I decided to shuck those blues at breakfast today.
Nirand is up and around. I made him a cup of tea and a bagel with cream cheese. We sat and visited while Bing and Vince cut up vegetables for the crock pot of beef stew.
We are all going to go see this movie today. It was hard finding something we all want to see. I wanted to see The Boy in the Striped Pajamas but Bing vetoed it ("I just don't think I'm up for some downer holocaust movie today...") which made me roll my eyes at her. Other movies were too intense for Liv. We finally settled on that one, although it has gotten horrid reviews.
Bing and I are grousing at each other today. Or I should say that I am grousing at her. She seldom grouses at me. I admit to having days like this, days where every word that comes out of her mouth just irritates me. And on these days, I look at her and wonder why she has to be so fucking picky about movies. She vetoes nearly all chick flicks or films that she thinks are too deep and thinky. She likes action movies almost exclusively, and since we both love movies, we have to take turns picking.
But, it is mainly because of her that I am shedding my blues. Last night, when she got home from the gym, she took one look at my red eyes and asked me what the matter was. I told her that I just had the blues, etc.
She gave me her standard lecture about how I really have little to be sad about. I have so much, really. She's right. But....I resent her telling me so.
And then Nirand was up and dressed when I came downstairs for breakfast and he said he felt so much better and that made me smile. I had been concerned about him. He and I took Socks for a morning walk and he asked me an interesting question.
I was telling him that I had experienced the blues but was determined to put my chin up and stop being so melancholy. He looked at me curiously.
"Is this just part of your personality or is it a prairie people trait?" he asked me.
Nirand has theories about cultures. He has seen so many. He calls people in my neck of the woods prairie people.
I slipped my arm through his and we walked for a bit while I thought about it.
Many friends of mine who live overseas often talk about an american way of thinking or an american outlook. The truth is that americans differ a lot on opinions, etc. But, yes...there are some viewpoints, cliches about certain areas of the country that are relevant.
I live in the midlands, or plains. Sometimes we are known as midwesterners or heartlanders.
And yes, we prairie people have certain characteristics.
We don't usually talk much about how much money we have or make. In fact, it is considered sort of rude to ask questions regarding money.
We tend to be taciturn, quiet. You don't see a lot of frivolity in my neck of the woods. It can be there, diverse personalities abound everywhere, but prairie people tend to be not unemotional, really....just sort of private about emotions. I was raised not to cry in public and I think that is very, very common with people in mid america. You don't often see big displays of emotion for good or bad. We tend to cry in our beds, in our bathtubs, just in private.
We keep our coins in our pockets, for the most part. I know very few big spenders, but know lots and lots of savers. Most of the people that I know, even the wealthy ones, look for bargains and clip coupons. It's just our way.
The larger cities in my area went for Obama in the elections, the small farming towns went for McCain. The farming communities are known for their conservative views. It is very difficult to be different in a small town around here. If you are gay, best not to flaunt it. You could get hurt. In private, of course. No one would think of beating up someone in public. But, in a back yard? Certainly. And, to be honest, I doubt if you would get beaten up, it is more likely that you would simply be shunned. I am not saying that there aren't out gay people in small towns. But, they are not traditionally flamboyant about it. If you are gay, you stay in your closet for the most part. Or if you are the mayor's son or something, well...as long as you aren't wearing a pink suit to the prom, you are okay. Tolerance is there, acceptance, not really.
Any displays of public affection are seen as unsavory. To be honest, it sort of turns my stomach to see someone kissing big large in public. I avert my eyes. It just isn't done much here. And I prefer that since I am not the kind of person who throws my arms around others in public.
Religion is not spoken about much, but nearly everyone goes to church. And in many of the schools, prayers are still said. Not in my daughter's school, certainly, (and frankly I am glad for that) but in many other schools.
That is not to say that rebellion doesn't exist. It does. Sometimes I think that the most hedonistic rebel is one from the prairie. I mean, you are buttoned up so much, so tightly, that if you are a rebel, it must feel absolutely wonderful to let it out.
But you don't see it much.
It is unusual not to know one's neighbors on the prairie. We generally not only know our neighbors, but give them our house keys when we go on vacation so that they can come in and water the plants and bring in the mail. We are a trusting sort of people.
And we embrace our own. We are intensely loyal to other prairie people.
Most people in Nebraska are very supportive of Cornhusker football. We call them "our boys in red" and everyone knows that this means the Huskers. The games are sell outs. We have season tickets because Bing got her masters at UNL. Otherwise, it is pretty hard to get tickets and they are dear. If you have them, you hold on to them. On game days, everyone wears red even if we don't go to the game. And the game is played over the intercom in supermarkets and gas stations, everywhere. If there is a touchdown and you are in aisle two at the grocery store, you clap or do a little dance, maybe slap hands with a complete stranger in the aisle or just smile at them. It is just our way. It is about as wild as we get.
If someone in your family is an alcoholic or a drug addict, you don't share that. And if you know that someone has a brother or whomever who is an addict, you don't ask them how they are doing. It is considered a private matter.
People here still do the spanking thing with their children a lot. That bothers me. But, you don't often see bratty kids in stores. It is out of the ordinary. And even the sulky looking teenage boys will almost always open a door for you if you are female. And call you ma'am or sir. Most of us were raised that way.
This is not to say that there aren't exceptions to every rule. There are many who don't fit the norm. I don't fit the norm. Bing and I are pretty openly gay, and we are lucky in that we live in a fairly diverse part of the city. Some neighborhoods are more open minded than others. There is still a lot to overcome. One of our neighbors told us the other day that he and his wife were concerned when they realized that we were two gay women with a child. But, after they met us and got to know us, they were fine with us. That is sort of the way if works for most of us who live in red states. And the more people who overcome their prejudices after meeting us, the better. My hope is that when Liv is my age, it will be no big deal anymore. Fingers crossed.
I told this all to Nirand and he smiled and nodded. He has lived so many places and seen so many cultures, nothing really surprises him. But, he has wondered why we live here.
"I think you are part of your environment but also just you," he told me.
And I suppose he is right. We are all products of our family, our community, our school, our workplaces, our country.
What is it like in your part of the country or outside of the united states? I am curious. Any quirks that are common in your neck of the woods?