Europe is separated by languages, currencies, and culinary tastes, but at times it seems the divide between the West Coast and East Coast is more than geographic and that the only thing these bookends of the United States have in common is the English language, and sometimes even that is hella different. So in order to prevent culture shock for those who are straying outside their natural coast here are some basic differences between the East and West.
1. Food: In California, “thou shall not apply pesticides” is in the Eleventh Commandment. And there is no reason to eat your food when you can drink it. Anything and everything must be juiced, so long as it has never moved, unless, of course, it was to sway in the breeze. Food is free of everything — except for a hefty price tag. In New York, self-righteous eating is beginning to catch on, but New Yorkers are not ready to banish their beloved hot dog stands from the sidewalks. In New York, there is still nothing better than a burger too big for your mouth. But that said, feel free to carry your own mason jar back East with you so that you won’t need to pay ten bucks for an imitation marinara sauce jar in Williamsburg.
2. Weather: In California, you need to reduce your showering in the winter because you might personally use the last available drop of water. On the East Coast, you reduce your showering in the winter because it is too damn cold to take off your parka and snowshoes. Ever. As in: There is no point on spending money on winter clothes that go under your outerwear because no one will ever see them. When it finally reaches 75 degrees and the sun manages to shove its way through the clouds, East Coasters are filled with exuberance but also riddled with trepidation that it might never happen again. In contrast, for West Coasters, the biggest dilemma is whether to sunbathe on the grass or the hammock.
3. Transportation: First of all, grown men skateboard or, rather, long board in California, which is fine when you mostly wear flip flops or converse. This wouldn’t work with Wall Street $400 loafers, but scuffed dress shoes are probably the least of your worries if you attempt to longboard through the streets of New York. There is also no such thing as a “stroll” on the East Coast. The average walking pace is about twice the speed of the Marguerite. On the West Coast, you can ride a pastel colored cruiser, ever ready to be the target of a #nofilter instagram. In New York, it’s a bad idea to ride anything with a basket or tassels because it may prevent you from swerving in and out of cars. People ride bikes in New York as if they had two minutes to get to a ticking bomb they had to personally diffuse. If West Coast drivers were animals they would be tortoises ready for a nap and East Coast drivers would be starved greyhounds chasing the same rabbit. Drivers on the East Coast think they are participants in a mash up of bumper cars and go kart racing. West Coasters will actually wait at an intersection as you get out of your car, spread out a map and plan a cross-country road trip. They might even take the time to recommend a great lookout point. But the worst part about East Coast driving is that drivers pound on the car horn the same way the judges would hit the red button on The Voice if Adele ever happened to make a surprise visit. Thankfully, it seems, West Coasters have yet to be notified about the invention of the car horn.
3. Dress: The difference in dress can be illustrated by the fact that Mark Zuckerberg appears at meetings with Wall Street investors wearing a hoodie. Stiff suits are just not conducive to revolutionary idea development. Who in their right mind spends time ironing, buttoning up and tucking in a shirt? In fact who needs to wear a shirt at all? The Stanford uniform appears to be matching heather gray sweats from the bookstore, so stock up, freshmen.
4. Living standards: In New York, people shell out most of their paycheck to live in a microscopic, un-airconditioned, dusty, sometimes bedbug-infested space because it’s in a cool area. West Coasters do the same thing…but for free. It’s called camping and the view is a whole lot better than a brick wall or your neighbor’s bathroom (San Francisco is an exception to this rule).
So if you are from the East Coast and making the historical trek westward, or on the “other coast” and consider San Francisco to be “The City,” knowing how the other half lives is crucial for avoiding uncomfortable situations (you wouldn’t want to make a politically incorrect faux pas). So is the West Coast the Best Coast? You can always ponder that over a kale smoothie.