Issue #84 – “Coastal Feuding” – February 27th, 2006

-In the past month, I have performed in Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco, followed by New York City, Philadelphia, and Boston.  It was a unique opportunity for me to compare the twentysomething cultures of the East and West Coasts.  Are West Coasters really the laid-back, hippie surfers they are stereotyped to be?  Are East Coasters really all bitter, stressed, and business casual?  With both shorts and sweatshirts in my suitcase, I set out for the frontlines of the East vs. West battle to put an end to coastal feuding once and for all.

-People on the West Coast are never in a rush.  If something’s gotta get done, it’ll get done, eventually…maybe.  You can’t get anywhere quickly, cabs actually slow down at yellow lights, and pedestrians patiently wait on the corner for the “walk” signal.  West Coasters who’ve moved East often tell me that New York is too loud and busy and crazy for them.  I’m always like, that’s not busy and crazy – that’s the sound of humans operating at a normal pace.  If you think it’s acceptable to have to wait so long for a sandwich that you actually could have become certified to operate a deli slicer in the time since you ordered, the West Coast is where you should stay.

-On the East Coast, you have to dress up to go out – everyone’s been negged at one time or another for trying to wear sneakers to a club.  On the West Coast, you have to dress down to go out.  Really down.  When I’m standing in front of the mirror in my apartment in LA on a Saturday night, I’m thinking to myself, wow, I look way too nice right now.  I match so well they might not even let me in.  Hmm, let me muss up my hair, throw on some flip flops, ripped jeans, a mesh hat, and a weird thrift store tuxedo shirt.  Yeah, now I fit in.

-West Coasters are also not used to wearing their resume on their sleeve.  In New York, Boston, and Philly, it’s expected that if you meet someone at a bar, you’ll be asked where you work, where you’re from, where you went to college, what year you graduated, what fraternity/sorority you were in, where you went on Spring Break sophomore year, and what your blood type is.  But people out West act like you’re being nosy.  They do have a point, though.  Someone in San Diego wanted to know why I was asking such questions.  And I stammered, “Well, uh…I’m not sure.  I guess I just wanted to know if you knew my cousin’s friend’s friend from camp.”

-They play a lot more Biggie than Tupac on the radio on the East Coast, and vice versa on the West Coast.  I’ve noticed that Tupac rhymes the word “penitentiary” in pretty much every single one of his songs.  Even more impressive – I swear he once rhymed it with “banana.”

-Where do guys on the West Coast buy their Ryan Atwood-style wristbands?  Can I just walk into a store in San Francisco and ask for a generic leather band that doesn’t even tell time?  And where do guys on the East Coast buy their Nike sweatbands to wear while not exercising?  Can I just go into a Foot Locker in a mall in Boston and ask for a wristband suitable for wearing while shopping at a Foot Locker in a mall in Boston?

-Perhaps most importantly, I think that twentysomethings on the West Coast just don’t party as hard as they do on the East Coast.  And it’s not because they’re lame or anything, it’s because they, gulp, actually get up early on the weekends and do shit.  Countless times out West I’ve been asked on a Saturday night to go biking, kayaking, hiking, or play flag football the next morning.  I always decline.  I may live on the West Coast but I was born and raised back East.  And it says clearly on the resume on my sleeve: “No Kayaking.”

-As always, here are some random things I’ve been ruminating about lately…

-I’m convinced doctors are completely incapable of functioning outside of the hospital.  I emailed a link to my doctor friend Shermdog and he called me ten hours later to tell me he couldn’t figure out how to click on it.  I asked him what he’d been doing all day and he replied, “Brain surgery.”

-I first noticed it in the airplane bathroom while on the redeye from LAX to JFK – I’ve become that guy whose chest hair climbs up and out of the front collar of his t-shirt.  I don’t know how it happened – I don’t even really have a very hairy chest.  But I guess a few wayward hairs took it upon themselves to go for the light and grow straight up.  I bet they’re gambling I won’t be man enough to pluck them.  Sadly, they’re right.

-And why is it that when the flight attendant comes around with the beverage cart, people lose all sense of logic and reasoning, and request drinks that no airline would conceivably carry?  Hey, buddy, I’m not sure when the last time you flew JetBlue was, but I’m pretty sure they don’t have birch beer, diet cherry vanilla Dr. Pepper, or pomegranate juice.

-Fact: people who met their roommate via craigslist always describe them the same way – “He’s pretty cool…a little weird though.”

-What the hell is a hemi?  I’m aware that I’m not the target audience of pickup truck commercials, but those guys seem pretty excited about their trucks having hemis.  A little too excited if you ask me…

-Things I dislike about hotels: Little bottles of “conditioning shampoo” that neither condition nor shampoo.  TV remotes that require fifty pounds of pressure to push any button.  When they put the coffeemaker in the bathroom.  The constant lack of even one available, readily accessible electrical outlet.  The need to put all twelve lamps on in order to provide any semblance of light in the room.  And last but not least, the fact that each lamp uses a different arcane method to be turned on, most notably: switch on the wall, knob next to the bulb, knob on the base, and my personal least favorite, the hanging scroll wheel that’s hidden behind the desk so you can’t figure out how the fuck to turn the lamp on for fifteen minutes.

-And, finally, when I first got to college, I was perplexed that my new friends from the West Coast always talked about the weather.  It seemed like all they talked about was the weather and Kobe, the weather and Kobe.  Living in New York my whole life and then going to school in Philly, I never really understood the big deal about the weather in LA (or about Kobe, for that matter).  But now that I live in LA, well, I sorta get it.  It’s pretty gorgeous here.  It’s almost never cold.  It rarely rains.  But let me tell ya – you wouldn’t think the weather outside makes much of a difference when you’re stuck in your car in traffic all day…and you’d be right.  In fact, I’m even paler in LA than I was in New York.  So the debate continues.  You see, to me, in the end, there are no winners in this East Coast vs. West Coast feud.  Only losers wearing wristbands.  Fuck me.