My husband was in the military for 12 years when we first met. It was the pivotal point when an active duty member decides on making a career of the military, or getting out while the gettin' is good. We actually made the decision together as time progressed and we figured out we were gonna be together for the long haul. He wanted to do it and I supported his decision. Having a health plan for life seemed like a mighty fine idea at the time (and it still is!).
We've done a lot of talking about where he's been and the things he's seen. The things he has seen falls under places he's been....not any of that classified stuff. One thing he's always said is that no matter where you go, you need to adapt to the place where you are put. You are visiting, for the most part, on a long term basis (2-4 years). It's up to you to adapt to the part of the country you are in or the foreign place you've been assigned. I think this is good advice.
SO WHY DOESN'T EVERYONE ELSE DO THIS??
When he was stationed in Charleston, we would run into his students out in town. He would introduce me and they would have a small conversation. It almost never failed that whoever he was talking to would make the comment that they were ready to leave South Carolina. They hated South Carolina. South Carolina sucked.
Have you any idea how much that pissed me off? It took everything I had to NOT to tell these brats to go right then, pack their crap up and head on out. We don't want their yankee butts stinking up our beautiful state.
I would always smile sweetly and inform them in a "Scarlet O' Hara" sugared voice that I was born and raised in South Carolina and simply had no problem with it whatsoevah. Why, I just couldn't understand why on earth they would want to head up Nawth where people are just so rude and drive like loons. Anyone who knows me personally can vouch for the fact that when I get a pronounced accent going on...I'm usually pissed. It's not hard to tell. But, to the unknown, they get all confused looking at me trying to figure out why I'm smiling with my mouth and not my eyes. Then they get nervous a little bit. (This is my gift and I've honed it to perfection over the years.)
Now, this does not mean that I endorse the putting down of other parts of my great country. I know there are stereotypes and people have preconceived notions before they even arrive in a place. My point I was trying to make was this: It works both ways. If you put down my part of the country, I'm going to dig down a bit and find the stupidest thing to say about yours just so you realize how wrong you were to even open your mouth.
The wife of one of Fred's friends back in Charleston was the bane of my very existence. That girl drove me nuts. Her name was Kelly and I always referred to her as The Lovely Miss Kelly. Oh yeah, I was being very facetious because, 1. she wasn't lovely and 2. she thought very highly of herself. She proclaimed all the time how she hated the South. She needed skyscrapers! She needed hustle and bustle! And she simply HATED the word "ya'll". Her skin crawled every time she heard it. She was from Indiana. I finally looked at Fred one day and said..."Do not evah ask me to put my feet under her supper table. I will not do it. And does she not realize that had it not been for this town, that she hates, being one of the first cities in these United States, therefore establishing the start of this country that she lives in and her husband works for, then freaking Indiana would NOT be here today???"
*Clears throat and forces self to calm down*
I have been stewing for a couple of days over some of this. I called our base clinic the other day to make Makenna an appointment as she needed an immediate one due to her eye being irritated. We have all established that I am Southern by birth and the grace of the Lord above. I chose not to accompany my husband when he was stationed in Norfolk, Virginia because I was unsure of my abilities to adapt to a Northern like atmosphere. See? I knew I had limitations.
I was speaking with a nurse who was Lt. Somebody. She was okay. Not overly friendly, but I am used to that somewhat here as our base is a mixture of all races, places, and faces. She asked me something and I replied and somewhere in my reply I called her "honey". I don't even think about it. I AM SOUTHERN. We do stuff like that. It is not intended to degrade or insult. I do not approve of the word "babe". But Sugar? Honey? Sweetie? These words are staples of our language here.
She immediately said to me..."My name is not Honey. It is Lt. Somebody." And she kept right on going with whatever she was saying.
Oh, really. Is that right?
I promise on all that is Holy that if I hadn't needed to get my child in to see that doctor? I would have let loose on her.
So, I allowed the Inner Scarlet to emerge. I was cold, impersonal, and overly polite. With a pronounced Southern accent.
Don't get me wrong. I have no problem with Lt. Somebody having a problem with being called nice names. I really don't. But, realize where you are, Sugar. Realize that you are in These Southern United States. Realize that when you talk to someone on the phone and they have the Southern accent, that they have been raised differently from you. They are taught to say yes ma'am and might be inclined to call you a sweet name without thinking twice about it. They will talk to you as if they have known you for forevah. Realize they mean no harm or insult whatsoever. Go with the flow and ignore those things that irritate you because you understand that you are in a different land from your own.
It's like the fact that I do not expect sweet tea after I get past North Carolina. I know things are not as I am used to when venturing out of the Circle. And I've ventured out a few times. Why, I've even been as far as Chicago. Okay, I didn't leave O' Hare airport during the six hour layover, but I was there!!
I just had to put a thought or two out there because I'm sick and tired of stewing over it.
I guess I got some adapting to do my own self.