How to Start a Conversation: Georgia-Style

Dad's LurkingI 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;-)

  1. Skip the line with the teenage grocery clerk. Go for the 50ish clerk instead.
  2. Go to a museum and stand by yourself waiting for the educational movie to start.
  3. Buy an armful of small items at that museum’s gift shop, then pay with a credit card.
  4. Pretend you can’t get the automatic sink to turn off in a public loo.
  5. Order take-out for ten at a sit-down restaurant, then carry the food to your car by yourself…in one trip.
  6. Make eye contact with everyone with a smile & nod.
  7. Accept the offer of “more sweet-tea?” even though you’ve got Diet Coke in your glass.
  8. Wear a family-reunion-style t-shirt (with your name on it), then wander around looking lost.
  9. Ask for soda-pop at someone else’s cook-out–especially while wearing your reunion t-shirt.
  10. 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;-)



One thought on “How to Start a Conversation: Georgia-Style

  1. I bet there are great stories that go with those tips. I can’t wait to hear all about them.Tonya

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