First glimpse of the south
I just read this post again, some two years later. While I feel I have fully acclimated to South Carolina, I can't help but find my first impressions amusing and discouraging. I ended up refuting a handful of these bullet points with my furthered experience.
Feb 1st 2013:
After a few weeks in Clemson I am starting to settle into a rhythm and in my new habitat I have noticed some differences in lifestyle, here we go:
1) My mixed undergraduate/ graduate classes have lots of camouflage, beards and tobacco. There are some serious “good ole boys”, anyone who has lived in the south or working in wildlife has surely met these people. When your shirt says, “huntin’ bucks and ridin’ trucks, that’s how I roll” it is hard to not chuckle and realize where you are!
3) Outside of my GIS class people were having a full on conversation about the shooting range here at school and one of the guys who worked there who was “incompetent”… now that doesn’t make me feel good. Side note: is there a shooting range on campus? I don’t even know.
4) Southern hospitality, so far has been a lie. There is an aire of disingenuity. I have been giving a nasty look when smiling at people on campus. Everyone averts there eyes doesn’t walk around chatting with each other like I assumed southerners would. At trivia night I didn’t have a chair because the place was packed, so I went up to a table with this older couple and their son and asked to have their spare chair, his response was, “our coats are on it”. You have got to be kidding me. They then proceeded to leave within 5 minutes. I mean how rude is that, when a restaurant is completely packed and people are looking for seats and you say no because of your jacket.
5) On that note, my office mate who I had yet to meet walked into the office and I turned around and said hello. She ignored me then walked out, this happened once more and finally I felt so incredibly awkward that I got up to go introduce myself from behind my cubicle. Her name was Lindsay; at least she shook my hand. (* I find this sort of unfriendly behavior an unfortunate commonality amongst many scientists in academic establishments. So involved in their research, stuck behind cubicles they forget what it means to interact with others)
6) A girl said to me that Californians were taking over (there’s ~ 6 of us) and we all needed to leave…gladly
7) On the radio I heard two ads
a. Friends of the NRA meeting
b. Overeaters anonymous
8) A classmate who is working on a project regarding bears and their proximities to residential areas, told me about a lady who called in to say there was a bear in her backyard and that she was scared to go to her car and go to work. The men from DNR said they would come by the house and remove the bear (non-lethally), 20 minutes later she called back and told them she had taken matters into her own hands and gone outside and shot the bear 4 times with her pistol….what?
9) I have never drank more beer in my life.
10) Every older person from South Carolina that I have met has asked me the same question once they find out I am from Berkeley, California: “Do you have culture shock yet?”, No, no I don’t… Do I?
However, after all this nonsense I have met some really cool people. I think that because I always talk to strangers I have this idea of the world where people want to help others, and I am easily disappointed when the opposite is so strongly thrown in my face.