California is a car culture. People here are crazy for their cars and, especially in Marin, often pour tons of money into them. I’ve seen Bentleys at kindergarten drop off, Ferraris at the Safeway and the Porsche Cayenne seems to be the car of choice for Marin soccer moms. For me, driving in a car was one of the hardest things to adjust to after moving from NYC and not just because I hadn’t driven in a while. I find driving to be extremely isolating and feel that it often brings out the worst in people. You sit there, safely ensconced in your cocoon, talking on your wireless device while your GPS directs tells you where to go–you don’t even need to learn your way around town, let alone ask someone for directions or otherwise communicate with another human being. Drivers in a car culture can feel above it all, and from within the security of their vehicles, often behave in ways they would never dream of if they were face-to-face with others. Making rude hand gestures, cutting people off or not letting someone into “your” lane is par for the course while driving. In NYC on a crowded sidewalk, subway or bus you are forced to interact with others and obey the basic laws of society (think pre-school: no shoving, spitting, touching or potty language) or you will have to deal with that person up close and personal. There is no hiding in NYC. You have to play nice or else, which, in my opinion, is a good thing.