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.”
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.