TrivWorks Expansion to Southern California – How’s it Going So Far? company Long Beach California

It’s been two weeks since my family and I up and moved from NYC, our home for the past fifteen years, and came out to Long Beach, California to establish TrivWorks’ new West Coast office (don’t worry, we’re still servicing the East Coast like always – just last week we had successful trivia events in Manhattan and South Carolina, and this week in New Jersey – we’re now forging the path to new frontiers in the Golden State and beyond!).

Thus far, the transition has been a smooth one – albeit we had a pretty annoying Internet issue which kept us offline for the first week (follow this link for more on that lovely story). Our moving truck finally showed up a couple of days ago, so we were able to set up the office and our new home after operating in bare-bones mode. For those who have never made the move cross-country, imagine living out of a suitcase for a week and a half, and operating a business from a Smartphone. Spoiler: it gets old, and fast.

Anyway…we’re fully back on track now, meaning we’re ready to produce corporate trivia parties in Long Beach California, all of SoCal, NoCal and the surrounding states! It also means I can get back to blogging on a regular basis, and not sporadically via my tablet. Much prefer the desktop – better keyboard, full screen. But I digress.

Prior to making the move, I had written another relevant blog post about what the audiences and clients would be like here in Cali. I wondered: what would the people here be like? Would they be receptive to the unique form of corporate event entertainment I’ve developed, using team trivia as a group entertainment activity for the office? I’d never lived out here before, only visited and gleaned an understanding of what it’s like from TV and movies. From what I could tell with this limited exposure, the folks here by and large are…well, NICE. Sorry, Big Apple – you know as well as I do that’s not the first thing people say about you. As such, would this new market be receptive to my edgy, smart-alecky brand of engaging humor?

I want to tell you two quick stories, which I think helps explain the difference between the people in my new environment, and those from which I just came from.

Just last month, we lived in South Brooklyn. My wife and I had been Brooklynites for many years, and our two young children had never lived outside the borough. Brooklyn has many amazing things going for it, and it’s really a terrific place. It also happens to be extremely crowded, with a ton of people jammed into not a ton of space. As a result, those who live there can be…short-tempered.

One morning this past spring, I was driving my daughter to Pre-K in the neighborhood. It was alternate side parking day – for those not familiar, they clean the streets twice a week; one of those days, you need to move your car to the one side of the street, so they can clean the other side, etc. Because there are so many cars and so few parking spots, what realistically happens is that people double-park their cars across the street for the entire 2-hour cleaning window, then put them back. No one gets a ticket, and usually no one complains.

Anyway, it was an alternate side parking day. My wife took our daughter inside, and I went to find a parking place to wait for her. The way it looks on these streets, to give you a visual, is the one side of the street being cleaned is completely bereft of vehicles, while the other side is stacked two cars deep from one end to the other. I found an “open” spot amongst the double parked cars and pulled in.

About ten seconds later, I felt a presence next to me. I look out my driver’s side window, and not two feet away was an irate woman, staring angrily at me through the glass with her arms out to the side, palms up. I lowered my window, upon which this woman shouts (yes, shouts – from two feet away) “How am I supposed to get out!” It appears I had parked in front of her car. “My wife’s coming out in about a minute,” I said, gesturing towards the school with all of the calm I could muster. “A minute, huh?” she says, nodding in sarcastic fashion.

She then turns around, and walks away.

I couldn’t help myself. I leaned out the window and cheerfully said, “Have a nice day!” Which, in that scenario, is a polite way of saying – well, I’m sure you can figure it out.

Now, let me tell you about something that happened here this past week. I’d mentioned that our moving truck just arrived, and with it came something like 92 boxes of stuff. I looked through the tenant handbook of the place we live, and the only thing I could find about discarding boxes was that they had to be broken down and taken to the “recycling area” of the parking garage. I dutifully grabbed the first two boxes, went down to the garage and found…nothing. I couldn’t find the recycling area anywhere. In fact, all I could see were two large trash bins, similar to the ones we used in NYC for separating paper and plastic. I broke my boxes down, and left them there.

Shortly afterwards, amidst the chaos of trying to unpack, etc., we hear a sweet voice at the door.

“Hello! Neighbor, hello…!”

Standing at the door is a smiling older woman, who looked as though she’s been waiting all day to meet us. “Welcome!” she said, warmly. She introduced herself, and shook both my hand and my wife’s. “Can I ask,” she said, “did you happen to leave some boxes downstairs by my garbage cans?”

I instantly knew where this was going. I’d inadvertently put my boxes in her personal trash, rather than the communal ones. I braced for what I expected would be the inevitable volcanic tongue-lashing.

But it never came.

She took me downstairs, smiling the whole way and asking me everything about our flight to how we liked the new environment. When we got to the garage, she directed me to an unmarked door, behind which was in fact the “recycling area.” What’s more, she told me that the signage should be better, and that she’d bring it up at the next board meeting so that new arrivals like me don’t make mistakes. She thanked me for removing the boxes from her trash, wished me well, and went on her way.

I use these examples to illustrate what, in my mind anyway, is the difference between new place and the old. Back in Brooklyn, there was definitely a tendency for people to go “directly for the nuke,” as I used to say. People there are so crowded, so limited in personal space, that they feel they have to fight for every inch. I understand that woman’s frustration that I parked in front of her car. Could she have handled it differently? I think so.

Here, the attitude seems to be much more relaxed. I was expecting the woman whose trash can I used to erupt at me, as that would have not been out of the ordinary if it had happened in Brooklyn. But the kind way she handled it, well, it was just so welcome and refreshing.

To kind of wrap the whole thing up, yes I think things are going to be just fine here in the new digs. The weather is gorgeous, the space plentiful, and the people are just so, so nice. This jaded New Yorker may have a thing or two to learn – or rather, unlearn – about how the world works outside the 5 boroughs!

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