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Lemon County: Legal Lemons...

Updated on December 15, 2011

Lemon (County) Laws...

I don't mean the lemon laws about the car you shouldn't have bought because the wheels fell off on the way home. I mean the unwritten laws pertaining to living in lemon county. The social norms, as it were, but break them, and you discover there are consequences. These are those pesky little rules designed to catch out the unwary, marking you indelibly as not one of us. And I say "us" like I belong, but I know that even after living here for almost twenty years, I am still, and always will be, a foreigner...

The first law is that you must play every day.

Recreation is huge. Playing or coaching sports is a biggie, as is going to the gym, yoga class or the fitness craze du jour. This is however not enough. You need to mountain bike, ski or snowboard, surf or SUP (stand up paddle board), ride motorcycles in the dessert, and ride sea-doos or kayak in the harbor, preferably all in one weekend. You need to play golf twice a week, and scuba dive twice a year. Sitting still is completely illegal, so jogging, running or walking every day is a must. Even watching TV is to be done standing around with male friends so that you can animatedly punch the air, moan in despair, and high five at an aerobic level.

There are of course numerous articles and amendments to the above law. All activities must be done in appropriate clothing. Each activity has a strict dress code, and all such clothing and equipment must be less than six months old.

It is also absolutely forbidden to do any activity without a water bottle attached to the body or less than two feet away. This water must not come from a faucet, or locally. It must have traveled a three thousand mile minimum, to have the correct properties. Oh, and you don't drink water, you hydrate. Your water may have vitamins and natural flavorings added, but calories are banned.

Vacations are likewise, important, and thus mandated. Living in vacation-land is no excuse, it is vitally important for the health of the family unit to go to Hawaii once a year. Once there, you need to rent all of the recreational materials that are resting at home in your garage, and then you do all of the stuff you do back home, but Hawaiian style. It is acceptable to visit "Europe" in lieu of Hawaii as long as it is not too often. (BTW Europe is not a country, and all of it is not actually 'cute'.) A vacation in Mexico does not really count because you should have a weekend place down there, but Puerto Rico is acceptable if you are a serious surfing family and you speak Spanish.

The law states that you must not do anything yourself. Things like cutting the grass, washing your car, cleaning your house, fixing broken things, all these should be done by someone else. This is important because when you are not actually engaged in your career, you need to be playing (see law number one). Homeowners Associations (the primary law enforcement body in lemon county) take a dim view of homeowners being in their front yard for any reason. Gardeners are fine, and there should be a white craftsman's van outside your house a minimum of three times a month.

If for some bizarre reason you are found, say, changing the front brakes on a 1992 Saturn because you can, your house will be put up for sale to pay the extortionate fine, your belongings put into storage, and all in under six hours.

You will be informed by mail of your transgression, but seeing as you are now post restant at the nearest motel eight, you will not know exactly what you did wrong, and how much you now owe for the short sale, administrative fees, storage fees, and labor.

Another law that I personally always seem to have fallen foul of on a regular basis, is that all objects in the landscape have to be regularly trimmed. Grass, I understand, hedges and bushes, sure, but mature trees? It is the law that trees must be cut and made funny looking. There are some trees, coral trees for example, that cannot actually support their own weight, so trimming them is needed (whatever happened to natural selection?), but it breaks my heart to see beautiful trees treated like oversize Bonsai. Big sticks with green balls work ok when you're playing with Legos, not so much with a stand of forty-foot trees. I digress; the law is the law, even when it is unwritten.

Oh, yes, up there in the totally failed department, is the law that everyone has to be skinny. Bellies are banned in Lemon County. All women, regardless of age, must be size zero. All men have to have the same waistline they had on the day they got married. This is mostly achieved through rule one, playing as exercising, but is especially challenging in an area with so many outstanding places to eat. Cheating in this area is also completely acceptable, and anything that holds the promise of making you thinner, or making you look younger, is to be tried. I have to report that the irony is not lost on me when I see guys in “Old Guys Rule” t-shirts, who are in their sixties or better, and are way fitter than I was at twenty. (I’d like to create an answer back t-shirt that reads, “Old Guy’s Rule. Guy says, get fat and give in already.”)

I have to report that, though I know the Lemon Laws, I have patently failed at becoming a true Lemonillo. My only hope is that I may help a few of you avoid the wrath of the locals, should you ever have the urge to visit us.

Not knowing the law, unwritten or not, is no defense…

Dear Hub Reader

If you enjoy this hub, please check out my book,

Homo Domesticus; A Life Interrupted By Housework,

A collection of my best writings woven into a narrative on a very strange year in my life.

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    • ChrisLincoln profile image

      ChrisLincoln 6 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California


      Thanks for the read, comment and follow. I'm married to a SoCal girl, loves the north (both or her sons were born in Walnut Creek) and would return in a heartbeat. She remembers the orange trees...

      There are a whole host of Lemon County hubs here, I hope you get the chance to delve into my back issues, as it were, love to get your take on them, being semi pro and all that...

      Air kiss


    • Susie Writes profile image

      Susan 6 years ago from Northern California

      Hi Chris. I grew up in SoCal and lived in OC, er, um, Lemon County from the late 60's through part of the 80's. Did you know there actually used to be Orange Trees there? Groves and groves of them. It smelled wonderful. Guess people like exhaust fumes better now though. We left 20 years ago and found what is paradise to us in NorCal. Glad so many people love it down there in LC though. Keeps the population in check up here. ;-) Voted up. Fun hub!

    • ChrisLincoln profile image

      ChrisLincoln 6 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California


      If I've managed to make everyone not in Lemon County to feel a little better, that has to be good right?

      I heard about the nightmare scenario of working in a big box store in a response to another hub about shopping on black Friday - I felt kind of bad for the poor woman...

      ( )

      Today we have been hit by clear skys, mid seventies and a light south westerly breeze, but horror or horrors, it might rain on Wednesday (full on disaster in LC, see )

      And thanks for the up and awesome!

    • Pixienot profile image

      Pixienot 6 years ago from Clarksville, Indiana

      Well, Chris, between you and Nellie, I have in the past ten minutes come to appreciate my modest little town here in Southern Indiana.

      We are so blessed that the bad weather just misses us (most of the time!)

      When winter storms hit my girl (45 miles north), my sister (100 miles east) and my other girl (67 miles south) we seldom see any action. You do know I don't literally mean "hit," don't you? I thought so.

      As for the "community" affect - there is none , therefore we don't have to worry about rules so much.

      In fact the local Walmart (1/2 mile away) allows folks to come in and just steal whatever they can with no consequences (we're talking TV's, guns, ammo, big stuff) and the poor employees are lucky to punch out of an evening still in one piece.

      The children run wild at Walmart and patrons have to watch out for them, as well as employees get yelled at if they tell the kids to quit skateboarding in the store.

      Ya gotta love the mid-west!

      So, I'm counting my blessings and happy to be in little ole' Clark County. We have our flaws, and our good things, too, I suppose! :)

      Voted up and awesome.

      A good read. Funny and fun to read. Thank you!

      Voted up and awesome!

    • ChrisLincoln profile image

      ChrisLincoln 6 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California


      First, thanks for the follow.

      Took your bloody time about it, mind you, but still, sweet...

      Rich people are not like us. They have more money for one thing, and anyone who spends ten grand on a two wheeled machine without a wicked engine needs serious help.

      I have taken to walking. Not meandering, the deadly serious, look at me I'm exercising type walking, bought the proper shoes and everything, but have to rebel in some small way with utterly inappropriate t-shirts. Oh, and I don't carry a water bottle, but I feel like I'm circling the drain, getting sucked into the new "normal". Sue normally puts me straight...


    • Stan Fletcher profile image

      Stan Fletcher 6 years ago from Nashville, TN

      This was a great piece of work my friend. I've found it to be true in all of the affluent areas I've lived close to, namely the East Side of Seattle and Scottsdale, AZ. You have to be rich, or in debt up to your eyeballs, to even pretend to keep up. I started running years ago when I realized I would never be able to afford the "right" kind of bicycle. It's not uncommon for a bicycle to cost $4000, with some going well over $10,000. (The other reason I quit riding was that I was more and more convinced that I was going to be run over soon.)

      As far as SoCal goes, I would live there in a heartbeat. Lots of stuff to do and great weather to do it in.

      I have to go. My organic oatmeal is almost done, and I have to get my dog down to the dog spa for her weekly massage before the lawn crew shows up.

    • ChrisLincoln profile image

      ChrisLincoln 6 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California


      Touched a nerve there, did I?

      Still, we both live in some version of paradise, and one rainy day back on the beat in Blaydon would serve as a reminder of how great the change has been! I have not been cold since 1990 - remember that damp cold that made your jaw ache, and found its way in through the soles of your shoes...

      (There are also some really great people here - but talking about them would make for lousy hubs!)

      Cheers right back,


    • ChrisLincoln profile image

      ChrisLincoln 6 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California


      You and I will get along famously!

      My Mum had the right idea when she instructed us as children, in a very serious voice, "You must always follow the rules, they are very important. Unless they are silly, of course..."

      Black and White? I don't think so, more like really dark and really light gray...

      Thanks for reading and commenting,


    • ChrisLincoln profile image

      ChrisLincoln 6 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California


      Apart from being the total opposite of Lemon County weather-wise, (We have clear skys, seventies, and just drop dead beautiful) it does not sound anything like my image of Texas!

      We have stopped drilling for water as the ground water is a mix of saline and perchlorate thanks to the ocean and the aerospace industry, respectively! I hope your problems resolve themselves quickly, I guess this would be a major problem if you were running cattle. My only advice is to do what Southern California does - steal its water from the north!

      Take care and stay warm...


    • attemptedhumour profile image

      attemptedhumour 6 years ago from Australia

      Why spend twenty years there? Springs to mind. But then being looked down upon by every other person in a mile radius is something that us Brits are used to. In fact i hasten to add that we glean a certain amount of satisfaction out of daring to be oddities. You could spend twenty three hours per day trying to conform and still be ostracised for speaking with a forked tongue. You look odd, you act odd, you even write odd, but i say keep it up and keep shoving two fingers, or perhaps one, up to every lemon head in the county. But stay clear of Melbourne, we have standards to uphold. Cheers from an upper-lower-class ex-peasant. Address withheld.

    • Ivorwen profile image

      Ivorwen 6 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      I do believe it is my job in life to knowingly break all of the unwritten rules. I firmly believe that if it hasn't been enacted into law, it does not apply to me!

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 6 years ago from TEXAS

      OHMYGOSH - that is so funny. And, I believe, it is very close to the truth, from what I know of that area. In fact the whole of California is tinged with those rules. On my few visits there, I could not help but notice and it seeps into the persona of people of that faith - even on the internet. LOL. So good, Chris. It lightened the day for me immeasurably.

      It was a pretty day - a chilly wind but nice sunshine. I was out scurrying to get all my errands run before the onslaught predicted to begin at midnight - about 2 and a half hours from now. We will again have it start with rain, so that everything will be nice and wet and ready to glaze over. Then there will be some pellets of freezing rain, followed by several inches of snow and plummeting temperatures. I expect that my back patio screen door will again be frozen solid. Last week it froze up on Tuesday and it was Sunday before I could chip it loose to close the lid on the trash can - - after I emptied out the block of ice in it from being open all week during the winter storm. The trash wasn't picked up on its regular day, Friday, so I notice everyone up and down the alley has their cans out by the alley where we put them for pickup already, mine included. Just been carrying out more as it accumulates inside. Now I have set a chunk of concrete on the lid to keep it from blowing open since my side of the alley faces the North-northwest from whence the storm at midnight will come. Means the big arm which lifts the can and dumps it into the truck will just dump the chunk of concrete in there too. Not too "green" of me but heck. The weather is not too green either - and way off-course for Dallas, Texas!

      But that's not the worst of it. My ranch almost on the Rio Grande and Pecos has had the same weather and will get this siege of it too. So? Well - so the Border Patrol flying over noticed some of my water pipes were busted and a water flue was spewing into the air unceasingly. The county Sherriff's office called me Monday to tell me. The county seat is about 70 miles by road from my place. It's 6 or so miles to my nearest neighbor and they are the only permanent residents for miles and miles. I called them and they were battling their own water breaks but she said she would try to drive over and at least turn off my pump. That can't remain off though, or the holding tank will eventually run dry and it has fish in it. Unless they've frozen.

      I put in a call for my well man - who is about 50 miles away from my ranch on his own ranch, where he has his own water problems at the moment, as well as being the first call from anyone else needing help. He said he'd go over today and see what he could do. I haven't heard from him since 8AM this morning. He probably was out all day working and will call again in the morning to tell me what happened.

      That is country that is totally dependent on the deep well. My ranch is ten square miles of rugged land with no surface water and certainly no source other than the well, with its pump and miles of network of pipe to the 6 troughs scattered over it. Without the water, the wildlife is deprived. I have no livestock on it now, and no people. But for it to remain viable, it must have its water. If you can imagine any place and people any more totally opposite of Orange County - that is it. Playing is unheard of.

      Anyway - it is my roots but I am not "of" it. My folks came there in the 1920s and never lived down the "damnyankees" classification. We were always foreigners. And I was conceived there and born & grew up on the ranch and in the vicinity. I am lucky that any of them will give me the time of day. One wrong move and that's IT.

      Anyway - I loved your hub. You had me laughing and smiling from beginning to end. You are priceless, Chris.