Midwest Friendly Versus Sun-Kissed West Coast

10 Nov

Lately I’ve been having some sort of writer’s block (I’ll attribute it to the grad school apps and testing) so I apologize for the lack of creativity in posts. On that note, I’d like to write about a topic that is very personal and relevant to my current life.

I attribute this burst of inspiration to Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” song.

“California girls
We’re undeniable
Fine, fresh, fierce
We got it on lock
West coast represent
Now put your hands up
Oooooh Oh Oooooh”

Midwest vs. West Coast

DISCLAIMER: First off, I assert that it’s absolutely horrible to generalize entire locations (and in relation, entire groups of people). To refrain from making such brash assumptions, I’d rather mention my observations and analysis based on my short start in San Diego.


I’ll openly admit it; I’m a horrible driver. An absolutely horrible driver. The thought of switching lanes on the 5 during rush hour makes me nearly want to quit the act altogether and create a tiny pedestrian-only make believe city somewhere in Canada. Or in England. Or just anywhere. . .

Sense the anxiety?

Anything that’ll ease the driving tension is in my book, heavenly. Throughout college, I did not own a car. Madison, Wisconsin is ideal for the college student; everything you ever need is right on State Street: clothing stores, grocery stores, libraries, and even your local independent bookstore. I was definitely spoiled and didn’t realize this until the big move.

Do Do Do...(insert casual walking)

After much analysis (aka you HAVE to drive everywhere here), I’ve determined that driving is probably the most noticeable difference.

The Biggest Driving Difference…

Switching Lanes!!! In San Diego the concept of “letting someone go in front of you” is obsolete. Whenever you absolutely need to switch lanes (i.e. the lane is ending without advance notice, the lane turns into another highway, you have to get off at the next exit-all frequent occurrences btws), every car around you must speed up. It is a prerequisite when moving to San Diego that you speed up to 90mph whenever you see someone sweating and struggling to switch lanes. Driving manners are so foreign to them that even when you give them the “you can go in front of me” signal, they look at you like they have become completely dissociated from their body and remain stagnant in their designated lane. What? I don’t understand it and find it to be a major drawback in living 2 minutes from the ocean. I guess it’s a sacrifice you have to pay for the sun…


In retrospect, this doesn't look all that appealing...

Okay, okay, I understand this is a minor one but I think it’s worth noting and serves more as a symbol of the differences in random everyday slang. The topic of “wop” came up in conversation. Wop, for those of you not yielding from Wisconsin, is basically just a ridiculous term for jungle juice. I mentioned the word and all my new west coast friends thought I was an alien. They had never even heard of the word! Maybe it’s because I graduated from the University of Wisconsin, a large tailgating-based (and academic of course!) school. Or maybe, just maybe–we really don’t have that much to do in the midwest that we come up with bizarre names for alcohol. True stereotype? Possibly.


Two words: California Casual.

Dis is real.

Yes, that is a “thing” here. In some offices you can dress “California Casual” for work, a term meaning you can pretty much wear whatever you want minus a t-shirt and flip-flops. Oh how California of them!


And what I mean by swagger is more the behavioral aspect and not so much the actual walk. There’s an attitude that comes with having the ocean at your fingertips. It doesn’t seem to be an attitude in the general “stuck up” sense, it’s more of a lifestyle. They just seem more chill, more relaxed, more whatever. This was another one of those things that I assumed was just a made up theory. Nope, I’d fully support it. Not too shabby of a character trait I’d say. On a comparative note, midwest is slow as well (minus maybe Chicago). Buuuut in a completely different way.


There aren’t too many vast differences. We are all people after all. There are, however, a fair amount of minor differences that can account for the disparaties. As an inhabitant of California, I’d say that I am happy to call this crazy place my new home despite all its little quirks and weird customer service habits.

California Gurls are really undeniable.


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