I am an ECT. It’s not a diagnosis, some way of thinking or a personality type; and I’ll aways be an ECT — an East Coast Transplant.
Recently, I became aware of this when I met a freshly minted ECT. When this native New Yorker told me it was his first summer in Arizona, I couldn’t help but smirk. The summers haven’t bothered me yet since I’m convinced that I’m melding into a hybrid of some cactus and/or lizard: I must bask in the sun every morning and I’m conserving water since I know I’m not drinking nearly enough.
From my three years of being in the Valley of the Sun, I had some decent insights to share with New York and then there were other observations that I kept to myself.
Nice and Slow
In college I knew a man who returned to school. Meaning, in my freshman mind, that he’d been out there and could provide me details on what the outside world was like. The West Coast is too slow, was what I got. Things get done but it takes a looooong time.
Well Guy, who’s name I can’t remember, you’re partially correct. The West Coast is chill. Yea, chill is the word I would use and in my industry where fire drill is another well-used word, chill is also used sparingly.
But dare-I-say it, I think we look mellow in comparison to the high-anxiety, type A personalities I’ve recently met as an ECT.
Transplants are not uncommon. In fact, finding a native, born and raised, in Arizona has become a casual game that I’ve started to play. Put it up there with reading license plates on a long road trip. To date, I can count the true Arizonans on one hand.
Sure, there’s a ton of folks that call themselves natives, having been here since childhood or being a transplant for 20+ years. But, they’re not. At least, not according to my rigid rules — being born and raised in the Grand Canyon State.
Snow birds are not actually birds. Sneaky, no? This term is used from the true natives to the transplants to describe a group of people that make living in this state unique.
Another term used to describe these people, encapsulates the driving experience when the snow birds are back in town — Q-tips. The grandmas and grandpas come flocking to their winter homes and congest the roads at 20 mph. The indication that it’s a Q-tip driving the car in front of you? Often, all you can see is the white hair peering over the driver’s seat. That, and it’s a Oldsmobile. Come summer time and the snowbirds have flown the coop.
While I can’t tolerate temperatures below 50 degrees and have started to evolve into an Arizonan-wannabe, I’ve accepted that I’ll always be an ECT. Lightning bugs, blue crabs, boardwalk fries — as an ECT I really crave these things. But you can hold the snow and humidity.