the best coast

By diana - 5:16 PM

I was under the impression that the longer I lived on the East Coast, the fewer differences I would notice between the West Coast and this one. There were some obvious culture shocks when I first moved here, like how much people consume alcohol, and how close everything is. As time goes on I'm finding there are some parts of the West Coast that are so ingrained in me, they may never fully disappear.

When I first moved across the country, that was one of my largest identifiers. A lot of the cultural and social differences could be explained away with, "Well she's from Seattle". It was understood that over time, I would assimilate and that excuse wouldn't be necessary. For the most part this has become true. If I'm asked where I'm from, I say Bucks County. The naivety and ignorance that plagues most transplants has, for the most part, worn off. I've gotten used to bringing my own alcohol to certain restaurants (more on that in a minute) and leaving the house later on Fridays in the summer due to the volume of traffic.

At work last week, I stumbled upon someone from my neck of the woods. This is so rare. The number of people I know out here that have lived on the West Coast can fit in an elevator. This stranger and I had a moment - I asked how long she's lasted out here, she asked me if she should regret it. It got my brain buzzing. Which really is the best coast?

The East Coast - the Jersey shore, specifically - has the better beaches, hands down. California can fight me on this one. Most beaches in Jersey are accompanied by boardwalks, filled with arcades, soft serve ice cream, carnival rides, and shops. Depending on which town you are in (Ocean City, NJ is notorious for being a dry town) the boardwalk comes alive at night with club music and the bar scene. I used to think Fitzgerald was making it up in all of his novels, but Summer Fridays are a real thing in the corporate world: work a few hours extra during the week, and take off early on Fridays to get down the shore.

Sorry, Mom. This is an interesting topic because it's plagued me ever since I moved here. Back in 2016 when I first landed, alcohol wasn't even sold in grocery stores. It was in the last two years that Acmes and Giants have expanded to sell wine & beer. Also a recent change: liquor stores are open later than 5PM. Finally. Food is romanticized out here - and for good reason. It just tastes better. Which makes this next bit more infuriating: there's this ridiculous notion that only so many restaurants and businesses per town can hold a liquor license. This means if you're eating at a place that doesn't have one, you can bring your own. I've heard every argument in favor of this rule, but I still hate it. This policy is written on store windows and Google reviews like it's some kind of frat party. I won't have it. Deduct a point from the East.

Believe it or not, some have said that I'm laid back. I laugh whenever I hear it, but it's been said on more than one occasion. The West Coast is low-key and chill compared to the East Coast. One of the biggest pulls for this place was that it's more my speed. I remember one Sunday as a preteen I asked my parents if we could go downtown after having just gotten home from church. My mom responded with something along the lines of, "why can't we do one thing at a time? Take it easy." Take it easy - the West Coasters mantra. Out here, just about everyone speeds because just about everyone is late to something.

I live forty five minutes north of Philadelphia, a hour and a half from New York City, an hour from the Jersey shore, and an hour from (what they call) mountains. I'm three hours from the nation's capital and six from Boston. There is always something to do and somewhere to go. I suffered from my favorite musicians never touring in Seattle, indie movies that were shown only in LA and NY passed me by. Now there are endless possibilities!

For the time being, I'll ride it out here. But by god, I miss those mountains.

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  1. I loved this post! My favorite picture is the one of you laughing in the restaurant. I'm surprised they let you BYOB to a restaurant! Totally unheard of out here. I can't say I'm thrilled that you love the East coast so much but I guess I'll live. I'll just have to come visit more often! :)

    1. Peter took that picture because he says I'm happiest right after I've had Mexican food :)