A letter can’t make that much of a difference in the overall scheme of things…right? I mean, how much lost in translation really is there from adding a letter (neighbor v. neighbour – you may just sound that much more sophisticated with the latter, but that’s about it), subtracting a letter (foregoing v. forgoing – you’ve either already passed the thing by or never had it in the first place, so I wouldn’t worry about it either way), changing a letter (knead v. kneed – both are actions, both involve bending body parts) or resetting a letter (sued v. used – depending on the verdict, those may turn out to be the same thing). What I’ve come to find in the past three months, however, is that the difference of a letter can actually result in the difference of a daily, a lifestyle. It can mean traveling more safely from one destination to another, concluding a dinner with multiple friends all the happier, saving money on continuous auto repair, protecting your behind from germs and your legs from fatigue, and getting that gut you’ve always dreamed of with a bigger selection of brew houses. Allow me to elaborate.
Toilet Seat Covers: Aside from a Porta-Potty, there isn’t a place in California that I can recount in my 30 years there that did not have a toilet seat cover available in women’s restrooms. During my time in Colorado, I believe that I’ve found one location that provides these, and if memory serves me correctly, that was at the Denver International Airport.
Selling a Car: Car dealerships in Colorado are not allowed to sell a car on Sundays. Car dealerships in California are allowed to sell a car on Sundays.
Alcohol Sales: California law allows liquor, wine and beer to be sold at various retail locations of the same company pending that they have the proper license in place and have paid the applicable fees. Presently, liquor, wine and beer above 3.2% abv are not sold outside of liquor stores in Colorado with one exception. Retail liquor licenses are granted to one location per company in the state. There is currently discussion and proposed legislature that could change this.
Traffic Lights: I recollect that most stoplights in California were paired with a pedestrian countdown timer and typically allowed sufficient transition time from green to red. What I’ve found in Colorado is that pedestrian countdown timers outside of the downtown area are few and far between as well as that the transition time from green to red is significantly less.
Splitting the Bill: In California, this request was either denied or otherwise begrudgingly accepted whenever I would dine out with a party larger than two. From my experience in Colorado, this is a practice always offered and indifferently accepted in every restaurant and bar regardless of the size of the party.
Garages: From what I can remember, the majority of garages in California are next to the entranceway of the abode. Garages in Colorado are more often separated from a home or accessible via the alley behind it.
Plastic Bags: At least in San Francisco, these are now a thing of the past, and I feel that this trend may spread throughout the state of California eventually. In Colorado, these are still widely used, and reusable bags are a nice-to-have as opposed to a necessity.
Unprotected Lefts: When I lived in California, I would be very cautious of making an unprotected left turn as I was very well aware that drivers coming toward me have the right away and will not stop. From living in Colorado, I have encountered countless drivers who will knowingly speed up to make an unprotected left turn as an opposing driver like myself approaches the intersection.
Microbreweries: There never felt like there was an overabundance or generous offering of microbreweries concentrated within a certain city in California. The “word on the street” in Denver is that a new microbrewery opens weekly, so I can only imagine what this translates to throughout the Colorado state.
Potholes: Potholes are scattered throughout the state of California. Potholes are scattered throughout the state of Colorado but appear more frequently and come to find affect my tires more severely than any of the roads that I have previously traversed.
Checking IDs: Unless given the benefit of the doubt, the question of legal drinking age in California came in the form of one of three questions: a) “Can I see your ID?”; b) “Are you over 21?”; or c) “Are you with the ABC?”. Each time that I have imbibed in Colorado, I have been asked for my ID.
The aforementioned opinions are mine and mine alone, a narrative from a California native and a newb in Colorado. They are the result of blood from dry and cracked skin, sweat from an unforgiving sun in a non-humid climate and tears from…well…sometimes missing the home symbolized by that other letter.
Change a letter, and you change your world.
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Shannon was born and raised in California with a youth spent in Roseville, college years lived in Los Angeles and adult life continuing to blossom in San Francisco. She has a double major in Accounting and Business Law, her CPA (though inactive) in California, experience serving on the Suicide Prevention Hotline and as a Court Appointed Special Advocate in San Francisco, and is about to conclude almost three years working as a recruiter for accounting and finance professionals in the Bay Area. Shannon’s international experience ranges from studying abroad in Madrid, to serving in the Peace Corps in Honduras, to traveling to a new location every two years for pleasure with her mother. Her passion is service, and she therefore cannot tell you how stoked she is to be serving as a Fellow for an organization that promotes what she has experienced to be the most sustainable development activity abroad: microfinance.