Saturday, July 10, 2010

Where I’m At

It’s a hectic time right now for me. My job is winding down. I worked as a Crew Leader for the census, and have managed to keep that secret as long as I’ve held a badge. I’m still collecting a tiny paycheck or two for a half-hour here or there as I finish collecting government property from the more delinquent of the employees I am responsible for, but I am officially not a government employee anymore.

My wife and I are also moving down to… am I allowed to say? I don’t know. It’s south, too south for comfort. South enough that the place is known for civil rights protests. The kind of place where, when a lady walks by, men tip their hat and stop kicking the negro curled in the fetal position at their feet. It’s a more polite place (until they find out my wife is Jewish).

Most of our stuff is boxed up, and we’re going down Monday to sign the mortgage. It’s going to be my first time seeing the home we’re going to purchase, as I had to work while my wife was house-hunting. In theory, utilities including internet will be set up the day we sign, and we’ll be staying in the house on an inflatable mattress for a few days as we talk to a contractor about fixing the fence in our backyard. Then we come back to finish packing, load up some portable storage units over 3 days (ideally doing the most when the weather is best), then drive down again, this time with the three cats, as well as our dog.

It’s boring me just writing about it.

So that’s my personal life, pretty much. I avoided talking about my job because there were specific complaints about “tweets” that violated confidentiality laws, so I figured I would avoid men in black suits coming to my door by just talking about it all after the fact. I might have a post or two about it in the next week or so, or I may just drop weird tidbits into things from time to time.

I’m not looking forward to moving to the South, and it’s not because I’m so fond of Philadelphia. I’m not from Philly. I only lived here for eight years. They weren’t even particularly pleasant years, and I can honestly say the city will leave a bad taste in my mouth (namely a greasy steak and cheese film).

Some people say stupid things that are variations of the phrase, “People are basically the same everywhere.” This is total bullshit. People who say this have either always lived in the same place or they live within insulated social bubbles. So yes, it is true that upper-middle class white folks are pretty much identical everywhere. That isn’t saying much.

There is a marked difference between the average person in Philadelphia and the average person in Indiana (where I lived from 5th grade until I graduated high school). I can’t speak much to the character of those in Michigan, where I lived from 1st through 4th grade, and if I was going by what I remember of Missouri… I would say everyone there is very, very tall.

Philadelphia gets weather a day after Indiana, but Indiana gets everything else about 5 years later. People in Indiana use their turn signals and will wave you to go at a 4-way stop, while people in Philly don’t use headlights at night and roll through stop signs. People in Indiana wave and say, “Hello,” to random strangers, while people in Philly ask you what time it is at 3am, then mug you.

Honestly, the biggest difference I noticed is in personal responsibility. If you live in Indiana and you tell your friend you want to see a movie at 8pm, at about 7:45pm, both of you will be standing in line to buy a ticket. You would need a magic wand or a friend from the Midwest in order to have this happen in Philly. I honestly told several Philly friends (or Phriends) that things started a half hour early, so they would be “on time” by my standards.

“Who wants to see a bunch of previews or the opening credits?”

I don’t know, maybe everyone who doesn’t want a seat in the front row, craning their neck straight up? And once the movie starts, if you live in Philly, you better not mind a lot of chatter.

So honestly, people are not the same everywhere. People aren’t unrecognizably unique by region, nor are they homogenized herds, but the distribution of attitudes and behaviors are not uniform. As I settle into my life in the South, I’m sure I will learn firsthand all that comes from a population of people with a Baptist upbringing.


  1. I worked as a Crew Leader for the census

    I knew it, you damn statist!

  2. By the way, good luck and all the best on your move!

    I hope you'll be the same old Ginx down South, cause my blog wouldn't be the same without ya.

  3. If "south" happens to equate to "Texas", drop me a line. (Also, if that's the case, you might want to apologize to Apollo for that interview...) Depending on where you land, you may have the chance to meet some imaginary friends...

    Your post sounds more like you're headed for the Deep South, though. (Why do they call it that, anyway? I mean, 'deep' is the last word I'd used to describe... oh, never mind.) Either way, good luck, and I hope everything goes smoothly.

  4. @SE: You'll be happy to know I showed the government as little respect as I do all my employers. As for whether I'll change... I'm sure your blog will be peppered with liberal diatribes for years to come.

    @MM: I'm actually moving to the "Shallow South," which I guess refers to the fact that it's not that far over the Mason Dixon line... or possibly the gene pool.

  5. @ Michael Mock

    "Deep South" = deep down south.

    "Deep South" = deep fried food.

    "Deep South" = deep, dark hole.

    "Deep South" ne deep thoughts. At least, not generally. But we're not all in-bread down here.

    @ Ginx, all

    I did census work once. It Sucked. Most everyone was suspicious of me and refused to fill out their forms. Or, they looked at me angrily for taking a wrong turn into their trailer park.

    I got cornered by a dog and severely demeaned by a person who refused to even take the form and send it in.

    You seem to keep descending farther into the South. You'll find yourself here in the buckle of the Bible belt before too long.


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