded on a piece of land known as ... the Ranch of the Walnut Trees. Although my mind runs wild imagining such a ranch, I still cannot understand the infatuation with the Walnut that has continued on to this very day.

But this now leads me to a general commentary on SoCal streets. There's just a few things that visitors need to know about southern California roadways:
  1. It's a "freeway" not an "interstate."
  2. Speeding :) ... Crossing the double lines into the Carpool Lane :(
  3. Beware the street sweeper.
  4. When referring to roads, always use the prefix "the."
    ("Follow THE 405 freeway to THE ubiquitous Walnut.")
  5. 3 times past in less than 4 hours is cruising.
That's not cruising ... that's just finding a parking space.

The road system really is just a huge grid, and once you know the main roads, it's virtually impossible to get lost in southern California. And anyway, just keep driving ... Walnut Street is just ahead.