Z: My son is a native Santa Barbarian.

She: Whoa! That’s very big of you. When did you decide this?

Z: Today. I changed the rule.

She: You can do that?

Z: I did that.

She: That was easier than I thought it would be.

Z: He’s 12. I thought it was time.

She: But he wasn’t born here. I thought that was your rule.

Z: It was. Now it’s not.

She: You can do that?

Z: I did that.

She: This seems very unlike you. Did someone slip you some unusual tasting brownies?

Z: No. It seemed unfair that simply because he wasn’t born here, he couldn’t be a native Santa Barbarian, with all that that confers.

She: Which would be?

Z: If you have to ask …

She: Since you seem to have put yourself in charge of local immigration laws, are you going to bend your rules for me, your legally wedded wife?

Z: No. You moved here when you were 5. Completely different story. You are not a real Barbarian.

She: Humpf!

Z: Koss was born at Cedars-Sinai, and moved here when he was a month old. A month is the new cut-off, not five years. One month makes sense.

She: Your math is very sophisticated.

Z: I’m just saying. What about the poor kid whose mother just happened to be travelling when he was born somewhere other than Cottage Hospital? He was meant to be native. Quirk of fate that it doesn’t say Santa Barbarian on his birth certificate.

She: It doesn’t actually say “Santa Barbarian” on anyone’s birth certificate. Besides, you weren’t even born at Cottage Hospital.

Z: St. Francis. I’m so native that I was born at a hospital that no longer exists, and went to an elementary school that closed 35 years ago.

She: You’re making a better case for being an old man than being a native son. Remembering stuff that’s gone is your definition of native street cred?

Z: No. But it’s a modifier. In Santa Barbara, the more things that you can remember that used to be here, the more of a Santa Barbarian you are.

She: I remember tons of places that are gone. Frimple’s, freeway stop lights, the Lily Pad, the Earthling, the News-Press. I’ll bet I remember more than you do. That should make me a native.

Z: Again — no. You are not a native. But you are a local. In fact, you’re very local.

She: I’m certainly more local than all those people who talk about how they’ve been in Santa Barbara forever, and they didn’t even move here until college.

Z: That is a weird delusional subset that we’ve started to run into more and more.

She: I wonder when you start to feel like a local. How many years does it take?

Z: I don’t know. You moved here when you were 5. When did you finally feel like a local?

She: It’s the only place I can ever remember living as a child. That counts.

Z: Let me check the rules. Nope.

She: It’s not like I’m one of those people who claims to be local after only 10 years. Like suddenly you get the key to the city when you hit double digits.

Z: Then they want to throw away the key and not let anyone else into town.

She: I still remember when Goleta ended at the Kmart Shopping Center and you had to pack a snack and a change of clothes if you had to drive all the way out to Dos Pueblos High School. That’s got to count for something.

Z: Let me check the rules. Nope.

She: I remember matinees at the Arlington and that flat McCraw’s Taffy that made the floors sticky, buying Honeycomb at Sears when it had a candy counter, and corn strips at the Pit. I remember street dances for Fiesta and going to lunch with my grandma at the Copper Coffee Pot after she bought me clothes at Korb’s.

Z: And I remember being born here.

She: I remember all that stuff and our child can’t even remember to take home his gym clothes. It makes no sense that he’s more of a Santa Barbarian than I am.

Z: Rules are rules.

She: I have my name on a book called Hometown Santa Barbara for Pete’s sake!

Z: It’s OK, honey. You live with two native Santa Barbarians. If you have any questions about local traits and customs we can help you out.

She: Who knew Barbarians would be so friendly?

Z: Yes, dear.

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