What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

24 September 2010

I Think I've Heard Enough.

If you were looking for ranting, you came to the right place!

What with me being a transplanted Hoosier living in Texas, I get a lot of Yankee jokes. I do my best to explain to those around me that being from Indiana makes me a Midwesterner, not a Yankee. But I don't mind, because it turns out that it's just as easy to make a southern or Texan joke in response, so they are really just sharpening my wit.

Even better are the complaints directed to me about the general rudeness/strangeness/silliness of Northerners, as if I were a representative of everyone who originated above the Mason/Dixon line and I'll be reporting back to them all at our annual conference. But lest you think this is limited to my current neighbours, let me assure you that complaining is still a human trait (as well I know); my northern friends complain about southerners just as much.

Here's what I hear over and over again: Northerners are so rude. Southerners are so fake. And as with many generalizations, neither is actually true. So, as the apparent representative to both sides, I'd like to broker a truce. Can we all acknowledge a couple of points, please?

1) Politeness varies from place to place. If you are from the south and you go on vacation in New York, you have no business expecting people to behave the same as you would at home. The problem is that you are unacquainted with NY politeness, and for all you know, the way you are acting in public may well be rude. And the reverse is also true, northerners; don't expect the south as a whole to respond in the same way that you would in any given situation.

2) Good manners don't make you "fake"; they are supposed to be superficial. They are not about who you are. They are about how you treat complete strangers, and can't go much deeper than your outward behaviour. Good manners are an acknowledgement to other people that as human beings, they are as entitled to basic courtesy as you are. That's all. Not every person on the planet is going to be your best friend, but every person on the planet should be thanked for doing you a kindness and not knocked out of the way unceremoniously just because you are in a hurry. However, there also is no need to write off an entire city/region because some people haven't yet gotten the memo.

So, we can all get along now, right? Everyone on the same page? Good. If you have any further politeness-related complaints (in the words of every parent I know), I don't want to hear it.

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