I was hunting down some morning coffee at daughter Emily’s place in Santa Rosa and I opened a kitchen cupboard, pulled out a big white cup with big black letters that said:
I’M FROM UKIAH.
Just five words on a coffee cup. But I thought to myself, Well now, that there is the simplest, most devastating, eye-rolling, single-shot putdown that only a Ukiahan can deliver when in the company of rough-talking poseurs who look down their noses at the Queen of California Municipalities.
And we get away with it.
Because we’re from Ukiah and they ain’t.
We all know the type and have endured their silly talk. These are the people who think they’ve been around the block and seen a few things. And maybe they have.
NOTE: Someone who tells you she’s “seen a few things” is usually hinting at having witnessed criminal or illicit behavior commonly found in those big, bad urban areas where jazz musicians smoke reefer, cops are on the take and there’s a thriving trade in you-know-what, providing you-know-who and then know where to go and why. All you have to do is slip the bartender a five dollar bill.
So she tells you she’s been around the block, backwards and forwards. And what does she think of Ukiah? It’s just some rural outpost in a land not far from Kansas with a few tractors and hicks.
And a Ukiahan thinks: Tractors? Hicks? Both covered.
If she thinks tractors are to be ashamed of, then the problem is hers, not the tractor’s. And in Ukiah those hicks are our founders, neighbors, and a tough batch of rogue rednecks we’re proud to call friends.
Gangstas from Santa Cruz? Bring ‘em on.
And we’ve also got some of those “seen a few things” covered. If shadowy alleys and mean streets and crime and criminals are what you look for on those walks around the block, Ukiah is hot. Per capita Ukiah kills. Also literally.
Ukiah has been home to three murderous criminal giants in the past half-century. LA, New York and Shanghai can’t top a trio like Charlie Manson, Leonard Lake and Jim Jones.
And did someone say reefer?
If you’re standing in Ukiah you’re standing within a hundred feet of reefer and it’s the best reefer anywhere. The world’s marijuana epicenter is Ukiah and it’s run by outlaw growers who’ve been outsmarting the cops since approximately 1975 and getting rich in the process.
Local demographics then stretch a mile in every direction. Ukiah’s weed outlaws foster nests of bikers and paranoiacs, but the very same counterculture marijuana roots sprout New Age dreamers, poets and therapy gurus. It is indeed a fascinating block to walk around, be it forward or backward.
And despite all the whacky rebels coloring outside the lines, Ukiah is also a mushy swamp of low functioning think-alikes who suck their thumbs watching MSNBC and regard a New York Times subscription as the badge that gives them entree into the local smart club. And it does.
But our smart club is virtue-signaling snobs planting “We Are the World” flavored yard signs to inoculate themselves from neighbors suspecting they harbor improper thoughts.
So not everyone in Ukiah has actually been around the block. Some have only been around the coffee shop where intellectuals tippy tap poems over lattes.
Pour it all together into one big coffee cup that says “Bitch, Please. I’m From Ukiah” and you have the highly aromatic, distinctly undrinkable concoction called Us.
Where to get your very own “Bitch, Please” cup? You’ll have to go around the block a few times, then slink surreptitiously through a back alley side door at Mendocino Bounty. Tell someone a guy named Slim told you “Pink Moon is on its Way” and let “Karen” (not her real name) know no one gets hurt if she drops a mug where the goldfish cries.
Leave a five dollar tip.