Hello, new friend. I’m so excited to meet my first local here at this adorable coffee shop. I can’t believe a latte only costs five dollars. What is this? A developing country? Ha ha, just kidding. I recently moved here from California, so everything seems cheap to me.

Why did I move here? Well, I’ve been living in the Bay Area for the last ten years, and I decided it was time to cash in on my two-bedroom bungalow, so I could buy a 4,000-square-foot home on fifteen acres here. It was a bit of a fixer-upper. We had to remodel the kitchen and four bathrooms, and rip out the old floors to put in that stuff that looks like wood. But even after that, we still had so much money left over that I probably could have bought another house.

No, people like me aren’t responsible for the increasing cost of housing here. First of all, the houses here are so cheap that they’re practically being given away. Second, we bring opportunities. For example, I hired local contractors for our remodel. I created jobs. Plus, I still had money left over.

What did I do with that extra money? I bought a Tesla, of course. I also bought one for each member of my family, including my six-month-old daughter. Sure, she can’t drive yet, but we use it to take her on drives and rock her to sleep when she’s fussy. It’s been a great investment.

It sure is great not to have to pay for gas with prices so high right now. But gas here is only around five bucks a gallon, which is so much cheaper than in California. I mean, it’s almost like it’s free.

Yes, I guess if you have to commute long distances, gas does add up to something slightly higher than zero. Oh, your commute is now forty-five minutes longer every day? What is it? Fifty-five minutes? Ha ha, just kidding. I have no idea how far things are because I know nothing about this state. I guess I’ll learn more about it soon enough.

I’ve noticed there’s, like, no traffic compared to the Bay Area. You know I once spent three days in traffic on the Bay Bridge? And I still had to pay the bridge toll. I love that I haven’t had to pay a bridge toll since I moved here. It’s just another way everything is so much cheaper.

Hey, look at that sandwich—it’s only twelve dollars. Server, I’ll have ten of those.

Did you say you need to get back to work? That’s too bad. We were just getting to know each other. Can you be a little late? I’ll cancel my Zoom meeting, and we can keep chatting.

You’ll get fired if you’re late? That sounds pretty harsh. Sometimes I skip meetings without telling anyone, yet I still have my tech job. Anyway, if you do get fired, I’m sure you’ll be fine since everything here is so cheap.