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Sep 8, 2012

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Auburn, AL

Northerners -vs- Southerners

I have always lived in Texas, and I recently traveled to Seattle, Washington, and spent some time there. I recently finished graduate school, and traveled up there to see if I wanted to move up there permanently. That was a bad idea! It is my understanding that the Pacific Northwest is populated largely by descendants of people who came from New England and others areas of the North. I was surprised by the differences between Washington and Texas. I noticed that most things were nicer in Seattle than Texas. For example cars driving on the freeway were generally new and in good condition, buildings were modern, elaborate and well designed, and people generally wore nice clothes, were well groomed, and looked intelligent. Driving through Seattle, I never saw any area that was run down or looked poor. It was odd, because I would go into a grocery store or coffee shop, and the person behind the counter seemed smart (and likely had undergraduate degree.) This is not always the case in Texas (I am not trying to be snobby). Also, I know that many areas of the North, including Washington, have a higher HDI (Human Developmental Index) than many areas of the South. The HDI is a measure of things including general education of the population, access to healthcare, per capita income, and the amount of income inequality in a population. I think this was actually somewhat intimidating. In Texas I got used to some people being better off than me and some being poorer, but here it seemed like everyone was better off. I asked myself, if people with undergraduate degrees were working at grocery stores and Starbucks, what happens to the people without undergraduate degrees? Now I would like to mention some of the negative things I witnessed. I got a strong negative vibe from people. I was really astounded by how vile and awful many people were. I noticed that people treated each other in a completely different way compared to the ways in the South. There was much more conflict in the way people interacted with each other, and people were often screaming at each other or in a state of verbal combat. People were often engaged in some sort of contest for who could say the smartest thing or the best thing. What is causing these problems? Is it genetic? Cultural? I don't know. I applied to a few jobs up there and in dealing with the people, there were a number of times when a big Confederate flag popped up in my head! I am proud that my great X3 grandfather fought for the South, against these people, and may have caused some harm to some of these people's ancestors. Also, I noticed that there was an overall puritanical/religi ous vibe present that is not present in the South. The South may be the "Bible Belt" but no-one ever tries to force anything down your throat (including religion) down here and things wouldn't go very well for someone who goes around down here doing that. Several times, when I mentioned I was from Texas, people would say condescending comments, like their way of living is much better than mine. I say, live and let live. Oh well, I think the message from this writing is that it is important to do what feels right, and if it doesn't feel right, get out. Needless to say, I came back to Texas.  (Sep 9, 2012 | post #163)