Monday, December 5, 2011

What's the difference???

Often times I'm asked if there is much difference from living on the east coast to west coast.  I have the same answer every time, YES!   Besides the obvious of sales tax, pumping our own gas, no deposit on cans or bottled water, and going to the polls to vote instead of mail in ballots, here are some of the differences I have encountered since moving here almost one year ago!  (can you believe it’s almost been a year?...Wow…I am having a blast and loving it!!)

These are in no particular order…

Driving – People are on a mission here when it comes to driving on the freeways.  You either go with the flow of traffic or get off the road.  There is freeway driving and then there is DC driving!    Driving in DC is well, a challenge to your faith sometimes.  It gives a whole new meaning to craziness.  West coast drivers are very conservative compared to east coast drivers.  When I am visiting Oregon, if you notice I start to drive like a crazy woman, don’t be scared, that’s the DC driving coming out in me.  Ha ha ha

Men….I want to first off say I am not criticizing anyone when I share this so please do not take any offense.  But in all reality it is one the most obvious differences I have noticed between the west coast and the east coast and it has nothing to do with your marital status.  I tend to believe it’s a culture thing.  It is not uncommon, in fact it’s uncommon when it doesn’t happen, to be in an elevator with a man and once we reach the floor we both are getting off at, that he will stand there and wait for me to exit first (even if the door opens right in front of him) as he puts his hand out gesturing for me to go first.  I love this and always say thank you. 

It also doesn’t stop at the elevator, when it comes to going through a door, men are always holding them open for women, and even the young boys do it.  I went to the Verizon store and had a 10 year old boy hold open the door for me and it seemed very natural to him.    This also just isn’t a ‘city’ thing; it’s an east coast thing. 

Those two examples are really just the surface of what east coast men are really like.  You have to come here to truly gain an understanding of what I am talking about.  Women are viewed by men differently over here is the best way I can describe it.

So please no offense to those of you in Oregon, there are some great men on the west coast.   I am just stating an overall synopsis of what I have seen and experienced. 

Parking at the mall…..for expected mothers.  I know this one is random but I noticed it the other day and thought it was rather cool.   I only noticed this type of parking in Oregon when going into Babies R Us.  Here it’s not uncommon to see parking spaces with signs, at the mall, that specifically state they are for expected mothers only.  The overall culture here is SO different.

Traffic ….yes I know I mentioned driving up above but traffic is a whole other topic.  In Oregon for those who think rush hour traffic on I-5, 205, or 84 is bad, seriously that is nothing compared to rush hour traffic on the Beltway here!  The Beltway is the highway that circles the DC area.  It is not uncommon to hear of people running out of gas on the Beltway because they have been waiting in traffic for so long, that usually happens if there is an accident and traffic is way backed up.  With all the different events that take place around here, you never know when traffic is averted to a new route, backed up, or there are those moments when traffic is actually normal.  You definitely learn when the right and wrong time to go somewhere or how long you should allow in getting somewhere depending on the time and the day.   Still love this place!

Greetings….When I first moved here I didn’t understand why so many people said “Good Morning” to me every day when I went into the office.   I am not talking about walking by someone in the hallway; I am talking about walking by someone’s desk who is already working.   You greet them as you walk by even if they can’t see you.  I quickly learned if you didn’t greet someone in the morning it meant you didn’t like that person.  (at least that is what I was told) Oh my!    Wow, I had no idea.

Another interesting thing is when you get off the elevator, no matter who you are with, you always tell the other person to have a good day.  However at the office, it’s kind of funny because no one really says a word to each other in the mornings, but when it’s time to go home in the afternoon, it’s a completely different story.  ha ha   You hear those ‘have a good night’ greetings being expressed very exuberantly.  LOL

Rain….this one makes me giggle.    When it rains here it takes me back to my Oregonian roots and that sense of pride rises up.   The other day I was walking out of the office to go home for the day and there were a few sprinkles coming down, and do you know how many umbrella’s I saw….I giggled to myself and really wanted to say, “people there are only a few drops coming down”  I think I only felt 5 drops hit my head in my walk across the street to get on the Metro.  But then the best part and possibly most frustrating when it comes to rain.  People here do NOT know how to drive in the rain!!!  Oh my!!  In fact, when it rains, traffic slows to a crawl.   It is amazing to me.   I was headed to the church the other night for a meeting and as I was driving there, every freeway I saw was backed up.  One guy showed up to the meeting and said it took him 2 hours to get across town because of the traffic!  Yes, we love our city but people sure don’t know how to drive in that’s why you have windshield wipers people. J  It’s like people freeze and don't know what to do when it rains.  Lol   That’s when the Oregonian driver comes out it me and all the locals probably think I’m a crazy lady.   

Red lights…..have a different meaning here, but only certain places.  There is one thing I learned quickly, in some locations, red lights don’t always mean stop if you are in the flow of traffic.  I know of a few intersections, particularly in DC, that you just keep going and no one thinks anything of it and I have never seen anyone pulled over by a cop for it.  In Oregon, a lot of people will floor it to get through a yellow light, but here we don’t floor it for the red, we just keep going. 

There you have it, some of the differences I have discovered between the west coast and east coast since moving here.

Later this month I will be going out with some friends to see all the beautiful Christmas decorations around DC….going to try to post some photos….if I remember.   lol

The best is yet to come!



  1. good post, P! Very interesting!

  2. I loved reading your posts. You've described elements many value; sounds like an excellent place to live. You are definitely enjoying your relocation. I had to laugh about sleeping with AC & electric blanket on - why both?? LOL