Thursday, October 20, 2011
So, now that I am back East, many people have asked me what it was like living in California after having grown up in New Jersey and lived in New York. Ummm, should I really answer that? Are Californians reading this? Okay, okay, it wasn’t that bad, I’m exaggerating…um, a little. Yeeeees, it’s stunning there, and yeees, the weather is always nice, well, almost always… But, the hot Santa Ana winds there, in 85 degree weather, are definitely not fun, especially if you’re not under cover, and they did seem to last several months starting right around October. And occasionally, despite popular belief, it does actually get cold there, and I did get to wear my Polar worthy winter coat and tall boots, occasionally. ;-) Living there offered a lot, as I was in the gorgeous town of Newport Beach, thus I had the stunning coast of rolling hills and marvelous mansions, only one of which did I ever get to set foot in, by the way, as despite the OC Housewives’ trying to portray it, not everyone lives like that there. ;-) And I had the beach in the morning and the mountain snow in the afternoon, as the saying goes, as the mountains were only a few hours away from me, so I guess I could have surfed and skied in the same day – though who really does that?? Five years there and I can say I liked Cali, and I saw a lot of it (specifically San Francisco, which rocks, but then it is a whole lot like New York City, after all. ;-)). However, I just can not say I loved it, and here’s why. The people. Yes, the people. Don’t get me wrong, I made some really great friends while there, and hopefully they will let me be their friend for all the rest of my days (maybe not after they read this, though – Hi, Cali friends, love youuuuu!) ;-), BUT, ‘most’ Californians are just a bit strange. I’m sorry, it’s true. They are SOOOO different from east coasters. Not only do they talk slower, walk slower, drive slooooooower, but I think they are just a little too “chilled”, for me anyway. Some people reading this would think to be chilled is so totally cool, I mean, why would I criticize that? Don’t many believe that east coasters are all wound up and too nutty? Yeah, but I’ll take nutty or kooky any day of the week!!! In Cali, I think they thought I was on speed, or something. I was even asked once if I have an “off” switch. Okay, that one was actually really funny, but you know what I mean! Right?? On the east coast, and especially New York, you’re praised for your energy, complimented for your quick thinking and acting, and rewarded for your ability to do 500 things at once. In Cali, you show energy like that, and you are looked at like you’re an alien. There, east coasters are always told to slow down, take a breath….relaaaaaaax. But why? Why do I want to slow dooooown? Whyyyy? There’s so much to do!! Not enough hours in the day, ahhhhhhh! Besides, I can smell the roses as I am running by on my way to get everything done, right?! ;-) Well, perhaps I am exaggerating a bit again, but I think I’m painting the picture, right? The other thing about the people in Cali is that they are extremely non-committal. RSVPing for an event? What’s that? It’s a foreign concept to them. I threw a costume party one year, and I (almost literally) had to chase down people to get an answer, and then many who had said yes to the invite didn’t even show up (!), and many who had said no, well, they basically crashed the party!!!! Again, so different. I mean who does that? Right? Oh, and there’s more…. you could go months without hearing from a friend there, even if he or she is unemployed and sitting home eating bon-bons, as they just are “so chilled, dude”, that they wait for you to call/write/visit/announce that you’re even still alive. On the east coast, if you don’t text back in 3-point-2 minutes, they panic and assume you’ve been kidnapped. They contact all your other friends and family and coworkers to be sure you’re OK. And if you say no to a party, the host comes to your house and pulls you into the car and drives your butt to the party. Californians, or should I say ‘most’ Californians, just don’t care to get all riled up. “It’s cool”, they say, and they mean it. I mean, it is kind of enviable – in some ways, but I’m fairly certain that if I jumped off a bridge, most would say, “That’s cool…it’s what she wanted…it’s was her life”. Whereas on the east coast? Oh, totally different. Friends on the east would likely jump off before me, so totally loyal, even if I ended up changing my mind!!!!!!
See, that’s the thing. The heart and soul of east coasters is so truly deep and genuine. It’s loud like we are, and beats at a fast pace just like the speed of the cars on the streets of Manhattan. Oh, and don’t get me started on the work environment….. Yes, I made several great friends at work in Cali, I really did, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to have worked with them, but you see, that’s also where I got the “off switch” comment made, and that’s also where the ability to juggle 500 things at once was seen as alien-like! Slooooow dooooown, they said…..relaaaaaax. Ahhhhhhhh. LOL. So, one day while at work, I logged on to a competitor’s website and said, “Wow, that company is really awesome”, only to get the response of “Oh, we can’t keep up with them! They come out with too much and too fast!!!” Hmmmm, “Really?”, I thought to myself, “isn’t that what we’re supposed to do in this ‘ever-changing-technology-advancing-in-a-nano-second’ environment?”. So you see, folks, in short, though I loved the soft sand of Newport Beach, the stunning rounded sky-touching mountains of Big Bear, the golden arches of San Francisco, and more….I can leave them behind as far as my ‘residence’, and actually that’s exactly what I did. This past June, after 5 years as a “slightly alien-like nutty blonde” with “no off switch” on the west coast, I traded in my flip flops and I happily came back home to New York, back to my nutty but lovable family, back to my kooky but soulful friends, back to the smell of Fall, the gorgeous colors of foliage, and soon, the falling snow on the city streets. And, with all that, I can still have my ‘beach’ in the summer. Best of all worlds, right? So, rewind to my return home, and picture it: As I walked down the city streets of the Big Apple a few weeks ago, and as I stood with goose bumps on the anniversary of 9/11 right on Lexington Avenue praying for those that lost their lives that day to peacefully rest in heaven, I thanked God for my decision to come back, and for being “home”. Oh, and lucky me? Remember that ‘competing company’ I mentioned earlier? The one I envied? Guess where I work now? That’s riiiiiiiiiight, folks. Lucky me, working at W-A-C with like-minded nutty and kooky, lovable and loyal east coasters, none of whom ask me if I have an “off switch”……….. ;-)
Sr. Marketing Manager