You know you’re a Sacramentan when …

100 miscellaneous things that define us and our region

Illustration by Mark Stivers

Living in Sacramento is an art. Those who call this city home know what it takes to be a Sacramentan; they’ve survived the initiation rights and discovered the hidden treasures only found in the City of Trees. Sacramentans know their city is neither a “cow town” nor “world-class city.” It’s just a city unto itself, where it rains tree branches in the winter and transforms into a broiler during the summer, but always maintains that distinct river smell. Sacramento is home to politico wannabes, residents who desire a middle ground between the wilderness and the city, vampire killers, a few Star Trek bands and a never-ending supply of sushi restaurants. Residents of this Time magazine-sanctioned “America’s most diverse city” have developed a unique lingo, culture and lifestyle. Only those who have mastered the art of living in the River City can call themselves true Sacramentans.

—Jenn Kistler

1. … you’ve been to a wedding at the McKinley Park Rose Garden.

It’s a little cliché, true, but any Sacramentan worth his or her weight in camellias knows that this city’s real flower power happens at the McKinley Park Rose Garden. The garden, which sits on the edge of East Sacramento, is the destination wedding choice for hundreds of couples every year, which means you’ve probably already witnessed someone’s nuptials through rose-tinted sunglasses. (R.L.)

2. … you know which galleries serve the free wine and snacks on Second Saturdays.

If you’re a Sacramentan, you likely have a love-hate relationship with the city’s monthly Second Saturday Art Walk. You hate it because it’s evolved from its original intent as a night for viewing art into a street-fairlike promenade ripe for people watching, bar hopping and impulse shopping. And you love it because it’s the only time when folks can really be out on the town en masse. Mostly, you strategically plan your art walk according to which galleries and businesses dole out the free wine and food, regardless of what’s hanging on their walls. (S.S.)

3. … you lost your virginity in the Tower Theatre parking lot.

I’m convinced that the Roseville Police Department has National Security software that can detect teenagers making out in parked cars. When I was 16, in the suburbs, trying to hook up with a girl in my ride, Roseville police would be up in my business in no time flat, shooting their lights and rapping on my car window before I could get her bra off. Later I discovered you need to leave the sticks to get a fair shake. For instance, did you know three out of every five Sacramentans loses their virginity—or commits some carnal sin—in the Tower Theatre parking lot off of Broadway and 16th Street? And this makes sense: Impress a girl with your indie- and foreign-film savoir-faire, then make your move. The language of cinema may be universal, but hooking up takes a spot. (N.M.)

4. … you actually like your power company.

What’s not to like? Rates are lower and the power mix is greener. And since SMUD is a publicly owned utility, we get to publicly hassle the board of directors when things go wrong. (Try that with your phone company sometime.) In fact, SMUD just won high praise from business-research outfit J.D. Power and Associates. Our local power company was best in the West and second nationwide in overall customer satisfaction. Suck it, PG&E. (C.G.)

5. … after years of plotting to move away from Sacramento, you do, but inevitably move back.

Sacramento seems to be a sort of black hole. It has a magnetic pull of relatively low-cost living, proximity to the mountains and the Bay Area, that city with a small-town feel and, until recently, a steady supply of stable state jobs. Although many itch for “more exciting,” denser cities like San Francisco, a funny thing happens after relocating. People inevitably move back to Sac. Admit it. You’ve done it. Your friends have done it. Your family and co-workers have done it. Hell, I’ve even done it. You are not immune: You’re a true Sacramentan! (S.S.)

6. … you’ve got a favorite Star Trek band.

Not that long ago, Sacramento boasted not one but two (maybe three, depending on how you count it) Star Trek-themed musical acts. It all started with a shambolic (and alcoholic) punk anomaly called the No Kill I. Much to their dismay, a second and much slicker Star Trek band called Warp 11 soon materialized. To make matters weirder, there was briefly a spinoff band called No Kill I: the Next Generation. Performances by all three bands earned Sacramento a chapter in the documentary Trekkies 2. (C.G.)

7. … your grandfather has disappeared, but his Social Security checks are still being cashed. (R.V.S.)

8. … you kind of like the service at Zelda’s.

True Sacramentans not only love Zelda’s Original Gourmet Pizza (1415 21st Street)—they actually crave the service that goes with it. The pizza is deep-dish, Chicago-style, but the attitude is straight out of New York: brusque, grouchy, intimidating even. But just as in NYC, this doesn’t mean the servers are rude; they’re just crazy busy. The trick here is to keep up. No dillydallying over the order, no weird substitutions and no complaining about the wait. We’re convinced those gooey, cheesy pie slices would taste bland without the extra heaping dose of attitude. (R.L.)

9. … you’ve had your bike stolen at least twice. (J.K.)

10. … someone says they’re“ off the grid,” and you know that doesn’t mean they’re living without electricity.

While it might be the signal of a survivalist in other parts of the country, if someone in Sacramento tells you that they live “off the grid,” it means they live outside the boundaries of the downtown/Midtown/East Sac easy-to-navigate numbered and lettered street system. Around here, “off the grid” means suburban, not self-powered. (K.M.)

11. … you understand that those anti-vehicle barriers at the state Capitol aren’t just an over-reaction to post-9/11 fears.

Instead, the tastefully landscaped barriers were designed following a January 2001 incident in which a disgruntled truck driver rammed his rig into the south side of the building, killing himself and doing serious damage to the state Senate chamber (it was unoccupied at the time). (K.M.)

12. … you know at least one person who lived in the Maydestone. (K.B.)

13. … you have nicknames for the homeless people in your neighborhood.

Sacramento gained international media attention in 2009 because of its Depression Era-like tent city. So, naturally, our ever-considerate city government shut it down, kicked homeless campers out of the vacant property and didn’t establish a new place for them to go. Many were forced to sneakily find a new home every night in front of closed buildings on J Street, along the river or in the alley behind my apartment. Although I enjoy seeing Gandalf the Grey merrily ride his bicycle through my neighborhood nearly every morning, I wish he had a comfortable, warm place to call home. Unfortunately, he may have to migrate to a new city for that kind of help. (J.K.)

14. … bees in your area are going extinct.

In Sacramento, the name of your daily newspaper of record also happens to be the name of a small, flying insect that pollinates about 70 percent of the crops on the planet and is feared, by entomologists, to be going slowly extinct also. (M.W.)

15. … you have a secret remedy for river rash.

Every Sacramentan has a special summertime river spot. Drunken parents and boat-hopping partygoers toting red Solo cups do so at Paradise Beach. Hipsters, Midtowners and former tent city residents prefer the toxic currents between Sutter’s Landing and the 20th Street Bridge. East Sac kids and urban coyotes frequent Paradise Beach. It takes all kinds—and unfortunately, at one point or another, everyone gets river rash. Here’s my remedy: coconut oil, a bottle of aloe from the Co-Op, vinegar and an eighth of marijuana. Treat the rash with alternating remedies of aloe and vinegar for the first 24 hours. Cook the marijuana with the butter, chill, then spread liberally on the rash for the subsequent 72 hours. (All right, you got me. This cure is B.S. Go see a dermatologist.) (N.M.)

16. … you’ve crashed your bike at least once into an unforeseen pile of leaves.

There was a time when humans just dumped their garbage in the street. It was called the Dark Ages, and everything sucked. Luckily, during the Enlightenment, the practice of throwing trash in the street went the way of chastity belts. That is, of course, unless you live in a Third World country—or in the City of Trees, where downtown citizens chuck tree clippings in the middle of the bike lane. Nothing says “world-class city” better than an unsuspecting cyclist slamming into a pile of leaves, thorns and branches. (T.C.)

17. … you’ve shelled out $12 for a 10-city-block cab ride.

OK, so maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but really, not by much. Our fair city stands as one of the few still-deregulated taxi industries in the United States. With a 2004 study by the city counting as many as 80 different cab companies on the streets, that’s a lot of unfettered price gouging going on. A few phone calls to businesses in the area revealed an average $4 flag-drop rate, with $3 each additional mile. Compare that to the $3.10 universal rate in San Francisco, with $2.25 each additional mile. Unlike our bigger, less expensive brothers, public transport is hardly a late-night option for Sacramentans. The answer? More dinner parties at home! (K.B.)

18. … you know that Ground Chuck is a person, not a cute furry animal.

Only real Sacramentans know that Ground Chuck is a local legend—not a cute furry animal. He may not have the national recognition of a Wayne Thiebaud or Adrian Tomine, but this Midtown fixture is known round these parts as an artist who’s equal parts eccentricity, talent and heart. And if you’re lucky enough to run into him on the grid, you just might get a raucous serenade out of the deal. (R.L.)

19. … politics is your day job and your hobby.

By day, they work in universities and law offices and state agencies. At night, they spend their hours at meetings of local school boards, city councils and planning commissions. Sacramento’s political class of activists, gadflies and cranks is big and raucous and sticks its nose into everything. Thank God. Some people complain that it’s hard to get anything done in this town. Maybe, but we think it’s part of the reason why Sacramento is still a great place to live. (C.G.)

20. … you only use your raft or canoe twice a year: once to float down the river in summer and once to get around a flooded Midtown in the winter.

The region has plenty of rivers that are lovely ways to imbibe oneself with the nature and river culture, including the traditional yet unofficial annual pilgrimage to float down the American on the doggiest day of summer. But your floatation device likely stays in storage the rest of the year—that is, until a winter storm floods the streets of Midtown, which become a grid of waterways. And what better way is there to get around the submerged city than to float? (S.S.)

21. … someone says their car has been “booted,” and you know they aren’t describing automotive winter footwear.

Instead, it means they have fallen victim to—horrors!—parking-ticket difficulties so bad that the city parking officers have attached a bright-orange boot to their vehicle’s wheel, rendering it inoperable until they pay off the tickets. That, or it might mean they are the mayor of West Sacramento, who had his flashy car booted for parking tickets while he enjoyed a cuppa at the downtown Temple Fine Coffee and Tea location. (K.M.)

22. … Time magazine calls your town “America’s most diverse city.”

“In Sacramento, everyone’s a minority,” the magazine noted back in 2002, adding that, “Although many cities are diverse … in Sacramento people seem to live side by side more successfully.” Sacramento may be a cow town, but it’s at least a multilingual, multicultural cow town. To hell with Portland envy. Have you been to Portland? White-bread city. (C.G.)

23. … you love the low-tech innocence of Fairytale Town, but regret once letting your toddler nephew take off running down the Crooked Road. (M.W.)

24. … you view most of Southern California as a blacktopped, flora-less void.

The disdain for SoCal can run pretty deep in the hearts of true Sacramentans, and vice versa, for a myriad of reasons—water supply, “hella,” the Lakers, The O.C. But greater than these is an air of superiority with regard to botany—perhaps well deserved. In 1955, Sacramento surpassed Paris in its title as the City of Trees, with more per capita than any other city in the world. By comparison, Southern California comes off looking like a lot of, well, pavement. (K.B.)

25. … you dismiss gossip that the Sacramento 6 Drive-In was torn down—again.

Ever wonder how Sacramento earned a chapter in the documentary <i>Trekkies 2</i>? We have a few local bands to thank.

Illustration by Mark Stivers

Real Sacramentans know this recurring tall tale about the demolition of the Sacramento 6 Drive-In is false. Yet nearly every year a flutter of gossip declares that the Rancho Cordova staple has been razed beyond all recognition. While the masses mourn the loss of cheap, outdoor double features, real Sacramentans pack a picnic basket of beer, Thai food and brownies for a night in front of the big screen—and under the stars. (J.K.)

26. … you involuntarily shudder when you hear the phrases “world-class city” or “cow town.”

For years, Sacramento has been referred to as a cow town, even though these days, you have to drive out of town for a while to see the nearest cow. The ubiquitous strip malls and housing developments that we shop at or live in have long ago displaced the bovine residents of the area. So the outdated and irrelevant nickname, seemingly most often used by non-Sacramentans, irritates those who live here and know better. But just as irritating is when folks throw around the idea that they want to transform Sac into a “world-class city.” Just like Phoenix, right Mayor Johnson? Sac has its own identity, and just as it doesn’t need to be called something it once was, it doesn’t need to be preternaturally pushed into being something it’s not, and Sacramentans know this. (S.S.)

27. … you’ve visited the region’s “Big Four” at the Old City Cemetery on Broadway. (M.W.)

28. … you know the shortest route between Land Park and Old Sac—the bike trail—or between downtown and Natomas—also bike trail.

You could navigate your way through the car-clogged streets of Land Park, Midtown and downtown, but true River City aficionados know that the best way to get from here to there is to follow the water. Ride your bike down the Sacramento path near the Sutterville Road exit off Interstate 5 and enjoy the ride all the way to West Sac. Of course you get the lovely water, but there are bonus amenities too: Freeway noise, concrete, yappy dogs, that weird, dilapidated railway switching station and, yet always, the sense that you’re skirting the big-city mayhem for something a little more Mark Twain-worthy. (R.L.)

29. … the trains in your town stop running well before midnight.

For many years, the knock on downtown Sacramento was that it had no nightlife. Now that it halfway resembles a decent entertainment district, unless you’re within walking distance, you’re going to have to risk driving home drunk if you want to stay out past midnight, because Sacramento Regional Transit’s light rail stops service well before then. (R.V.S.)

30. … you’re Dr. Jekyll on the sidewalk, but Mr. Hyde on the road.

Sacramento isn’t known for its friendly drivers. Truthfully, there are many reasons drivers rage: confusing highway systems (seriously, there are two Interstate 80s) and two-way streets miraculously turning into one-way roads. Yet nothing irks Sacramento drivers like pedestrians. As a driver, you curse at walkers for pushing their way across a busy street. But transitioning from driver to pedestrian is like Mr. Hyde transforming back into Dr. Jekyll. Step out of the car for a jaunt down the street and you suddenly possess Magneto-like powers, forcing every hunk of metal to stop on your whim. Poor bike riders are caught in the middle of the battle—the limbo of transportation in a faux bike-friendly city. (J.K.)

31. … you can filter out the other sushi-bar white noise to get to the good stuff.

Throw a stone in our town and you’re more likely to hit a sushi joint than a Starbucks. It seems that when Sacramento likes something, it just doesn’t know when to say when. And Sacramento loves its mayo-drenched variations on sushi. But a real River City resident has a more discerning palate, knowing what nigiri to spit and what nori to swallow. Megami. Zen. Nishiki. Akebono. What’re we missing? We know you know. (K.B.)

32. … you’ve had your ass kicked for calling state workers lazy in public. (R.V.S.)

33. … you’re actually from Roseville.

Here’s how the big lie works: Someone asks the innocent, “Where ya from?” and you respond, “Sacramento.” You’ll get away with it—until they inquire what high school you attended. Then you backtrack: “Actually, I moved to Los Angeles after high school, then back to Sac, but originally I’m from Roseville.” Most people will let this go—except for a true Sacramentan, born and raised, who will wonder why you lied in the first place. Because, Roseville boy, you are most definitely not from Sacramento. (N.M.)

34. … you’re drinking beer at a live music show and the kid next to you looks no older than 13.

How many times has this happened to you: You’re grooving to a sick live set, when all of a sudden you get bumped from behind by a bunch of giggly hipster teenagers elbowing their way towards the stage. Welcome to Sacramento’s music scene, where live shows are so desperate for crowds they’ll let people of all ages inside. (T.C.)

35. … raccoons tend to eat your backyard goldfish.

This blurb is dedicated to Biggie, Freckles, Creamsicle, Popsicle and Lefty, a quintet of fat, plump goldfish that last week in the dead of night were tragically plucked from their backyard pond and devoured by a vicious, probably rabid raccoon. As anyone with outdoor goldfish can tell you, this happens all too often in Sacramento. (R.V.S.)

36. … you’ve had a tree fall on your car or house.

Claiming to have the most trees per capita in the world, you’d think the River City would be called the City of Trees more often. The plethora of woody plants in the vicinity is not only a source of pride for Sacramentans, but also a source of beauty and shady relief in paralyzing summer heat waves. But most memorably, trees here are more likely to be known as the things that fall on top of your car during a storm. Whether it’s a small or hefty limb that broke off, or an entire tree that’s been uprooted and crashed onto your auto—or better yet, your house—it’s a rite of passage for living in the Sacramento area to be christened by a falling urban forest. (S.S.)

37. … you’ve been strip-searched by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s bodyguards at Capital Athletic Club. (R.V.S.)

38. … you were welcomed to the neighborhood with a gift basket full of allergy meds.

The big drawback to all the beautiful trees, a newbie will learn quite quickly, is all the sneezing and wheezing fits that accompany each spring’s arrival. If you’ve never had issues with allergies before—give it time. Eventually, you’ll feel right at home. In 2008, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America placed Sacramento at 42 out of the 100 Worst Cities for Allergies. Of course, that’s way down from 2006’s No. 8 ranking, but each year’s score varies with predicted prevalence of pollen and molds based on last season. So who’s to say? 2010 might be our year! (Bless you.) (K.B.)

39. … a riverbank is your idea of a beach.

Mention you’re from California, and people from out of state automatically think you spend your summers surfing on the beach saying words like “gnarly” and “radical.” Don’t they know there is more to California than crisp Orange County skin, bikini tan lines and boob jobs? Yet even residents of NorCal yearn for beach living during the scorching summer months. We may not have Southern California beaches, but we do have many riverbanks perfect for catching rays and partying the summer days away. Plus, we don’t leave the beach caked with a salty film at the end of the day. (J.K.)

40. … you suffer from an inferiority complex.

Sacramento is a beautiful city and a very enjoyable place to live, yet many of its residents suffer from low self-esteem. It’s so intense, they refuse to tell friends, family members and even loved ones where they actually live. If you are among those afflicted by such thinking, you need to do some serious soul searching. After all, you could be residing in Fresno. (R.V.S.)

41. … you know the entire Denio’s auction theme song—by heart.

Even if you’ve never been to the Denio’s Roseville Farmer’s Market & Swap Meet, you know the theme song if you’ve lived in the area for any period of time. The lyrics are silly, the tune is annoyingly catchy and the result is undeniably Sacramento: “Take a peek at Denio’s, farmers’ market and auction / What’s new at Denio’s? / Denio’s this week.” Cementing its place in local culture: The Alkali Flats busted out a snappy cover version. Seriously, YouTube it. (R.L.)

42. … you know the difference between “Capitol” and “capital.” (M.W.)

43. … you know arriving one hour before your flight is 30 minutes too early.

When out-of-towners say they need to arrive at the Sacramento International Airport at least two hours early, you laugh it off. Flying from Sac is a breeze. That’s why Sacramentans always choose their hometown airport over San Francisco or Oakland. You can park, check your luggage, go through security, pick up a Starbuck’s latte and make it to your gate within 30 minutes. (J.K.)

44. … you wonder when they’re going to get around to saving the Tower.

A few years back, the city council wanted to give $10 million to Century Theatres to open its own indie-flavored cinema on K Street—likely drying up the supply of independent and art films for the Tower and Crest theaters. So, a little “Save the Tower” rebellion sprang up and the city backed off, but warned the Tower’s Australia-based owners, Reading International, that it needed to fix up the long-neglected art house. Seven years later, Tower’s marquee still reads “Save the Tower,” and few improvements seem to have been made. Hey, Reading, save it already. (C.G.)

45. … you’ve developed meter-maid intuition.

You’re running a bit late for work, and there happens to be a prime parking spot right in front of your favorite Sacramento java joint. Sure, you could park a few blocks away to avoid paying the meter, but it’s only going to take two minutes to get a regular coffee. And why should you pay for a whole 15 minutes of parking if you’re only going to park for three minutes—maybe five? So you risk it, deciding not to pay the meter. Yet, as you exchange your ATM card for a delicious cup of caffeine, the hairs on your neck stand up, your fingers start to tingle and cold sweats consume your body. You quickly retrieve your card from the barista, forgo dairy and sweetener supplements and rush toward your car. But it’s too late. The helmet-head meter maid driving the Steve Urkel vehicle has already visited, and left a nice present on your windshield. (J.K.)

46. … you grumble about how boring Sacramento can be, but love it to death anyways.

I’ve been told that I should get out and see more of the world because I rarely step foot outside of Sacramento. But I don’t. Why? Well, what do you expect from someone who thinks Sacramento is way cooler than a place like San Francisco? Other places are great for visiting, but I can’t imagine living anywhere else in the long run. When I tell people I was born and raised in Sacramento, I like to add that I’m probably going to die in Sacramento, too. How’s that for being a Sacramentan?

—Jenna Fong


SN&R’s facebook friends join in You know you’re a Sacramentan when …’

47. … you hear ‘Sacratomato’ and know what that means.

—Julia Beckner

48. … you are excited your team is only the third worst team in the NBA. At least you are better than the Warriors.

—John Phillips

49. … someone drives their car through your neighborhood bar.

—Ray A. Terlesky

50. … you know that Sacramento loosely defined somehow includes Elk Grove, North Highlands, Roseville, Folsom, Citrus Heights and everywhere and anywhere near the central point of the Capitol.

—Susan Raines, Sacramento Examiner

Sacramento&#8217;s claim to have the most trees per capita in the world is a source of civic pride. But the distinction comes with a disclaimer: Tree-limb crashes&#8212;on top of your car or home&#8212;are a common rite of passage for living here.

Illustration by Mark Stivers

51. … you read SN&R.

—Susan Raines, Sacramento Examiner

52. … you get scolded by Kevin Seconds.

—Josh Fernandez

53. … a clerk in Dallas asks how much a “sack of potatoes” is, and you get homesick.

—Brian Robison

54. … you pull a body from the river during the salmon run.

—Mike McCarrick

55. … you are driving around in bumper-to-bumper traffic at 4 p.m., since no one works ’til 5 p.m. here.

—Tyler Campell

56. … you look for mac and cheese on the menu of an upscale restaurant.

—Ian Merker

57. … anything bad happens in the city and you automatically mumble ‘Damn that Arnold’ under your breath.

—Marcy Damian

58. … you say the best thing about Sacramento is it’s only two hours from San Francisco and two hours from Lake Tahoe.

—Steve Weinel

59. … you lovingly refer to it as The Pit.

—Dawn Kiley

60. … during the summer,it’s 99 degrees, and you think it is a cool day.

—George Raya

61. … you find yourself saying, “Yes, but it’s a dry heat … ”

—Amy Yannello

62. … you’re driving in a nice neighborhood, go over an overpass and then you’re in the ghetto.

—Ashley Soto

63. … you think it’s normal to see Downtown James Brown teach break-dancing moves to state employees and local tattoo artists on the sidewalk.

—Alexia Alexander

64. … you know one of the members from the Deftones personally and have seen Cake practice their music.

—Jared Konopitski

65. … you know every nook and cranny of the American River Bike Trail.

—Jared Konopitski

66. … you know at least one contributing writer for SN&R, SubMerge magazine and Midtown Monthly.

—Jared Konopitski

67. … you constantly are running into Stan Atkinson.

—Jason Lewis

68. … you hear the word “bee” and cringe.

—Estee Lee-Mountel

69. … you pass through four cities just driving to the mall.

—Joanna Lane

70. … you run into at least three people you know every time you go grocery shopping at Safeway.

—Julie Kurtz

71. … being a deejay is considered an occupation.

—Julie Kurtz

72. … your New Year’s resolution is to move to “The City.”

—Julie Kurtz

73. … you have to call in to see if you can use your fireplace.

—Rick Boyd

74. … you realize you can throw a rock in any direction and hit an amazing sushi, Mexican or Thai restaurant; but also realize that you have to drive to San Francisco for good Chinese food.

—Illana Burk

75. … you’re hella tight for days and shit.

—Drew Walker

Sacramento, home of the speed bump, is famous for experimenting with its motorists. Our traffic circles are perhaps the worst &#8220;improvement&#8221; projects ever conjured.

Illustration by Mark Stivers

76. … your favorite ice-cream parlor gives away what neighborhood you grew up in: Vic’s, Burr’s, Gunther’s or Leatherby’s.

—Elisa Olmo

77. … you can navigate the complex freeway system: the 80 split, the 99 interchange to 80 and the 80 interchange to 50.

—Victoria Gemmill

78. … you hear someone say “the P,” and know they are talking about Oak Park.

—Moises Castillo

79. … someone mentions ‘Lipstick,’ and you don’t think of makeup first.

—Amanda Potts

80. … you know the best pizza is Luigi’s and the best burger is a Squeeze with cheese.

—Thom Bayne

81. … you can get gigs for your band around town and outside town, but are always searching in town.

—James Wilson

82. … you ask, “Which Highway 80?”

—A. Pamela Edwards

83. … you know every swimming hole, rope swing and bridge jump from the Bay Area to Tahoe.

—Sydney Vander White

84. … you remember when Old Sacramento was skid row and the state fair was on Stockton Boulevard.

—Diane Rake

85. … you actually enjoy the summer heat.

—Victor Forman

86. … you know that Sacramento river smell.

—Sarah Descallar

87. … you’ve dreamed of mounting the silver horse outside the Midtown Safeway.

—Brian Breneman

88. … you stop noticing the 11 a.m. Friday air-raid siren test.

—Jon Duran

89. … you’re too embarrassed to wear the color purple.

—Sandra Moore

90. … you know there is no point to going downtown after sunset unless you are 21 or older.

—Sandra Moore

91. … someone mentions MARRS, and you know it’s between Luigi’s Slice and the tequila bar, not between Earth and Jupiter.

—Debi Thomas

92. … you know how to get to West Sac from Old Sac using only back streets.

—Raymond Sanchez

93. … you know who Dorothea Puente is and where her house was.

—Raymond Sanchez

94. … you have a better economic plan for Sacramento than an actor and basketball player ever would.

—Raymond Sanchez


You’re officially a Sacramentan when …

95. … you know that a gig at the Memorial Auditorium almost killed Rolling Stones’ guitarist Keith Richards.

Yep, Sacramento is more dangerous than drugs. At a gig in December 1965 at the Memorial Auditorium, the young and not quite as bad Richards accidentally touched his guitar strings to an ungrounded microphone, suffering electrocution in front of his band mates and the audience. He came to in a local hospital about an hour later. Oh, and he was playing a Telecaster. (K.M.)

96. … you hate ‘Big Shot Bob.’

Seriously, name a man more loathed in Sacramento than Robert Horry. You remember: 2002 NBA Western Conference Championships. Game four. A few seconds remain. The Kings stuff Kobe Bryant, but Vlade Divac spikes the ball—“Don’t Vlade, no!”—to a wide-open Bob, who puts down the big three and ties up the series. Of course, our Kings tried their darnedest. Mike Bibby never played better. The cooks at downtown’s Hyatt even got in on the act with that fateful but failed Kobe burger. Still, it wasn’t enough to overcome the refs in Game 6. Or our dear Kings’ free-throw woes in Game 7. A decade later, any true Sacramentan still shudders at the memory. (N.M.)

97. … the “Unabomber” still gives you chills.

A former UC Berkeley mathematician named Ted, a man often spotted wearing sunglasses and a gray hoodie, knew your town well—too well. This manifesto-writing FBI target brought his maniacal, explosive sense of justice to your town. Then justice was served up on him. (M.W.)

98. … you remember that we’ve already had a national professional basketball championship.

It was 2005 when Ticha Penicheiro, Yolanda Griffith, Kara Lawson and company brought home the national title for the WNBA Monarchs. Of course, you’re really a Sacramentan if you also know that, a mere four years later, the team-owning Maloofs pulled the plug on our professional women’s basketball team. (K.M.)

99. … you sleep with a wooden stake and a mallet under your pillow.

Folks around here have taken vampires seriously since late 1977, when Richard Trenton Chase, a.k.a. the Vampire Killer of Sacramento, went on a month-long killing spree that took the lives of six people, made all the more horrific by the fact that Chase drank the blood and cannibalized the remains of his victims. The severely mentally ill killer committed suicide on San Quentin’s death row in 1980, but his terrifying legacy haunts us still. (R.V.S.)

100. … you’ve been stuck in a traffic circle.

No city in the nation experiments on its motorists with more zeal than Sacramento, birthplace of the speed bump and its smaller cousins, the speed hump and the speed lump. Whether it’s traffic circles in Midtown or the intersection of Freeport Boulevard and 21st Street—a $4 million hose monster that is perhaps the worst road “improvement” project ever conceived—no one does bad better than the River City. (R.V.S.)

This story has been corrected from its original print version.