I moved to Philadelphia on Tuesday, leaving the West Coast forever or at least until May. It is both a big deal and a big deal (in the sarcastic way) for me, as a native Californian who is not used to things like seasons or just the culture and attitude of the people across the country. Here are a handful of tips that may be common knowledge, but was new to me:
Steamholes here seem to have steam coming out of them, so it’s best to walk around them to avoid burning your foot. Where I come from, manhole-shaped things on the sidewalk generally aren’t walking hazards.
You say course pack, I say course reader. Either way, it’s still an expensive set of photocopied articles that carry little resale value after being used.
Some people take offense when you don’t greet them in the morning. As a grumpy senior citizen trapped in a young man’s body, I think it’s fine to not say hi to people all the time. However, since I would prefer to be in the good graces of casual acquaintances, neighbors and co-workers (actually everybody, I have a giant need for approval) I am obligated to to say something when I see someone. Who knew that avoiding eye contact, wearing sunglasses indoors and always having headphones on would give people the impression that you want to be left alone?
I have a friend (hi Julia!) who hates the phrase, “work hard and play hard,” for obvious reasons: who would want to work hard and play easy? It’s the least unique philosophy ever and it it often used by the most arrogrant, vapid, empty-headed people who are very likely to end up being a subject of one of MTV’s newest and most degrading reality television shows. Gross.
There are a lot of other similar types of language that grate me, the shallow words used to describe oneself, like on a Facebook profile or something.
I like to laugh and to be happy. I love life, friends and having a good time.
No, really. Laughing? What an unusual interest, you don’t find all that many people in the world who find pleasure in laughing. Friends? Who are you, Lisa Kudrow? These are just ridicuously obvious factoids that apply to basically every individual that has ever lived. If that’s all that a person can say about themselves, they must not be very interesting.
I suppose it’s also obvious that these types of phrases are both dumb and annoying. I just think the world would be a better (or more interesting) place if we all just stopped saying things that meant nothing.
On Facebook today, many people seem pretty jazzed that Prop 8 was overturned (for now.)
"I’m proud again to be a Californian," they write.
The Scrooge in me scratches my head because it’s not so much a plus for California as much as it is a reversal of a decision made by around 52 percent of the state’s voters and fueled by millions of dollars from the Mormon church and other conservative groups spent on television ads full of scare tactics threatening the safety of children and other bullshit homophobic propaganda. It’s not as if Californians really had a lot of effort in the proposition being overturned; some people may have supported gay marriage, but very few actually did anything about it. I get why people are happy and that they were perhaps ashamed that our state passed such a proposition in the first place, but I hope everyone isn’t patting themselves on the back for a job well done.
I would say that people should be proud to be Californians if perhaps the proposition never passed, or if instead of banning gay marriage, we as a state passed a law that guaranteed and protected the right for all consenting adult couples to apply for a marriage license.
I’m not the type to quickly identify as being proud of ashamed of being from one place or another, probably because I’m too busy being irritated by what other people do online. I just think the celebration is a little premature and I would rather reserve such joy for when the day when any American can marry the person that they love.
P.S. I would really like to take this time also to rant about how dangerous and ridiculous our referendum system is: if Thomas Jefferson were alive today and he spoke in African American Vernacular English, he’d say, “Y’all is dumb. Why else do you think we be voting on all y’alls behalf? Shit.”