California is one of the most cosmopolitan states in the United States, each region drastically different from the next. While people from other states see California as a whole in a certain light (If you haven’t seen it, watch this SNL skit “The Californians“) we think Californians as a whole are as uncharacterizable as they come. In fact, a drive from San Diego to Eureka is analogous to a coast-to-coast road trip across the country. Those of us who come from different parts of California have our own opinions on these “substates,” and we know from experience that Berkeley is quite a unique place itself. Despite personal experiences, however, there are certain stereotypes that are commonly shared about California’s regions. As UC Berkeley students, we really should all consider ourselves Berkeley residents, but we still each tend to cling tightly to our hometown roots. You can often guess where a Californian is from simply by observing how he or she interacts with other people. In fact, one of our favorite games to play is predicting a person’s hometown based solely on making wildly judgmental generalizations. Here’s a key we at the Clog use to make our predictions, organized by major area codes:
619 (San Diego). The southernmost of California residents are a laid-back bunch, except when it comes to their Mexican food. The typical San Diegan will chuckle condescendingly when you suggest getting La Burrita or Gordo Taqueria, explaining with, “But you don’t understand … I’m from San Diego.”
714 or 949 (Orange County). “The OC” pretty much got this spot on. People from the 714 or 949 tend to be your blond surfer bros who face serious issues trying to control the amount of time they spend talking about the beach and who live in denial of Berkeley weather, regularly wearing shorts at inappropriate times. Hailing from the land of abundant plastic surgery and ultra-conservatism, they are often in awe of how “real” people are in the Bay Area.
818 (Los Angeles). Los Angeles-bred Cal students are pretty numerous, and they are recognizable by their inability to understand certain Bay Area things, such as public transportation. They likely have a hidden guilty pleasure for “The Real Housewives” and will gladly make the trek to Starbucks on Oxford Street because they refuse to admit that Peet’s is comparable in any way.
209/559 (Central California). It’s pretty easy to tell whether a Cal student is from Central California. Usually, a sentence including “my farm” is a dead giveaway. They are also amazed at the sheer number of people in a city like Berkeley — “Fres-bro” residents are much more used to wide-open spaces than one-way streets. Your Central California friend has most likely expressed to you his love for his large pickup truck or, at the very least, his love for “real” country music.
415 (San Francisco). City locals are usually not shy about sharing their opinions with you, on everything from their die-hard Giants fandom to the worthlessness of the term “organic.” Anyone who appreciates high-end camping gear and takes hipster-y fish-eyed pictures of seemingly non-artsy Berkeley landmarks is likely from the city. Also, these guys usually ruin the game because they’ll tell you they are from the city before you have time to guess.
530 (the north north). “No, like NORcal.” We’re talking about Eureka here, people. We sometimes think that living in Berkeley is living in NorCal, but the 530ers are quick to assure you that we are, in fact, living relatively south. They get a bad rep for smoking a lot of pot, but that might not necessarily be a great hint for guessing a UC Berkeley student’s hometown.
This key should be used for hometown guessing-game purposes only, not for actually assessing a person’s character in real life. Obviously, people are very different and rarely match stereotypes exactly, and these are just a few of the most extreme characters here at UC Berkeley. If you can think of more area codes that deserve their own categories, let us know in the comments below!
Image Source: denissee10, under Creative Commons