Fun Friday Post- The Differences in the Three Corners of the US

Born and raised in the Bronx… the first (almost) 4 decades of my life I lived under 65 miles from Union Hospital (which was torn down in 1997- no relation to my birth that I am aware).

A job opportunity gave this New Yorker the opportunity to move far, far away… to a beautiful land known as “SoCal”.  And so I began to record…

The Differences (I have noticed) between Cali and NY so far, after 4 months (in no particular order whatsoever) [December 2009]:

  • Toilet seat covers in public restrooms- I know we had them in NY, but they are in every bathroom here. EVERYWHERE.
  • Lobsters without claws- Maine lobster is a rarity. The lobsters they serve here are clawless, my favorite part of the crustacean.
  • NYC drivers must be crazy, but Cali drivers move from the left lane across multiple lanes to the right for their exit, instantly without warning.
  • The salespeople in the apartment complexes were not pushy at all. In fact, they guided me to other apartment complexes. Hmmm… maybe they didn’t want me? Seriously- didn’t try to persuade me at all.
  • Lime instead of lemon- OK this happened a ton in NY too, but no matter how clearly I ask, I always get a lime in my Diet Coke.
  • Driving in rain is an issue. A major challenge for Cali drivers. I hear “Be careful driving- it’s raining.”
  • Take out for dinner just doesn’t seem popular. Especially delivery. Maybe because everything is so far?
  • No knowledge of The Yule Log on Christmas Eve (this caused a pretty big panic attack for me in September… I knew I was FAR from home) yet it appeared on 3 separate channels… and 3 different versions of it in California in December 2009.
  • When an ambulance or fire truck has its lights on, ALL slow down and move to the right to stop. Even if the truck is going southbound, you are going northbound, and there is a divider between you, you stop.
  • Casual seems to be the dress here no matter what. Even weddings, fancy restaurants, etc. It’s refreshing.
  • Many, many speed bumps. Seem to POP UP (pun intended) all over in parking lots, and they are no joke.
  • Weaving vs. foiling- When getting my hair highlighted blonde before going brunette (then eggplant, then brunette, and finally auburn, I think), the hairdressers used the word “weaving” (I immediately thought of African American hair or extensions) instead of foiling.
  • No gel wraps- It has been a challenge for me to find the resin wrap I used on my nails- and got with no problem in NY, NJ, and CT. One of the nail people told me the climate out here doesn’t do well with gel, so they use silk.
  • Vietnamese people run nail salons here, not Korean.
  • Although everyone does seem much more active out here, there is no walking to places. When you ask if a place is close enough to walk, the answer is almost always no, even if it is. (Walkin’ in LA, Walkin’ in LA, nobody walks in LA )
  • There is public transportation out here (busses and trains) but Californians do not use it. (When speaking with someone on a train headed from Ventura County to San Diego County, he started with- You must have a DUI- to be riding the train.)
  • No real friendships? Well, that is what I have been told, by at least 3 different people that I can remember. They told me to wait and see, but that people are nice, but different from east coasties.
  • No pizza “pies”. If you want a pie, for example, a large mushroom pie, you order a large mushroom pizza. They don’t bake pies at pizzerias- and think that is what you are ordering.
  • Cross light buttons work! Those things on the corner, that tease us in NY, actually work out here.
  • But even if they didn’t, drivers stop for pedestrians out here. Although jaywalking is a big deal out here and a no-no, a driver would stop if you even put your toe in the road.
  • If you are sitting in the back seat of a car, you must wear your seatbelt. No matter what age you are… It is a violation and ticketable if you don’t.
  • Wildfires are common out here and don’t cause alarm.
  • At many fast food places, you place your order, pay, and are given a number to put on your table. The food is delivered to you, so there isn’t a crowd at the registers… Efficiency in action.
  • There are lights that run mostly during rush hours, controlling when cars can leave the ramp and get onto the freeway. LA has the worst traffic. Inefficiency in action.
  • Californians seem to be challenged by parallel parking.
  • I have heard the word “backside” used more often in the past 4 months than in my entire life. Not to mean your “bottom”, but in reference to the back of something.
  • Overall, LA was not very decorated for Christmas. Especially storefronts and apartments (specifically in Woodland Hills).
  • They put Russian dressing on burgers.
  • Freeway vs. highway. There are no highways out here, only freeways.
  • There are surfer reports on the daily weather forecast on the news. Yup.
  • There is a big deal made about discarding Christmas trees. Seems to be an even bigger deal than selling them.
  • I have yet to see flies, bees, or mosquitoes. Ants either. I am sure they are here somewhere… but… no sign of them yet. No screens on windows because there are no bugs. Leave those windows WIDE open!


 ADDENDUM… after nearly 6 months

  • There are few toll roads out here. Nothing like the Turnpike or the Garden State Parkway.
  • There seem to be no sewers out here. Where does the water go? Guess that is why they have mudslides and tons of hydroplaning going on.
  • Retaining walls- I am not sure if they know about them. Instead, before a heavy rain, I saw the fire department had piles of sand on the road, free for the taking. It was great seeing Mr. Mercedes packing up his sand and putting them in his trunk. Plastic is actually put down on the ground, under the sod, grass, foundation for the houses- so they don’t slide in the rain.
  • Kush doctors are legal. You cannot walk on the pier in Venice Beach without someone offering you some marijuana.
  • I have seen it in only two indoor malls here, but I do hear it is pretty common: there are people that clean up your trays in food courts. Just leave them at your table when you are done eating.
  • Lane sharing seems to be legal for motorcyclists. In fact, I think they rule the freeways here.
  • There are no Greek diners.
  • Diagonal walkways.
  • I really haven’t seen that many cops on the road. And, I have been looking long and hard for Ponch from CHiPs.
  • Even stores named NYC bagels or just advertising NYC bagels…don’t taste like NYC bagels at all. They are light and fluffy- no substance. It is definitely something about the water in the tri-state area!
  • FOBs. I rented an apartment; I was handed a FOB. I started my job; I was handed a FOB. Although I checked back and Linda (bestie in NJ) has a FOB for work now, I honestly never heard of one before moving out here.
  • The hamburgers are wrapped- like hash browns- here. This is ingenious! It catches all the juice and toppings better this way, I guess. I haven’t done recon in McDonald’s to see if they do this too.
  • There are no pedicure dryers in nail places. YES it is much warmer here, but there are plenty of months that flip-flops will not be warm enough… so I am not sure what you are supposed to do! I, of course, didn’t realize this for my 1st pedicure, wore my UGGs, and had to sit waiting FOREVER to leave.
  • Every parking lot seems to have labeled “Compact Car” spots (which I think is different in itself from NY). SUVs and pickup trucks are ABSOLUTELY accepted as compact cars here.
  • Car chases are actually breaking news, and show on TV. The last one I saw was OJ’s… I have seen 2 out here so far.
  • I cannot believe I forgot this on the original list, but there are NO Dunkin’ Donuts here. I researched, and there are some stores up by San Francisco. Of course, they sell the bagged coffee in some supermarkets, but if you, too, are a fan, you understand that this is just not the same.


IT’S GETTING LESS AND LESS…. After 10 months

  • I pay the hairdresser directly. Not the shop. I call her directly too. It’s actually easier… but different.
  • Stacked parking at event venues. No emergencies allowed.
  • Some apartments don’t have refrigerators.
  • The creation and use of the term “Marine layer” in the weather forecast.
  • License plates travel with the car, not the person.


THE FINAL ACT, wrapping up an entire year….After 12 months   August 31, 2010 *NOTE- as recent as 8/7/10 a random connection I made became the 7th person to tell me you cannot make real friends out here- people are flaky and will just not show up for plans, no call, no email—as per  #16, first 4 months.


  • Trains run late OFTEN and travel s—l—-o—-w—-l—-y on the tracks.
  • Scarves. BIG fashion statement out here. Summer, winter, fall, spring. Love it. When it gets “cold” out- bring out your UGGS and scarves, and keep wearing your t-shirts and shorts.
  • There is no “super” here to call in your condo or apartment building. Out here, “super” means superintendent for a school.
  • Dry cleaners open late and close early. That’s odd and frustrating. But, they are still run by Koreans for the most part!
  • Doctors do not have evening hours (4pm has been the latest appointment I have seen. Some do have weekend hours. Some. None of mine.).
  • “Auto Malls” seem to be big out here. I have seen them in many many towns.
  • Unlike the NE, when you get a manicure, you do not get followed over to the dryer section for a free-mini neck and shoulder massage.
  • Water bagel? I was told this is when a bagel is not egg bagel.
  • The unwritten courtesy of flashing of your headlights to warn for upcoming parked police cars does not exist here.
  • PBA cards, aka GET OUT OF JAIL (almost) FREE cards, do not play the same role out here as they do in NY and NJ.
  • Sigalert. How could any major city survive without this? ALWAYS check Sigalert before getting into the car. ALWAYS.
  • May HAZE. JUNE GLOOM. Givens/knowns.
  • Protein burgers. That’s a burger, wrapped in lettuce. Another ingenious idea!
  • Cyn means canyon.
  • The 101 Freeway officially goes north-south in some areas and west-east in others. The signs even say so!
  •  In Santa Monica (not sure where else, if anywhere else) there are lights on the ground in some pedestrian crosswalks that light up when people are crossing.
  • No rest stops with fast-food restaurants-bathrooms-gas stations like on the (Garden State) Parkway.
  • Drop off wash and folds… could not find any. Granted, I wasn’t looking in LA… I was looking in Ventura County.
  • Humidity. Pretty much NEVER visits.


Onward and southward… from SoCal to the SOUTH… Georgia!

Observations after 3 weeks + 3 days December 28, 2013: 

  • The LONGEST stop lights exist in and around Atlanta.
  • Everyone gives free refills. There is an over-abundance of soda flowing in this metro area.
  • No liquor in supermarkets. In fact, it’s hard to find!!!!
  • Tennis is big here.
  • Drive 2 miles… It’s a gorgeous neighborhood. Go 3 miles… Not so nice… 3 more, nice again.
  • Curvey windy roads that all look the same. 
  • Shortage of lights lining the streets.
  • No avocado available at Subway! (You’re not in Cali anymore, Dorothy)
  • Bringing your own bags to the supermarket is not heard of.
  • Open 24hr Vietnamese restaurants (PHO) and they aren’t bad!!!!
  • My hubs mentioned something about the drivers being bad around here, but I have to disagree… Sorry SoCal-ers but the drivers were worse out there!
  • In California, it’s “the 101” and “the “405”. In Georgia, like in NY, its “285” and “85”.
  • No screens on windows because you keep your windows shut all the time due to pollen/allergies and the heat!
  • When meeting someone knew- the first question after name exchange is “Do you have children?” then… “What church do you go to?” and everyone wants to bring you to their church.


We are love love loving exploring the Dirty South & all she has to offer!

More Georgian observations after 1 month and 3 weeks:

  • Every street is Peachtree something or there is one nearby.
  • As Tim pointed out, there are many cars abandoned on the side of road (I remember this from the NE but not from CA).
  • You can drive on the “right” right side of the road and BAM your lane crosses over other the lane going in the opposite direction and puts you on the “wrong” left side. I don’t know how else to describe it, but other Georgians will get it. (*Addendum added 4/24/18: diverging diamond interchange- they are popping up all over and apparently big in Europe)
  • Advice from the info guy on the phone from DMV:
    • There is no DMV. It’s DDS.
    • If you miss a turn, turn around!!! The roads aren’t designed for you to make the next turn and connect to where you need to be.
    • Some phone numbers have 8 digits, not ten.
  • Drivers actually let you in when you are accidentally cutting them off.
  • Similar to how Southern Californians didn’t know what to do with the rain, Atlantans don’t know what to do with the cold (us either)!
  • Like Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks in NY, there is a Waffle House every few blocks.
  • I live the farthest from the ocean than any other places I have lived before, but live closest to the largest aquarium in the country.
  • People seem genuinely nicer.

Observations after 4 years and 7 months [June 2018]:

  • Tags not license plates.
  • Vietnamese people run nail salons here, not Korean, like in Cali.
  • They serve wine in nail salons. And hair salons.
  • Smoking is still permitted in some bars.
  • GBI. Not FBI.
  • Georgia DOT Hero trucks, sponsored by State Farm (plastered with logos) go to breakdowns on the highways.
  • Red versus Black football game (the school -UGA- plays itself every year).
  • No teachers unions down here. Teachers make an embarrassing salary here and work just as hard as in other places, where teachers make better salaries (but still pathetic compared to other careers. They all have college degrees, plus a certification they had to pass a test to obtain, plus most places require a Masters. An advanced degree. And they still make less money than those who maybe just have a college degree, no certs. Just sayin’ y’all.)
  • SEC. SEC. SEC. Bigger than the NFL.
  • Open container allowed almost everywhere (slight exaggeration)
  • Lots of service roads.
  • Witnessed a fender bender when stuck at a light. The 2 drivers got out of their cars, approached each other before looking at their cars, and shook hands.
  • Longest red lights. (Noted in first observation list, but I think they have gotten longer.)
  • Festivals. Festivals for everything. Art Festivals. Beer Festivals. Bourbon Festivals.
  • Halloween is one huge holiday. Traffic begins at 2:30pm instead of 4:30pm.
  • “Meat + 3”
  • Pizza by the slice isn’t a given. Some places, it is offered only at lunch. Why? No idea.
  • School start back up in July for teachers and August for kids.
  • “Might could” is a phrase. (I might could do this, if I had help!).
  • So is “have your picture made” (aka take a photo of you).
  • Pollen covered cars… looks like yellow snow, but not “that” yellow snow.
  • Allergies in the fall. Allergies in the spring. Allergies for one and all!
  • Town squares. Historic downtowns. Quaint little “cities” full of character.
  • Antiquing is a sport.
  • Pot liquor.
  • We eat peaches that really come from South Carolina. They are hard to find from Georgia, the Peach State.
  • Tater tots.
  • Boiled peanuts. Sound gross, taste yummy.
  • Chick-fil-A. It’s huge- except on Sundays.
  • Contractors don’t want to make money. It took us so long to find a landscaper (one who would return a call, one who would send an estimate after coming to our house). in 2015. Now, my parents are going through the same thing- with a roofer, a door installer, a fence company (2 came out to their house, only 1 sent an estimate).
  • Cornhole, also a new sport to me.
  • Parking your car on the wrong side of the street, in the wrong direction. Not in the city, but in the side streets of residential areas.
  • Everyone talked about the bad traffic when we first moved here. I honestly did not think it came close to NYC or LA…. The last 2 years I do see Atlanta traffic has completely caught up to that of NY and LA.
  • Pimento cheese is a staple.
  • Until just now… next month (July 2018)- you did not have to be hands-free in the car with your cell.
  • SWEET tea.
  • From what I have heard from 2 recent transplants- the “eye contact”. Here, people make eye contact. I haven’t noticed that as something that stands out different from other places, but apparently, it is! I wonder if I make eye contact with people?
  • Farmers Markets. Indoors, permanent structures that have the best food shopping options at great prices.
  • Turducken. Maybe it’s not a southern thing, but this is the first time I have heard of it- in my life.
  • People go to the lake for the weekend (or drive to the beaches of NC, SC, GA, FL).
  • Bourbon drinks.
  • Bourbon slush. Thank you, Baby Jesus.
  • Churches. I think one road to my in-laws has 10 different types in a few mile stretch.
  • At a stop sign or street light if you make a left, the road can be one name, and make a right, it could be a completely different name. Thank goodness for WAZE.
  • “All y’all.”
  • We have more family, friend, and framily visitors here than we ever could have hoped. We love it.
  • There are so many transplants here. So many. It’s hard to find an actual southerner, with an accent. But when you do… you will hear things like “fixin’ to do this or that”
  • Southern hospitality. It’s a thing; it’s a good thing.


It has been just under 9 years (8 years, 6 months to be exact) since I left the NE corner of the states (in 2 states almost equally- NY & NJ) I had occupied since birth. What an educational, fun journey it has been! Never thought I would leave NYC, my 5th favorite person at that time of my life. I never lived more than 65 miles from where I was born. Then, I moved 2,800 miles away. Now, only 860 miles away.


But it does seem soooo far away from the city stoop I would sit on, across the street from my aunt’s house, at my grandparents’ and godparents’ house…

One Reply to “Fun Friday Post- The Differences in the Three Corners of the US”

  1. I laughed very loud at “might could “ .
    I’m laughing typing this. LOL

    And you are so right about the long red lights ! My daughter used to say she could put on all her make up for the day and completely check her Facebook feed, at that light at PIB and Winters Chapel. That’s when you actually knew where you left off and what was new chronologically in your feed. (Ah I miss that)
    I guess maybe she might could .

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