I've been following a line of posts at Pineapple Girl: Melee on the topic of Manners, Geographical -- how people from the South act differently from those damn Yankees from places like New York. I'm developing a real liking for Pineapple Girl that I'm cultivating slowly, but this inspired me to send her the following.
I've been enjoying the back-and-forth conversation on Southern Manners, and thought I'd toss in my two cents. You might have a door you want to penny-wedge.
I live in Florida. Central Florida, not too far from Disney. I was born here (before Disney) and grew up here, with frequent visits to the Ashville NC area. Central Florida, however, is not really The South, despite geographic evidence. It is Ohio and Pennsylvannia and Quebec and several Latin American countries and some parts of Asia. Having so many theme parks move in to what was once cattle ranches and citrus groves does make for some interesting exchanges. I've gotten to observe a lot of different types of manners. Years of such observation have led me to conclusions thusly:
Brazilians are the nicest, most polite people individually or in pairs, but are herds of maurauding cattle in large groups following a tourguide flag. I'm talking about being actually run over. Foot prints on your head.
People on vacation feel highly entitled. THEY are on vacation. YOU, who live in the area, are obviously supposed to cater to THEM. Even if you don't work in the place where they are waiting to be served.
Being native to the area means you are supposed to be up-to-date on the housing market for at least a four county area. You should be able to reel off important details such as distances to shopping and local activities for seniors while waiting in line to pick up your lunch. Wearing a gold monogrammed blazer and earning a commission is irrelevant. Don't you LIVE here?
You have to know SOMEONE who works at (theme park) who would be willing to wait at the gate to sign in a total stranger for free/give them discount tickets/sneak them in the back way. You'll do this because you are Southern and therefore bound by oath to display Southern Hospitality.
No matter how pure your elocution, how dulcet your voice, how careful your pronounciation, or how cultured your tones, you will still be told you "talk like a redneck", "have the Deepest Southern Accent" (in an characature Southern Accent), or speak "All Southern Fried" and they can't understand a word you are saying. You are not allowed to smack these people across the mouth. People from Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, or the Florida Panhandle area will ask if you are from Ohio.