Life Lessons from an Orange County Walking Trail

On a recent dreary weekend in Orange County, I snuck in a brisk jog along the beautifully rugged coastline in Dana Point. As my female judging companion likes to point out, Orange County boasts the wrong kind of rich people, the dreaded nouveau riche. If you polled the inhabitants of the McMansions lining the walking trail, you’d find most were either vaguely “in real estate” or were “entrepreneurs,” that is proprietors of mushrooming spray tan or drive-through botox empires. There in the quoin of nature’s most wondrous portrait lay nestled a collective cultural vapidity unmatched anywhere else in this great land.

While ambling along to the sonic delight that is Lady Gaga (don’t judge, I’m a cultural critic), I uncovered a social hierarchy that would make Maslow himself weep acidic tears of envy. The women in head-to-toe lululemon from last season seem to hold all the power, and those with gigantic alien-like sunglasses rank higher than their peers with tinier lenses. The men tailing these women are complete lickspittles; they effusively compliment the power-walking ladies, manage the dainty dogs, and pick up all the shit. The more dogs they’re forced to walk simultaneously, the less power they have. I was there on a Monday, so these male toadies were undoubtedly the weakest of the weak, the unemployed or barely employed who were bending to the every whim of their female masters.

Who knew ill-gotten loot and a faux Mediterranean home could lead to divine self-actualization?

And what about the children? The children!!

The children were nowhere to be seen, deposited into tony private schools by the household help or the ladies’ disappointing, mooch-y younger sisters. Those teenagers lucky enough to be suckled by the bountiful bosom of the OC march like plastic soldiers toward third-tier state schools, safely ensconced in their 3-series BMWs, their sense of entitlement the great irony of this hub of Republican bent.

In the title of this post I mentioned Life Lessons, but I then launched into a scathing vituperative of the idyllic, gaudy existence of Orange County’s denizens. Hey, I’m peripherally The Media, so I do that kind of crap.

So what is the lesson I learned, other than that I’m a tad angry and hypercritical?

I need to launch a chain of frozen yogurt stores that sell sushi and yoga gear, make a lot of money, move into the Ritz in Laguna Niguel, let Sony and Apple raise my children, and walk seven dogs behind the finest iPhone-toting, spray-tan-empire lady I can find.

What can I say? Those fake assholes looked pretty happy.

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