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.