Monday, July 13, 2009

MHC is going adventuring...

Although my heart adventures on Kenyan plains, Italian countrysides, Grecian ocean towns, South American towns in tropical places, or Nepalese villages clinging to the sides of steep snowy mountains, it appears that my next adventure will be to the wilds of Baltimore. In a way very different from here, it has a spot in town called "Little Italy". Culturally it is a galaxy away. I remember being there before and feeling like there were all these social rules that I didn't know, but that were so normal to the people ther that they couldn't even list them or explain them. Few people are capable of explaining the mores of their own culture. They simply ARE. You do things because THAT IS WHAT YOU DO. You don't do certain other things because EVERYONE KNOWS IT'S RUDE. Why it's rude no one has to think about or describe because everyone knows it already. There is a shared vocabulary and a shared set of rules.

When Steve and I got married, we joined those sets of rules and expectations, or rather we clashed them. You don't ask about money, how much things cost, what people make, how they financed their house...why? Because it's rude. Steve came from a culture that always asks. It is not considered rude. He comes from a yelling culture. I come from a never yell culture. He comes from a culture that conforms in dress, I come from a culture that has minimal influence over such things.

It took me years and years to figure some of these things out. Even longer to begin to explain them. Why is my culture so private about money and salary? Because we all negotiate our own pay and benefits and often work in companies where the discussion of salary is forbidden in our contracts. Why his isn't private? Because his culture is a union culture. Everyone knows what everyone makes. It is a public negotiation.

I come from a family that speaks one at a time. Steve's all talk at once. What once seemed terribly rude now seems just different.

And so, Mountain Home Companion is going east. Heading to a culture very different from my own, where there is no privacy because there is no space to be alone. But it is also a place that shows movies in the middle of the city and people sit on lawn chairs in the open air to watch. It is a place where people live their entire lives within a 1-2 mile radius, with an occasional trip to the beach or Atlantic city thrown in. It is a place where people don't know the towns and hamlets 3 or 4 miles up the road, but they know every person on their block. It is a place where most people (it seems) belong to community pools. Summer is so terribly hot and muggy and everywhere is crowded.

This time I'd like to take a trip up the coast in fall and see the fabulous fall colors. I'd like to visit Amish country and visit all the local fairs and outdoor markets. I was so terribly scared when I was there before. Scared and alone and lost. This time I think I'll get a GPS system. If I know what direction I'm heading, I never get lost. The lack of landmarks drove me nuts there before. And this time I'll make sure I get to places where I can see the sky so I don't go stark raving mad.

In a few weeks I'll be watching "Under The Tuscan Sky" in Little Italy. Doesn't that sound like fun?

3 comments:

flowergirl said...

It sounds terribly exciting for the open-minded adventurer in you. It sounds like a new beginning--and God knows you need one. It sounds refreshing and peaceful and loving, even a bit of boring in a wonderful sort of way. But, Kim, it's also sad as heck to a friend who might just want a hug now and then from the best all-decked-out-in-green Sunday morning singer CCR has ever had. The "cleaver" one, the one who is sarcastic and brilliant and terrific. Praise God for other ways of communication besides the Pony Express, b/c I want to hear about your adventures, the yelling and quiet clashing together and all those other things like success and peace, happiness and unstoppable laughter. Never bye...

flowergirl said...

It sounds terribly exciting for the open-minded adventurer in you. It sounds like a new beginning--and God knows you need one. It sounds refreshing and peaceful and loving, even a bit of boring in a wonderful sort of way. But, Kim, it's also sad as heck to a friend who might just want a hug now and then from the best all-decked-out-in-green Sunday morning singer CCR has ever had. The "cleaver" one, the one who is sarcastic and brilliant and terrific. Praise God for other ways of communication besides the Pony Express, b/c I want to hear about your adventures, the yelling and quiet clashing together and all those other things like success and peace, happiness and unstoppable laughter. Never bye...

Kim said...

Am I supposed to guess who you are flowergirl? What a lovely thing to say, by the way. Just remember this isn't forever.