When I first moved to Northern Virginia from Michigan, I received a lot of verbal abuse whenever I referred to a carbonated beverage as ‘pop’ instead of ‘soda’. While it may have been done in a teasing fashion, there were times when I felt ridiculed for not adopting someone else’s terminology. It came to a point where I could literally not say ‘pop’ without someone correcting me, as though ‘soda’ was the absolute only term acceptable for carbonated beverages.
This mindset really aggravates me. When I meet people who are so uncultured that they literally believe that their terminologies or beliefs are the only ones that are right, it really grates on me. It just staggers me to think that there are people who are not only content to never explore this huge world they live in, but they aren’t even open to the fact that people are different to what they grew up with.
I like to consider myself pretty cultured. I’ve been to England, Spain, Scotland, Russia and (though I don’t really count it) Canada. I have aspirations of visiting Ireland, Italy….well, anywhere I can figure out a way to. I have a deep curiosity about other cultures and how people live in different regions. When I encounter someone who uses different terminology, even within the states, I don’t correct them and try to shove them into my box of what is right. I learn. I find it interesting.
With an English boyfriend of five years, I have had a great opportunity to learn a whole new language. They call cookies ‘biscuits’, chips ‘crisps, fries ‘chips and don’t even know what a graham cracker is. There was an entire year where I tried to explain to him what an American biscuit was, because he had no equivalent (that we could figure out). Every day was a new opportunity to expand my knowledge base, even if it seemed to be only silly things like what he called his food. I can’t imagine how those years would have gone had we decided to argue over who was right or wrong in calling what, what. How petty and pointless.
My message is this: please don’t be so arrogant as to correct someone who might refer to something differently than you do. People raised in different regions and environments are going to have different terminology and experiences than you. Rather than turn your nose up at your differences, why don’t you embrace the opportunity to widen your own knowledge base? Differences are really awesome and without them, the world would be pretty dull.
I can’t claim to understand a person who is content to live in one place their entire life. I understand that not everyone can afford the opportunities to travel, but I’m talking about people with zero interest in travel. I can’t understand that. I have an inbred curiosity; a belief that travel is more important than having a great job where I can work my life away for a huge sum of monetary gain. I’m not interested in that life. I would rather live on nothing and see all that the world has to offer. When I’ve dedicated my life to adventure, it’s a bother to me to see people who can’t even venture outside of their own mindset, let alone their comfort zone, their state, their country.
Don’t be a close-minded, arrogant fool. Choose to be an educated, well-cultured student of life. And if you find that really impossible, you might want to ask yourself why you’re so…. wrong.
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