My sister gave me a crossword puzzle for Xmas and so I got into them again. What a surprise. Now the clues have double meanings. Now it can mean 2,3 words. I remember when I took a graduate Linguistics course, hearing about Noam Chomsky, and the concept of a dictionary and how it is always evolving. So, you gotta stay current. But -- say I -- as with that childhood rhyme about friendship (Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other is gold.) - it's good to become versant in many different kinds of ways -- language, culture, manners. In today's diverse world, it's a necessity.
Since I just moved from Texas to the D. C. area, I am experiencing culture shock. Not that I haven't lived other places, but I was 20+ years in Texas, most of it in San Antonio which has its own little culture. In addition, I do some contract work in Prince William County, which has a different demographic, and also "country," as in Haymarket, Va.
It's been fun learning. I've moved a lot in my lifetime and learned all about it as a kid. Watch. Listen. Figure out what's going on and then figure out how much you want to bend. I also lived in the north as a kid and summer-ed in Texas. Got it wrong, and got made fun of in each place. i.e., in Texas you HAD to way "Yes M'am" and "Yes Sir" -- or you would -- gasp -- get a paddling from the principal. In the north when I said it, they thought I was sucking up to the teacher. I only did it once. I learned early about - or you cultural relativism.
A man who had been a pilot in the Air Force and therefore been all around the world, but has lived in Dover, DE for decades, told me that he liked the way I made eye contact. He said that was one thing he liked "about Texas women" which he had noticed when in training at Lackland, and also up in Waco. He said, "The women here look all around," and demonstrated to me. Will I change that? I guess I'll tame it down. That would be smart.
Getting ready to make a purchase at Sheetz in Harymarket, I walked up to the empty country. A man walked up to me and said, "I can tell you aren't from around here. Around here, you form one line." Will I change that? Unfortunately that applies only to the convenience stores in Haymarket. But in Haymarket, I'll do it.
The Koreans here mix the food in big bowls on the floor of the kitchen, sometimes sitting down. Will I do that? Nope! They expect you to take your shoes off when you enter. Yeah, that's okay, except that I researched that long ago, and sure, it works about mud on your shoes, but thye natural oils on your feet also stain and wear carpeting. That's why I got tile in the last house I had!
Honking on the highway is frequent and aggressive in Texas, Not so here. Do I miss it? Not a bit. In fact it's amazing how much stress-from-driving it removes to not hear honking. Good idea. Smart people.
DON'T MESS WITH TEXAS? Heck, don't mess with Maryland. Sign at a convenience store- don't litter. Fine is $1500 and suspension of driver's license. No wonder it's so clean around here. Will I adhere. Doh. I won't be littering in Maryland.
Men in the country area open the doors for women. Non-Anglo males in Falls Church and Chevy Chase open the doors for women. YOu catch my drift?
All my time in Manassas, Va., I've seen one man in a full suit with the tie and polished leather "Daddy shoes" and the whole bit.
The C&W station here plays the Star Spangled Banner at noon.
Sign in the ATM at the bank in Chevy Chase offers you choices of English, Spanish, Arabic or French.
I spent half my life looking for a free, free tennis court. In Manasses and Dale City, I have never seen anyone ON a tennis court. They are all, always, available.
I am preparing myself for the fact that all the public swimming pools are shut down at Labor Day, and I won't be swimming in my pool or my friends' pools. Wait a minute, I don't have a pool, and neither does anyone else.
In this case, the eternal 3 options apply -- change the situation, leave, or change your attitude,
My mom always used to tell me, when I would come to her puzzled by something that had -- yet again -- happened at school, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do."
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