AT HOME LEFT AND RIGHT

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge at sunset. Photo by Freddie Collins.

If you are a regular follower of this blog, you will know that I am changing home base from the Right Coast in New England to Left Coast of California. You will also be aware that this is not easy-peasy. It was a culture shock to arrive in Connecticut 20+ years ago and it’s a culture shock to return to California, a place where I once belonged. In 1996, I wrote about right coast/left coast differences:

THEN: New England formality: when I took my son to the school office at his new junior high, I was surprised to learn that “Mrs. X,” the voice on the phone, was not—as I had imagined–an elderly matron (in California, no one I know under 80 refers to herself as “Mrs.”) but rather an attractive young woman in her late thirties.

NOW: Last week I introduced myself to one of the kids in the neighborhood as “Mrs. Popik.”

New England church

New England church photo by Aaron Burden

 

THEN: A few of times in Connecticut I turned and commented about something to the person behind me in the supermarket checkout line. This was met with two responses: either the person would look back to see if I was speaking to someone behind them or he/she would stare at me and then look away as if I were a schizophrenic.

 

NOW: I went to a local Oakland cable store and chatted with the woman behind the counter while we waited for someone to fetch a cable box for me. By the time I left ten minutes later, I had the names and contact information for a hairdresser and acupuncturist as well a thorough understanding of the benefits of the Kaiser Health Plan for seniors as well as her age. As I left, thanking my new friend, she turned to the person behind me in line and said, “Hello, Pumpkin!”

It’s beginning to feel like home.

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About Alexis

Alexis Rankin Popik, author of Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate, is an award-winning short story writer whose work has appeared in The Berkshire Review and Potpourri Magazine. She has penned numerous articles about local history that have been published in Connecticut Explored and the University of Connecticut School of Law and The Hartford Seminary publications. A former union organizer, Popik traveled the country educating shipyard workers about health and safety and founded a labor-management health plan before turning to writing fiction full-time. She lives with her husband in New England.

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