Sarcastic Saturday :: on regional cultural differences.

16 Aug

This is going to be a shorter one.

Sometimes there are these little things that you take for granted about your hometown/state/region and then you go somewhere else and are shocked out of your little comfort zone.  This also applies to environments (communities, campuses, social groups) but even that is often informed by the locational differences involved.  I’m traveling this week, I’m down in the south, and that itself isn’t weird, I have family down here that I visit approximately annually, but I think the fact that usually I’m in a more isolated environment mostly with family is why it doesn’t usually hit me this hard.

There’s the unavoidable climate stuff, the heat and sun that tend to make me wilt miserably, and the nature stuff, the cicadas that make me feel like I’m walking into the Delta Rae song “Bottom of the River” every time I step outside at night, but that’s not really what I’m talking about.  There are the accents, which I adore listening to, find myself picking up because despite never having lived down south, I do slip slightly into the accent if I’m around it too much; hell, I’ve been known to pick it up momentarily from watching an episode of True Blood, so being surrounded by real southerners is a great temptation, one that I have to avoid because I don’t want anyone to think I’m making fun of them since it’s not that, it’s just the fact that I’m a mimic.  And the accents are mostly natural to people, though also it’s cultural, but it’s not really that I’m talking about either.

It’s mostly just the social stuff.  The fact that the entire time I’ve been down here I have seen maybe one recycling bin when at home I’m used to seeing them everywhere (and not just a catchall bin but multiple ones for multiple types of recycling).  The fact of the food, which — I’ve been adventurous this week (adventurous for me), I even tried catfish, and it was all right, but it was so fried and salty and I’m just not used to that extreme (I won’t say I’m nearly as health-conscious as the stereotype of the Pacific Northwest, foodwise, but it’s certainly the environment I’m used to).  The fact of how everyone says hello to you and greets you and is polite and they call you “honey” and the like, which — I appreciate manners, manners are nice, but sometimes I personally just want to smile at someone and keep on walking, and no matter the intention I tend to chafe when strangers call me “honey,” that’s not theirs to do.

It’s not good, it’s not bad, it’s just different.  And when compounded with things like the heat and sun, it’s a little bit jarring.

–your fangirl heroine.

i know what i'm doing

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