I can never quite bring myself to say so. The truth is: I’m a Sacramentan. Elsewhere in California, the trademark sunny mindset is informed by a blind faith in the future -- sunglasses on, convertible top down (IPO shares up). In Los Angeles, everyone is always looking forward to the next big thing. Just ask another born-and-raised Sacramentan, Joan Didion. In Where I Was From, Didion’s documentation of her love-hate affair with her home state, she writes on Orange County: “Good times today and better times tomorrow were supposed to come with the territory, roll in with the breakers.” Granted, Didion’s penned more pages documenting her place-of-origin’s pitfalls than singing its praises. In her telling, Sacramento isn’t spared Orange County’s brand of good-luck optimism, although its particular blend is rooted in its scrappy, Gold Rush boomtown past.
In 1848, a glimmer in the shallows of a stream caught the eye of a pioneer who was inspecting Sutter’s Mill, forty miles east of its accompanying fort in Sacramento, on the confluence of two rivers -- the Sacramento and the American. In the next breath that pioneer, John Marshall, coined the state’s fateful slogan: “Eureka, I have found it!” He’d also branded California. Ever since, the state has been a beacon for hopefuls longing to reinvent themselves. I don’t know a single Angeleno, or any American citizen for that matter, who couldn’t benefit from a dose of the complex historical gravitas that pervades Sacramento.