4/7/11

DC/NY Culture Clash (from rain gear to walking speeds)

DC folk love their rain gear. I can see that because I'm not a DC native and non-natives can see things natives miss about themselves. Yesterday was a misty day, not a rainy day, JUST misty. I walk out of my apartment to go to work with my coffee in hard and see all these umbrellas up, I cautiously walk out into the open space (for I DON'T see rain) and what do I feel? Mist! MIST!!! But by looking at the people bustling around in umbrellas you'd think we had some major rain storm, plus some flooding to boot. Each woman I see has these tall, tall galoshes. I always hated these anyway because I have too much calves and being 5'2" they make me look 4'5". All I see on this misty morning are galoshes, galoshes, galoshes. I see flowers, polka dots, lines, argyle, etc. OH! and of course everyone has an umbrella; not a regular umbrella. No, an umbrella that folds up into a 'pill' (like in the Jetsons), so that it fits in their perfectly tetris-ed briefcase when it dries. Okay, I'm exaggerating a bit.....but most of it IS true.

Similarly, being a native New Yorker I would have never known what we, new Yorkers, are like had it not been for the fact that I went to college in Massachusetts and people there told me what New Yorkers are like. I had no idea I was a fast walker until in college a friend protested I kept rushing her. Even today, with years living in DC people still comment about the speed of my gait. From another 'trusty' source in Massachusetts I discovered New Yorkers are brash. I had no idea that applied to me until a coworker years later told me she kept thinking I was mad at her when I answered, "what!" every time she called my name. Apparently I am supposed to say, "YES". DC folk need to hear "YES". So now, I curb my "what" to "YES" so as to not hurt feelings. Every once in a while I still hurt feelings.

From watching the DC Housewives show I learn that DC folk are conservative in their way of dressing and being. I see that daily working as a teacher in a school. At my last job as an art teacher in New York City for 4 years, each art teacher, regardless of age, stood WAY out in the way they dressed; one was funky, another jazzy, another punky, another grungy, another international, another organic, and the list goes on. In DC, things are visibly more subtle; by subtle I mean everyone looks like they walked out of a catalogue. I know half my wardrobe would shock some of my kids' parents and alienate the rest. Every so often I find myself wishing for some more daring views. I see perfectly coordinated trousers with catalogue shirt tops, and perfectly stored trench coats with all their buttons still on, and LOTS, lots of sensible shoes.

I find myself wishing for something over the top, anything over the top....color, a vintage jacket, shoes that yell, jewelry that are not worth anything but say quite a bit, a safety pin showing. A new DO.....

Maybe today is the day I will see it.....In the meantime I wearing my handmade earring today....


1 comment:

  1. I'm a northern New Yorker, rural Adirondacks, where the pace is a little less hectic, but yes, we still walk and talk a little faster, and I'm not afraid of looking like Mrs. Frizzle from the Magic Schoolbus books. But those rubber boots (zebra patterned, polka dotted, plaid, etc) appear to be considered fashion-forward even here these days. The kids wear boots with shorts. Strange fashion.

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