Friday, December 16, 2005

Cardinal Virtues of American Regions: the West

Today's post covers the key virtue of the American West: coolness. It's very interesting to observe people from the West, because they often have a care-free spirit about them. One gets the sense from those from the West that life is a little breezier, a little happier, and certainly a little sunnier. It's probably all that sun and warm weather that breeds an ingrained happiness. How can one not hit a little higher level of happiness when it's 80 degrees and gorgeous all the time?

But it's not simply happiness that I noted as the West's key trait, it's coolness. Many of the West Coast strive for an equilibrium that is similar to that of Midwesterners but that is more centered around a cool and fresh appearance. Midwesterners are calm; those of West are calm, but they are not simply even-keeled, they're easy-breezy. Things won't simply stabilize, they'll maximize, and life will be good. In fact, life right now is pretty good, cause my hair looks cool, my clothes are cool, and my demeanor is cool, and I'm not even really trying.

There is much that I enjoy about the cool, cool West. Folks from this region tend to be easygoing, and a bunch of the most fun people I know are from the West. It seems easy to be fun in the West. To think about the difference between fun Northeasterners and fun Californians, the Californians are always going to have less on their mind and be able to strike a relaxed pose midst the tenseness of life (more so than uptight East Coast-ers). There's an enjoyment of living in the West that is refreshing and rejuvenating. On the other hand, those of the West tend to be slightly less able to focus on the nitty-gritty details of everyday existence. Everything will work out in the end, goes the mantra, and certain important matters can be swept under the rug a bit. But even though it may be slightly challenging to pin a Westerner down and get them to focus in a serious way, they're definitely the ones to call for rest and rejuvenation. In the West, it's cool, and that's no joke, dude.


Blogger Kate said...

I'll buy the idea that the West is more laidback and cheerful... but I don't think it's because of warm weather! :) That's applicable to California and Arizona, and much of Nevada, but not really the rest of the West. Maybe an addendum about the Mountain West, or about the Northwest? The Northwest is a completely different animal than the Southwest...

Anyway, I like your analyses. A good at-work read.

11:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a highly naive and didactic view of the American West. As someone who has lived in California and now Oregon, I cannot begin to tell you how different these two regions of the American west are. While Southern California fits well to you 80's degree description, Arizona, most of nothern California and Nevada, can only be habited in the summer by desert rats who love scorthy temperatures. Oregon and Washington are nothing but rain, nine out of 12 months of the year. Yes there is a care free spirit and general effusiveness to westerners. But this should not be mistaken for happiness. Happiness has everything to do with contentment, little to do with weather.

10:08 PM  

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