Culture Shock

I went to North Carolina for Christmas, and the minute I got there I was immediately slapped in the face with the most intense culture shock I’ve experienced in my entire life. My mom, grandma, and my mom’s elderly friend all came to Charlotte to pick me up, and the friend drove no faster than 55mph for the entire 2-hour ride home. Then the minute we arrived in my home town, we stopped at the J&S Cafeteria for dinner (because that’s what old people there do), and I could not believe my eyes and ears. Between the strangers all talking to each other and us, the Christmas sweatshirts, and the John Deere pocketbook of the girl in front of us in line, I felt like an alien in another universe. I couldn’t help but think, what if a very large giant took that J&S Cafeteria and lifted it up and plopped it down in LA? How different would the scene look? Everyone would be facing forward, not speaking to anyone else, the food would cost ten times more, and the jeans and flannel shirts would be replaced with Ugs and Juicy sweats. Maybe it would even become a kitchy, trendy place where hipsters would eat “ironically.”

Last night I flew back to LA, and for the first time felt disgruntled with the lack of friendliness of folks here. I was on the shuttle coming from the airport wearing my seat belt (buckle up for safety!) and a woman couldn’t get to the seat behind me, and instead of saying, “Excuse me, can you move your seat belt please?” she just stood there all hunched over and pinch-faced, kind of staring/glaring at me. When I noticed, I was clearly still in NC mode and said, “Oh, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry!” and instead of saying, “Oh, that’s okay!” and then striking up a conversation about Christmas, traveling, and her uncle’s homegrown honey, like any respectable Carolinian would have, she didn’t say a cotton-pickin’ word! Not one word. I’ve been here for five years and have suddenly just realized that people in Los Angeles are unfriendly.

On the upside, my sister gave me a t-shirt that says, “You mess with this Carolina girl, you will be messin’ with the whole trailer park!”

I now consider them warned.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *