Our small town rivalry is sad and tired
Did you catch my nice little chat with Bill Buchanan on KDRT last week? No? No worries — it’s still on the website, if you’re interested about my thoughts on community newspapers and their survival. I was actually somewhat coherent, if I do say so myself, far exceeding my own expectations. I was having a wild deja-vu while I was sitting there, however. KDRT is in the same building where I was once a Diogenes Youth Services caseworker about a thousand years ago in another lifetime and universe, and we were sitting exactly in front of where my old office was. Kinda weird and creepy.
Yes, I have a Davis root or two, or as Bill said, “a foot in both communities” (better than one foot on the platform and the other on the train), so he asked me, “How do you explain Davis to Winters people?” and vice-versa. I found these questions most intriguing, because I actively resist the preconceptions and misconceptions I hear about both communities. Much like the Red-Blue partisanship bickering, the local stereotypes are also sad and tired. And hugely boring.
Ironically, “Davis vs. Winters” is what I wrote about in my first “Replace Bob Dunning for a Day” column, also written about a thousand years ago in another lifetime and universe, and also the topic of my second contest-winner, submitted mainly because I figured the first win was a fluke. (And therein were the tender beginnings of my free-fall into an entirely different career a few years later. Were it not for the guy on A-2 of the Davis Enterprise and sometimes C-1, I’d likely still be sitting in a caseworker’s office somewhere, at my second-hand military-grade desk, shaking my fist at the finicky, fickle nature of working for a grant-funded non-profit. In other words, thank you, Bob, for saving my life.)
So. Davis vs. Winters. Has it changed much since I first wrote about it in 1986? Not really. Both have positives and negatives, and I could live happily at either end of Russell Boulevard. So, there you have it. Either town would be just fine, and neither is as wonderful as Sebastopol or Mendocino, so nobody get too full of yourself. That said, there are some cherished stereotypes at both ends of Russell Boulevard that I’d like to shatter.
Let’s pick on Winters first. “Oh, go back to Davis” is the mantra whenever someone makes a liberal-leaning remark over here. All the liberals are in Davis, and there is no place for Lefties in Winters! Oh, B.S. First off, there are folks right here in Winters who lean so far left, they make me look like Ann Coulter. And if you think there aren’t any Republicans, let me tell you, it’s simply not the case. I know this for a fact because they all email me or post comments on the Enterprise website, screaming for my immediate dismissal, and while we’re at it, a public drawing and quartering would be a nice touch.
Now Davis: All the stupid people live on Far West Covell Boulevard. Not an IQ above room temperature in the bunch. Allow me to disabuse you of this notion. First off, lots of UCD professors move to Winters to escape the soap opera of academia. Here, they can simply be a member of the local theater company (yes, we have one) or one of the Friends of the Library (ditto), and only randomly do you discover that they’re the head of the nuclear medicine department. Beyond the professors, we have scores of writers and musicians living in Winters, as well as the smartest person I ever met in my life — a blond gal. So let’s smash all the “blond” and “female” stereotypes while we’re at it, because they’re also sad and tired.
Also, to Davis: No more of that “sleepy little town” nonsense. Come on over to our downtown any random Thursday or Friday night, and you’ll see things hopping with music, food, activity and smiling faces. Sleepy? Sheesh, I have to leave town to get a break.
Really, Davis — Winters isn’t that far. Twenty minutes tops. Even less if you’re in West Davis. I don’t understand the dread some Davis folks have about venturing beyond the strawberry stand on Covell Boulevard. I have a friend who was considering moving her massage business to Winters because office space is about half the price she was paying in Davis, but after speaking with her clients, she decided not to relocate because most of them recoiled in horror and said they could not, would not, drive to — GASP — Winters.
What’s up with that? Somebody explain this to me. Better yet, meet me for a beer at Berryessa Brewing Co. some Sunday afternoon and see how long it takes you to forget what your reasons were.
As for Winters, we have no problem making the trip down Far East Grant Avenue. Walk into any restaurant, shop or store, and you’ll find Winters people. Try making it through the Davis Co-op without running into two or three. The Cutest Man In The World and I decided to get out of town and spend New Year’s Eve at the DMTC’s “Cabaret” performance, so we wouldn’t have to discuss Winters drama with anyone. What’s the first thing we see in line? Winters people. We’ve totally infiltrated your community and you don’t even realize it.
So. Davis. The road goes in both directions. Your move.
Last shot goes to Winters. I’ll say it again: Knock it off with the “go back to Davis” crap. I said it in the KDRT interview and I’ll say it again: Some of the coolest people I know live in Davis. And some of the jerkiest people I know live in Winters. Neither community has a lock on either.
So, how about we step beyond the stereotype and get to know each other at long last. Hands across the sunflower fields, and whatnot.