A person of questionable sanity who starts their own cult
Smelling like turnips at all times
My beloved friend from Boston came in town for a visit this weekend, as she was attending a wedding on Saturday. On Sunday, we got to spend a lovely day reminiscing and speaking lightly and deeply about life, love, and the pursuit of happiness. It was great! 🙂
The thing I want to write about is tangentially related to her visit. On Sunday night, we went to dinner at Palomino with a bunch of her other Bay Area friends. Reservations and seating were a fiasco not of our making, but that’s not really the thing I’m trying to get at. At some point in the evening, while we were all sitting around the table, eating and conversing, I realized that I was unpurposely and unconsciously acting like a person who had had a few drinks. My face was flushed, I was speaking a little more loudly than usual, I was giggling and giggly at the smallest things, and in general, I was just amped up. It really weirded me out, not because this behavior was unusual, but because I had finally made a conscious connection between my disconnected symptoms and those of a slightly buzzed person. Hmm.
The other thing that happened is that since a bunch of us who had known each other since freshman year of college were there, as well as a bunch of transplants to the East Coast, we naturally got to talking about the differences in our behavior and attitudes as a result of our living environment. In particular, one of the people there had lived in Philly for a year, so she was speaking about how rough things felt there. And so my friend launched into a story about how I accidentally cussed out a British tourist when I was in college because I accidentally thought he was accosting us, not asking us for directions.
The thing I hate about that story is that it makes me sound 1) violent, 2) out of control, 3) hostile, 4) paranoid, or 5) all of the above. The problem is that given the context of living in Philly, behaving the way I had would have been accepted as perfectly normal by most Philadelphians I know. I learned to adjust when I moved to Boston, but it took time. And I learned to adjust when I moved out here, and it’s still taking time. But again, the thing I hate is that people listen to that story without having context of what a day-to-day environment in Philly was like growing up. It’s not that I had a chip on my shoulder; it’s that that’s the normal way to behave where I was. And since I moved, I have been adapting to the new waters. That’s what normal human beings do. To act as a Californian (very friendly and open) in Philly would piss off all the people I met and make them feel threatened because they won’t understand what is going on. You do as the Romans do.
Anyway, after we finished eating dinner, we had decided that my out-of-town friend and another friend (whom she was staking with overnight) would get dropped off by me, so we all walked over to our car. Given the stories that had been told, and given that we were all in a great mood from a fun evening of hanging out, when we encountered three people taking up the entire pavement, we were all smiles and soft voices and rueful apology and “Excuse me”s as we tried to pass them. Only they didn’t move at all, even with repeated excuse mes. So as we passed, I think I gave a very quite disgruntled “hmmph” but given the good mood I was in, I don’t even really think I did (but I have reflected on the incident a few times now, and really think there is a possibility that I might have), especially because I was trying to show my friends that I wasn’t like that story that was told about me. Then one of the guys turned around after we passed and loudly and rudely said, “You could have at least said excuse me!” I turned around, shocked and annoyed, and said, “We f*#$ing said excuse me like ten times!” and walked away. I was so annoyed. And my friend joked to me, “So is this what you meant by becoming soft in CA?” I know she was totally joking, and I saw the irony of the situation, but those people really pissed me off, that we were so nice, so polite, so sheepish about passing them, after having had a great time, and they’d be so rude. I don’t know. Was my behavior out of line? :-/