I should have been a cultural anthropologist. I constantly find myself dissecting the rhythms of local speech and analyzing cultural behavior every time I travel. Yesterday’s experiences at the beach, at the marina, at the school Karl administrates, etc. seemed so disparate that I wouldn’t be able to post today. But then the common thread hit me–an epiphany while I was steeping my tea looking out over the low-tide marsh with egrets skimming the surface in search breakfast: CONVERSATION.
In case you ever plan to visit Georgia alone–without the benefit of a large family bubble to satisfy your social needs–I’ve listed below ten sure-fire ways to spark up conversation with local strangers. These tips cover experiences from our entire week (both lacking in & abounding with stranger-conversation). If any particular tip strikes your fancy, drop me an email and I’ll tell you the whole story. WARNING: do not follow these steps if you are under the age of 18 or have a pre-existing medical condition;-)
- Skip the line with the teenage grocery clerk. Go for the 50ish clerk instead.
- Go to a museum and stand by yourself waiting for the educational movie to start.
- Buy an armful of small items at that museum’s gift shop, then pay with a credit card.
- Pretend you can’t get the automatic sink to turn off in a public loo.
- Order take-out for ten at a sit-down restaurant, then carry the food to your car by yourself…in one trip.
- Make eye contact with everyone with a smile & nod.
- Accept the offer of “more sweet-tea?” even though you’ve got Diet Coke in your glass.
- Wear a family-reunion-style t-shirt (with your name on it), then wander around looking lost.
- Ask for soda-pop at someone else’s cook-out–especially while wearing your reunion t-shirt.
- Wear a Boston Red Sox baseball cap with an “I [heart] New York” t-shirt.
Quotes of the Day:
Sorry to disappoint, but Megan and Kurt were mild-mannered yesterday. And Ian’s quote is best seen rather than heard. We’ll embed it if we can get YouTube to work. But both kids protested & both parents celebrated when I read the following quotes from the 1701 publication entitled “The School of Manners: Rules for Childrens Behaviour” that I picked up at the Fort Frederica:
Approach near thy Parents at no time without a Bow.
OH, and this one:
Ask not for any thing, but tarry till it be offered thee.
You can imagine the reactions;-)