Article from the 4/29/2016 Catalina Islander

Since I became "Catalina's Official Greeter", March 10, 2104, when the Chamber of Commerce assigned me to greet the cruise ships and cross channel boats, I have answered 46,069 questions.  These are some of the more interesting/unusual questions/comments:
"When did you change the name 'Santa Catalina Island' to 'Catalina'?"
"If you are the UFC fighter, beat up my wife!"  She was standing right behind him!
When I was able to point out a particular building to a young lady, she immediately went to her IPhone and said, "You are right."
"What hotel does this room key go to?"  There was no hotel name on the key.
"I'm looking for something 'authentic' for lunch."
Last week I listed the typical things that would force many us Islanders to leave our little Paradise, called Catalina..  I would now like to make some personal observations on what life is like on the "other side" of the ocean"
WHY DON'T ALL OF YOU WEIGH 300#!?!  Almost every business street corner has at least 3 different fast food places to eat!  Having had Pioneer and Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell, A + W Root Beer, Orange Julius, and Coldstone's, at one time or another, and because of a pallet fine tuned when I lived on the Mainland, I have developed a certain taste for "fast food" that cannot be matched on the Island.  I must admit, there have been times when I have only been on the Mainland for a short period of time and so I have gone to three different shops and have taken out three different lunches, at the SAME TIME, , because I can't make up my mind!
Renting the car has become a MAJOR cultural shock.  I drive a '71 VW Van, stick shift, which works out perfectly here, but when I go to the mainland and need to rent a car, then I realize how things change yearly!  I have often gone to my assigned car and sat there for 15 minutes, before I have to go inside and ask where the button is that you step on to change the intensity of your headlights.  ON THE STEERING WHEEL!?!  "Where are the 'window wiper' switches?  ON THE STEERING WHEEL!?!  How do you open the doors.  BUTTONS ON THE KEYS!?!  How do you unlock the steering wheel?  HOW DO YOU START THE CAR WITH NO KEYS, ONLY A STUB!?!  I sometimes wonder if all of these changes are necessary, but simply "Change For The Sake Of Change"!
Why do some of the major cities think that their quality of life is maintained by having buildings SO TALL that they blot out the sun and people have walk in the shadows? Why are the buildings SO large that they each could contain the entire population of Catalina Island?  Why do people walk down the sidewalks, by the thousands, as if they were lemmings following each other to the cliffs to eventually fall off and drown?  Maybe that is why you rarely EVER see anyone smiling on the mainland, and when you smile and wave at them, they look at you as if you are intruding or violating their "space"!  PITY!  I guess they are needing a "break" and should make plans to come to Catalina!!!
How can people plan around the traffic!?!  More than once I have tried to come over for a party or dinner, just to be told that if I take the morning boat over, the traffic would be lighter, but I would arrive WAY TO EARLY.  If I took the afternoon boat, I would hit "Rush Hour" and would arrive late!  I COULDN'T WIN, so I simply decided not to go over!  Unfortunately, have you seen the traffic we are getting on the Island, cruise ship days, Crescent/Metropole and Pebbly Beach Road/Clarissa?
Of course, violent crime is my main concern.  Although I have lived on the mainland, it still bothers me to watch your mainland morning television programs in hope of getting our daily weather report.  TALK ABOUT CRIME!!!  Someone is always murdered, drive by shootings, cross walk hit and run, etc., on a daily basis.  Watch your news objectively, and you will be SHOCKED at the bad image they portray!
To be fair, what I enjoy about the Mainland is how inexpensive their motels/hotels and restaurants are compared to ours, salad bars, greater variety of food, gas prices, specialty stores galore, and medical services. 
All things considered, we TRULY need each other.  As with most symbiotic relationships, our dependence on each other are quite different, but equally important!  Catalina and the mainland hopefully will ALWAYS have each other's best interest in mind and, because of that, we will both benefit!
If you have missed any other of my articles, you can check them out on my blog,, where my blog administrator, Rocky Wall, adds at least three new and old ones every week.  If you want to ask me Catalina oriented questions or make any comments regarding what I am doing on the Island, you can check out my "open group" on Facebook entitled "Chuck Liddell", administered by Mitch Hammond.  If you want to contact me directly, you can send me an email, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..