Posts Tagged ‘west coast’

So, what exactly is different here?

September 5, 2010 Leave a comment

I’ve lived in SD for a few weeks now, and every time I tell people here that I just moved from from Vermont, I get the same general reaction: “Wow … (eyes forcefully widening, trying to look interested) … That’s quite the change.” I go along with it – normally this type of small talk happens at the store or (my favorite) the local Wells Fargo branch, located in Ralph’s, or basically anywhere someone needs to see my I.D. But the thing is, while it is obviously different out here, it’s amazing how many things are similar, or even basically the same.

OK, I’ll start with the differences. First, everything is really far away from one another. This sort of sprawl is a real pain in the ass, and coupled with the fact that gas is more expensive out here (about $3.15/gallon), it’s really hurting my ever-thinning wallet (see my last post for more of an explanation on this). Say what you want about Burlington, VT, but you could pretty much walk or bike anywhere if you were motivated enough. Second, people can smoke in public places here (not inside, though). In fact, I’ve been fighting the urge to climb off of my pedestal and tell Camel Joe sitting next to me to quit blowing cancer in my direction the entire time I’ve been writing this post. I’m not even sure you’re allowed to smoke in your car in Vermont anymore. Third, diversity! Yup, not everyone is white here. And finally, there’s a much higher percentage of six-pack abs and pools. So overall, some pros and cons in the differences department, but nothing major. Oh yeah … I nearly forgot that there is an ocean 20 minutes away. So, yeah, five differences.

The list of things that are the same, however, seems surprisingly extensive. First off, like Vermont and basically the rest of the country, there aren’t that many great jobs out here (again, see my last post for further commentary). Second, people are for the most part pretty pleasant. (Although the pompous arrogance, unnerving negativity and overall dickishness of my last boss caused me to quit after just one day, but he was mostly an exception to the rule.) People wait for you to cross the road without extensive use of their horns, the bank tellers are incredibly friendly, and every retail cashier seems genuinely interested in how you’re doing that day. I think it has to do with the unwavering consistency of the weather. (75 and sunny … shit, how did I not mention this in the “differences” portion of this blog?)

Third, people out here like sports. And drinking. Upon this revelation, I was highly relieved. And finally, the public transportation system sucks. It’s nice to know that, in some of our most important aspects of life, America is truly unified. Take that, Congress. (And pass a job’s bill for fuck’s sake.)

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