First, I would like to dispel a few common myths. I do wear shoes everywhere I go. I don?t live on a farm. I don?t have sex with my siblings ? I don?t even have sex with my cousins. I don?t grow tobacco or marijuana. I have never appeared on an episode of Springer. And yes, for god?s sake, I shower.
Why, pray tell, am I sharing these facts about myself? I have the fortune of being from Kentucky, the Switzerland of the United States, the home of the greatest two minutes in sports, the maker of the Louisville Slugger baseball bats and, of course, the state most economically dependent on the sales of tobacco. If you are wondering why I came to Rochester, N.Y., your guess is as good as mine. But I think I?ll just leave it at having something to do with the appeal of this school.
I am a freshman and had to go through a week of orientation telling everyone I met that I am ?Katie from Kentucky.? The following week, upon meeting all of the upperclassmen, I again had to introduce myself, this time with my established nickname, Kentucky. I am amazed at how original some people can be.
A lot of the people I have met here find it strange and intriguing that they now know someone from Kentucky. A couple people even asked me, ?Where exactly is Kentucky?? Apparently geography isn?t a required class in the New York State school system.
I thought that upon my coming here I would discover how New York isn?t so different from Kentucky, that people here have a lot more in common with me and ?my people? than they think. I thought that my peers here were just giving me a hard time about being from the South because of anti-redneck sentiment and negative propaganda that the entertainment industry feeds people about my home.
My goal upon arrival in Rochester was to be the Billy Graham of the Kentucky gospel. I wanted to spread the word that we Kentuckians aren?t so Southern and that even if we are, so what? Southerners aren?t so different.
What a huge mistake I made. I realize now that even though I consider my hometown of Louisville to be part of the Midwest, that doesn?t matter to y?all, I am still a southerner from Kentucky. And you are absolutely right, I do do things differently.
At home, I waited in lines at the grocery store for up to an hour without so much as an impatiently tapping foot. Here, a five minute wait at Wegman?s seems like the end of the world to you people. In the South, we don?t necessarily talk slower, but we generally do live slower. There isn?t as much of a need to rush from place to place. The slow-paced life contributes to what people call ?Southern Hospitality,? or just everyday friendliness. Waiting in the grocery line becomes a social activity. Strangers spark up conversations and lend each other change. Life up here, not to mention life in New York City, can get overwhelming for a Southerner.
And don?t get me started on the weather. In Louisville, you can?t even find a winter coat that would last a Thanksgiving in Rochester, not that I have had the pleasure of experiencing one yet. I guess I?ll just have to wait and see.
Rubin is a freshman and can be reached at email@example.com.