East Meets West – Jersey/California Smackdown

If you’ve got Jersey in your soul it hangs on through thick and thin.  For the most part I’m very grateful for the extra dose of grit it’s given me, as well as the sarcastically skewed glasses through which I view the world.  It helps me avoid taking myself too seriously in this land of earnest self-helpers.  Having said that, I often think of the differences between where I started out and where I landed, and so I present a few things each coast does well:


  • Traffic merging – good God does no one in the Golden State understand the concept?  In Jersey you’d be run off the road for what you get away with out here!
  • Deliver bad news – Hurt feelings?  What are those?  Interviewed for a job in Manhattan once and the guy took a quick look at my resume, laughed, and said “Look – I’m busy – you’re busy – let’s just cut it off right here.”
  • Pizza  — Because sometimes I really just want a slice, you know A SLICE – not something with sun dried tomato tapenade, hen of the woods mushrooms, and broccoli rabe.
  • Driving in weather…any kind of weather – every year it rains out here eventually folks, and every year you all drive like you’ve never hit water on an oil-soaked freeway.  Throw in some snow and sleet and then where would you be?
  • Hurl insults – let’s not get specific here, but Californians can’t hold a candle to a hot-under-the-collar New Jerseyan, and believe me you don’t even want to try…


  • Relax – I’m not even actually sure most people in the Garden State know the meaning of the word, but it’s an industry out here – believe me it’s ALL about relaxing.
  • Weird – Yep California does weird much better than Jersey.  From tearing down winding city streets in the “Bring Your Own Big Wheels Race,” to Fetish Fairs, to The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, the weirder the better dude.
  • Interact – no other way to say it – everyone’s just flat out friendlier out here –I’ve had conversations that have lasted five full minutes with complete strangers.  Takes a while to get used to, though – my natural born Jersey suspicions kicked in hard for several years.
  • Live and let live – at least here in the Bay Area, no one really cares what you do, who you do it with, and whether you wear a tutu or nothing at all while you’re doing it.
  • Embrace and protect nature – if you don’t recycle, expect to get a big dose of California attitude, and would it kill you to hug a tree once in a while?
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One comment

  1. Tom Leonard says:

    When I was growing up in Santa Monica (1961 to 1974), my mom used to say… not all nuts grows on trees, some just grows here in Southern California. One more thing I would say that California does better than NJ, the waves…surf up 🙂

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