January 26, 2006

Being Polite in the South

I realized that my sense of humor; dark sarcasm and cynicism, don’t fit in to Houston. On the East or Left Coasts it makes sense. Here it doesn’t. People are too polite here. I’m use to verbal battles of cranky, moody, sometimes angry sharing. It seemed more honest and made us feel smarter, better, above the common riff-raff.

Here when I make my comments people either give a nervous laugh, pretend they didn’t hear what I said, stare me in the eyes and just smile politely or ask me to repeat myself. In response I start to mumble what I said again, trying to dig myself out of a social hole.

Example: “It’s this kind of Southern music that makes my brain curdle.” Person I’m talking to stares at me politely, they probably love this music or are related to the singer. I realize my rude comment and try to fix it by saying, “What I means is that Southern music hurts my brain, well I’m sure some day I’ll look back on this statement and laugh while I’m driving my pickup truck and listening to country tunes.” I’ve successfully dug a bigger hole. Person just keeps staring at me with a blank smile.