Apologies in advance to my brother, his wife and their dog; my friend Elaine and everyone else who lives in California, but we here in Arizona like toying with the idea that your state may one day disconnect and be swept out to sea.

Warning/Ryn Gargulinski

Warning/Ryn Gargulinski

California residents wouldn’t have to die over this, of course, but just change their zip code to somewhere in the middle of the ocean.

Arizona would be sublime as a waterfront.

While the thought of adding the water to our already expansive sandy beaches is scrumptious, the idea that Arizona would actually become California in other ways is not.

Sure, we like the highway system in San Diego, which runs circles around the putt-putt roads of Tucson.

We also dig California’s Governor, mainly because of his accent and his guest appearance way back when on Streets of San Francisco when he threw a floor lamp and exclaimed “I am not a freak.”

But we could do without some other aspects of the Golden State.

Warning/Ryn Gargulinski

Warning/Ryn Gargulinski

Like the hazard warnings on everything. A case in point was the sign by a resort hotel’s elevator: “Warning: This facility contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer, and birth defects or other reproductive harm.”

Have a nice stay. Sure made sleeping there a breeze. I spent hours awake and writhing wondering if staff were pumping asbestos through the little hotel room vents.

Similar warnings have appeared on arts and craft supplies and even pillows and couch cushions.

“Do not lick that upholstery. It could cause cancer.”

Seems like you can’t do anything these days without being threatened with a deadly disease or mutated babies, especially if you happen to live in California.

These stern warnings are the product of the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment’s Proposition 65, which requires “clear and reasonable” warnings for certain chemicals to be listed where the chemicals may possibly be found. It also applies to food items.

“Warning: the grapefruit you are about to eat could kill you.”

Gas stations are a prime location for these admonishments. Some of the pumps even have little tubes around the nozzle, lest you accidentally get a whiff of the miniscule amount of fumes that may waft upwards towards your nostrils.

Another place California goes overboard is with its severe anti-smoking laws. Smoking, which causes cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm, by the way, is prohibited in all public places. Outdoor public places. No smoking on beaches, in parks, in cars that have kids in them, or anywhere else besides your home.

Warning/Ryn Gargulinski

Warning/Ryn Gargulinski

Well, unless you live in Belmont, Calif., where you are not allowed to smoke in your home – unless it is freestanding and far from your neighbors.

Smoking is banned in apartments, condos or any other dwelling that shares a wall with another unit. Neighbors are encouraged to uphold this law by snitching if they smell a cigarette or hear a lighter being lit next door.

Yes, we all know smoking is dirty, gross, costly and can lead to a whole host of terminal ailments, but sometimes these restrictions go too far. Especially in California.

The high cost of living is another California thing we could do without. Some of Tucson’s two bedroom homes – where you can smoke – can be had for fewer than $200,000, rather than the more than $2 million for some of California’s non-smoking counterparts.

The trick is to buy now, while Arizona is still landlocked and real estate affordable. If you guard your home and yard against smokers and quit licking those couch cushions, you may even stay alive long enough to enjoy Arizona as a waterfront when or if it finally happens.

Ryn Gargulinski is a poet, artist, performer and TucsonCitizen.com Ryngmaster who once lived in Northern California’s redwood forest. Listen to a preview of her column at 8:10 a.m. Thursdays on KLPX 96.1 FM. Her column appears every Friday on Rynski’s Blogski. E-mail rynski@tucsoncitizen.com.
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What other quirky restrictions or laws would you change in Arizona or other states?

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