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Those People

October 10, 2010

I love to spend time looking for lols on the internet. It is a holdover from when I was sick and I couldn’t do much else, plus, it’s the best of American pop culture, filtered and distilled.

Some things crack me up, like this map of Europe. And this response.

It’s funny, of course, because it is true. We do see each other that way. Why, I wonder?

It’s easier, for one. The enormity of processing the individuality of each individual is overwhelming, so we create boxes to put people in, because we, as people, aren’t smart enough not to. We box each other up into crates categorized by appearance, by dialect and accent, by size, by level of education, by faith, dress, and even by the music we listen to, and we do it to everyone we meet, and we get all huffy and hurt-feelings when anyone ever does it to us.  I do it too, although I try not to.

Do I feel a sense of satisfaction when I see that, according to some map someone drew to be funny, the state I live in, Texas, gets singled out as somehow different from the rest of America? I think it’s funny. I also think that a lot of people who live in Texas identify very strongly with being Texan, certainly more so than, say, Florida or New Hampshire, other states I have lived in. Many Texans really, truly, and I am not making this up, do call non-Texans who live here “foreigners.” On the occasions when I have run into trouble fitting into the culture here, it’s usually because I’ll come out and say that “I don’t think Dallas, Texas is the be-all-and-end-all of places to live,” and many Texans react to this opinion as if I had said “I like to kill and eat puppies.” Texan pride often reminds me of  living in Japan, where no bridge will ever span the chasm between Japanese and not-Japanese.

Certainly, shared experience creates a bond. I know that a lot of stuff does not need to be explained when I hang around with other people who are cancer survivors.  Or other people who went to college in the Northeast. Or other people who are living in a family, like mine, that is a mixture of Latino and white culture. Or other people who are short. Or who wear plaid. Or writers. Or people who listen to classical music. Or people who play World of Warcraft.  If I were to box myself in, think of myself primarily as belonging to a certain category, and associate primarily with people who fit into that category, I’d miss out on a lot.

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  1. Michael Cohn permalink

    Having lived in Dallas for three years, I totally understand your sentiment. My feeling about it is this: if those in Texas think that being in Texas is the end-all be-all of existence then by all means please stay where you are. If someone who proudly lives in Frisco would make such a claim, then exposure to other places: Coral Gables, New Orleans, or San Francisco, is just a waste of time.

  2. Aunt Lee permalink

    Darling, Check the meaning of “enormity”. I am so enjoying your blog. Lots of love.

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