Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Say Goodbye to Southern Hospitality??

At least that's the way it feel sometimes. I am so very proud of my Southern roots and my Southern-ness. The Southern hospitality that is such an earmark of a Southern town and Southern peoples, I'm afraid, is being lost. The crux of the problem? Un-southern transplants. Now don't get me wrong, I love people no matter where they are from. I have made some of the dearest friends who are what Southerners would term "Yankees". However, there is, in general, a difference between the culture of those raised in the North or West or Midwest by parents who were also raised in that part of the country, and the culture of those raised in the South. A friend and co-worker of mine is one such transplant and even she noticed the huge difference between the way people treat each other here as opposed to where she is from in New Hampshire. This such friend, I am convinced, was supposed to be born in the South. She loves it here and has totally embraced the culture. She raised her children with some similar values that children are raised with here in the South and I do know that there are others out there like her.

We were raised to say "Yes Ma'am/Sir" and "No Ma'am/Sir" when addressing elders and to be hospitable to those in need. The boys were taught to open doors for women and everyone was taught to hold doors for those behind you, among other values that were instilled in us as children. But I am afraid that my beloved city of Charleston is loosing those values and it hurts my heart. There is nothing I love and am proud of more than South Carolina's Southern hospitality and manners.

Yesterday I had a follow-up appointment with the orthopedist. My appointment was at 8:30am. When Dru and I arrived at 8:15am, he helped me out of the truck and I hobbled to the door. It was locked. So, back in the truck we went to wait for them to open the doors (it was a cold morning). Luckily we were parked literally right in front of the door so we would see the instant they unlocked it.

Another person pulled up about five minutes later, got out of their car, saw us sitting in the truck, went up to the door and it was still locked. Now, if it was me and had I seen others sitting and waiting, that would automatically tell me that the door is most likely locked. But, that is beside the point. So, this dude goes back to his car to wait.

At 8:27am, another truck pulls up beside us. This man jumps out and walks up to the door after looking at us inside the truck. He tries the door and it is still locked. So he waits. Not a minute later they come and unlock the door. Now, the proper thing to do would be to allow those who had arrived ahead of him to check in first. Did he do that??? NOPE! He went right on in, signed in, and took his seat thus cutting in front of TWO people in line, one of whom is on crutches. And I think he is part of the problem with this country!

Since when is it okay to essentially cut in front of someone in line? Because technically we were in line waiting for them to open the door. It's such bad manners. There was no way I was going to stand outside the door in the cold on crutches for 15 minutes waiting for them to open the door. If it had been me, and in some instances it has been, I would have gone inside and waited until those who had arrived first checked in. That is the proper and Southern thing to do. It just is.

I made sure that this sorry excuse for a South Carolina resident saw me hobble in on crutches and saw the murderous glare I shot him. If I were a hot-tempered person I could very likely have knocked him over the top of his head with my crutch, but I didn't. But everyone who moves here should know that you DO NOT mess with a Southern girl. You will absolutely get more than you bargained for.

I guess it just baffles me that people can be so rude. I was not brought up that way and I am unable to wrap my head around it. I feel like, when you move somewhere different, you should try to embrace the culture instead of rebelling against it. If I moved to Italy don't you think I would try to learn the language and live as the natives do? Of course I would! I would absolutely do as the Italians do. And I think it would be a fantastic learning experience and would help me to grow as a person.

The fact of the matter is that there aren't many native Charlestonians or South Carolinians left in Charleston. That is really sad because Charleston is such an amazingly wonderful place and I don't ever want to leave. You have beach life, city-life and small-town life all rolled into one here. Everything is at your fingertips...with the exception of a Macy's...but I am hoping that will change! I think it is wonderful that people from other cities and states want to experience life here in Charleston and I welcome them to do so, but please don't change our culture in the process!

Hmm...I wonder if maybe I can petition my Congressman to institute a sort of entrance exam for those hoping to move to South Carolina so that they are forced to learn and embrace the culture. What do you think???? Maybe not.


Disclaimer: I DO know that not everyone from other parts of the country are rude. I also know that such people have different values and are not value-less. But living here and seeing it all first hand, I have made general observations that I felt a need to share. I do not mean to offend anyone who does not live in the South. It is just that I love my sweet ole' state of SC VERY much and am proud to live here.


Blair said...

I am so glad you posted this. I live in Charleston as well and I feel like this everday! My husband drove me to work this morning and we got flipped off once, horn honked @ us 3 times, and cut off countless times. I was in a terrible mood by the time I made it to work.
My mother and I were talking about it and we couldn' figure out how Charleston was one of the "friendliest" cities to live in or travel too. It has been a long time since we felt that southern hospitatlity that you are talking about. I had to work in Manning last week, just for the day, and I was blown away by the kindness of others and the warmth I felt in a new place. Charleston USED to feel like that.

Tiffany and the Munchkins said...

It's sad. It really is. And people always remark how badly people drive here but its not the natives because there aren't very many left! It's the transplants. But, I am on a personal mission to revive that southern hospitality that I love so much!

sprinkles said...

I've noticed how people aren't always so polite either. We seem to be getting ruder as a nation.

Nadine said...

Tiffany, you are absolutely right in everything you have said and being a "Yankee" myself I'm in no way offended, because I agree with you 100%! I knew someone way back when who was from the South and was stationed up here in the Navy, and he always remarked on how cold, rude and nasty Northerners are, and it's true! For some reason, we tend to stick to ourselves and it's everyone for themselves. I just love the Southern hospitality with the friendliness and manners and wish that it was that way up here. I've always said to Steve that I would love for us to move down South.

Stick to your guns girl and don't let the Southern hospitality die!

Sharon said...

Good points! I'm from smack dab in the middle- Maryland- but my mom is from Georgia and always taught us how to act. I am always stunned when people don't hold the door for people behind them- and if it's ME that the door is shutting on, I usually say "thanks" as ironically as possible- thanks for NOT holding the door, you jerk! Sometimes people actually turn around and apologize.

I'm on the same personal mission! Bring back good manners!

<3 S