I believe the first time I deeply contemplated the terms east and west, I was twirling my hair aimlessly in a cramped and colorful elementary school classroom. My teacher taught us the mnemonic device Never Eat Soggy Waffles in order to embed the cardinal directions into our young, moldable minds. These simple directions, besides creating a new wave of baby names, have come to represent one of the fiercest rivalries I have ever known: the East Coast versus the West Coast.
Don’t get me wrong: This is no Dwight versus Jim or pancakes versus waffles debate, but it is pretty serious for a Jersey girl who has become a bit of a Benedict Arnold to her beloved coast.
Now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. For my long-lost East Coasters who are now #thriving on Stanford’s quirky campus, here I lay out some of our (admittedly trivial) struggles:
1. Stranger Danger
On the West Coast, I have noticed that, to my shock and dismay, strangers willingly smile at me. As a cynical Easterner, this makes me quite uncomfortable. Even the bitterest snowstorm isn’t as severe as my innate aversion to warm unfamiliar eye contact or, worse, unwarranted conversation. The only reason strangers make any friendly contact with you on the East Coast is if they’re asking you to purchase their titillating hip-hop CD or graciously offering you a sketchy tour of their city.
2. The East Coast born-and-bred bond
An instant connection forms when people understand your exotic verbiage that those raised in the west often find equivalent to gibberish. It’s just too taxing to explain my peculiar slang to people who question “What is a Wawa?” or “A pie is pizza?”
3. Casual Friday is every day.
Since I love paying 100+ dollars to look like I don’t care about my appearance, you can now find me Birken-rocking my Birkenstocks. But on the truly rare occasion that I decide to look like a presentable East Coaster in a leopard jumpsuit and heeled boots, people give me oodles of side-eye. Rather, I feel the style of the West Coast is represented well by the Silicon Valley cast’s loungewear. Clearly, peak innovation requires you to look like you just woke from a 13-hour power nap. If you wanna roll with the homies but don’t have the funds to do so, try to win a Stanford sweatshirt in an intense eBay bidding war like me. (I truly cannot fathom who else would want a vintage men’s large, cardinal red hoodie with a small stain on the upper chest region, but there was a bit of demand.)
4. The West Coast food culture is a big no from me dawg (citation: Randy Jackson).
Does this coast have edible thin-crust pizza? HAHAHA. Greasy Chinese takeout at 12 a.m.? Nah. Dunkin Donuts? No, the slogan is a lie — America does not run on Dunkin. In place of these essential forms of garbage that fuel my diehard East Coast soul, food is stripped of quite literally everything enjoyable here: gluten, dairy and happiness.
Returning home for break, I was revived by the sweet, sweet taste of properly made pizza, a sensational Wawa hoagie and a refreshing, tasteful disdain for small talk. As much as I love feigning my chillness and rocking shorts in the December sun, I am an East Coast being at heart. Please lmk your thoughts about your relocated existence as you sip slowly on a mint mojito coffee from Philz.
Contact Alanna Flores at alanna13 ‘at’ stanford.edu.