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Why big city people are rudely abrupt to small town people in Phoenix, Arizona


I've lived in big cities, and I've lived in small towns. And I carry with me some of the attitudes of both places. And since I have that perspective, I can explain why big city people always seem to be in such a "gul-darned hurry" if you're a small town person. In fact, big city people are often rudely abrupt. If you've lived in a big city, you know why, and if you haven't, it may have puzzled you. I'll see if I can explain without hurting anyone's feelings.

I love LA, and visit it often, but I gotta admit that it's crowded. Everywhere I went there was a line of people, lines at the gas stations, lines in the grocery stores. It's crowded, crowded, crowded. Trying to do something as simple as buying milk at a grocery store can be terribly time-consuming. I tried to figure out ways to avoid the crowds, but in Los Angeles you really can't. There's traffic at 3 am. All of the restaurants are always packed, you always have to wait, and wait, and wait.

If you follow me here, you understand that wherever you go, there's always someone waiting in line behind you. And while they're not in any particular "gul-darned hurry", they've probably been waiting for quite a while. And so the most courteous thing you can do is to just keep moving. Standing around in the way, chatting with the cashier, that sort of thing, is just plain rude, and the people behind you are just hoping that you'll move on. So other than a quick "good morning" and "thank you", big city people tend to be very abrupt.

On the other hand, there's small town behavior, where that kind of abruptness is seen as rude. So when I moved back to Phoenix from Los Angeles, I had to learn to slow down a bit. This ponderously slow pace took it out of my nervous system, but I told myself to take a deep breath, and get with the program. Phoenix isn't nearly as crowded as Los Angeles, and many times I've been the only person at the checkout. To this day, I turn around and look behind me in amazement - there's no one standing behind me! I've learned to talk a bit about the weather, do some small talk, you know real small town stuff, which is nice.

I'll be visiting LA next week, and I'll switch my mind into big city etiquette. When I see a door, I'll walk through it, I won't stand there getting in everyone's way. I'm not really going to be in any kind of "gul-darned hurry", I'll just move with purpose, the way that people change lanes on an LA freeway. When I get back to Phoenix I'll switch to small town etiquette. I can do that, and I love both places.

Image at the top of this post: Flying over Phoenix in the 1950s. Some people say that it was a small town then, and I say that it still is.

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