Do you follow?
A Country within a County within a State. That's what it seems like sometimes in this part of West Virginia. In a sort of twisted way, I enjoy trying to figure people out. I like to notice body language, differences in accent, and most of all, colocialisms.
We in West Virgina are best I know with the colocialisms! A few that come to mind are:
We don't watch television, we "look at TV" as in
"I hardly ever look at TV"
We don't travel far distances we "go a fur piece" as in
"Dang, her house is a fur piece off the paved road!"
One of the most interesting things that I've noticed in our area is how different the people are if you travel 20 minutes in any direction from Huntington. West Virginia is not as rural at it used to be but small communities are still very much isolated and have their own quirks.
If I drive 20 minutes south of my house the people do an interesting thing. I find it very annoying but at the same time I enjoy trying to figure out why they do it.
The short of it is this:
They MUST figure out how they're related to you. They assume they are related to everyone in some way. They get right down indignant if they can't connect themselves to you in some way. I've even been the target of hillbilly smear campaigns because I'm not "one of them". This all makes me giggle a little inside. What made me think of this is an exchange I had at the library this morning.
A lady stood at the front counter and I was sitting in a comfy chair, knitting and waiting for my kids to get finished with their Spanish tutoring. I can't put my finger directly on it but I knew from whence she came. (I'm trying really hard lately to not end my sentences with prepositions,, bare with me,, I'll be sure to disappoint with more poor grammar in the future.) It's the way she held herself, her subtle accent, and the details that she was giving the librarian (that the librarian didn't need, btw). The librarian stepped back behind the glass to take care of the woman's inquiries. She was taking a while so the lady at the counter turned and looked for someone else in which to converse. (dang, it's hard to not end sentences with prepositional phrases!!) She immidiately zeroed in on me and came over to ask what my kids were doing. She had already ascertained that they were homeschooled and the 2 boys were mine. Now, this wouldn't take a genius to figure out but I know that she'd taken this information from the librarian. This is also a talent that the citizens of this area seem to have. They can ask people things and people will tell them. Now if anyone else asked these same questions, red flags would go off and people would shut down but OH NO,, not these people.
So she comes over and sits beside me and says " I could never homeschool"
I despise this comment. What I'd like to say is "no, you couldn't." but I try to be nice and I say "awhh, yes you could!!!"
She replies (and she'll now be known as SR, local people will immediately be able to assume what area of the county I'm talking about now!) "oh no I couldn't, I couldn't spend that much time with my kids!"
Thus the "no you couldn't"
I shrugged and gave her The Smile. You know the one,, the one that says "no comment". ha ha!
So SR then says (and this is where it gets good) "You look so familiar!!! I know I know you!"
Me- "oh? yeah,, I dunno"
SR- "who's your husband?" (I love the way she assumed I have one.)
Me- "Chris" (if you even ever knew me that should be enough to jog your memory, right?)
SR- "Chris who?"
SR- "What's your name?"
SR- "I know I know you! Do you know Scott Eplin?"
SR "What about Mike Eplin?"
Then she gives me an incredulous look like I must not be from Cabell Co.
SR- "Are you related to the Johnstons?"
SR- "Are you from here?"
Me- "all my life,, right here in Barboursville!"
SR- "Really?" "I thought for sure you'd know Mike, he's your age, he's 40"
wow... that's another story entirely. We'll save that. Don't remind me, ok? I'm NOT 40.
After about 20 more questions like that she started to get annoyed. She could NOT connect herself to me in anyway. So then she started her passive aggressive smear campaign.
"well, I was just curious." " I didn't mean to interrupt your ... whatever it is you're doing there"
Now, know that I was never in any way snotty or mean to this woman. I just wasn't related to her and didn't know anyone she knew! When she determined that I wasn't interested in playing the Incest Game with her she started taking a tone with me!
Oh,, this wouldn't be funny if I hadn't had it happen at least 100 times before! The most favorite conversation of these people is other people. They also like to judge you by who your family is. And people think that the Hatfields and the McCoys are not still alive and well!