Susan Dennis (susandennis) wrote,
Susan Dennis

So Susan, What do you consider to be your culture, and how do you feel about it?

The Internet says culture is: the beliefs, customs, arts, etc., of a particular society, group, place, or time.

Defining my culture is pretty squishy. But I do understand it in terms of what makes me comfortable. I recognized it the minute I got to Seattle. I lived in a lot of places with a lot of different cultures. I saw great things in all of them and really irritating stuff, too.

But, when I got to Seattle, all of a sudden everything clicked. It was just the smallest things, like conversations overheard on the bus, or casual conversations between people who aren't fast friends.

When you met someone in the South, you introduced yourself by explaining what church you belonged to (or at least what denomination of Christianity you were) and who your Daddy was (or family).

In the Northeast it was more where you lived and what you did for a living.

In the Midwest, they were back to family, heritage, with a small side of religion.

In Seattle, they just want to know about you. Who are you. What makes you happy. What makes you a good person. What makes you. Where you work, where you live, who your family is, what your religious are spiritual beliefs are... all that is fodder for far more intimate conversations than casual.

And people are, generally, far more respectful of differences and peculiarities. In a lot of Seattle situations those peculiarities and differences are celebrated and cherished.

Probably the most defining moment of my culture happened when I had lived here only a year. A friend was visiting and we had been touring the Seattle Center the park where the Space Needle is. We were sitting on a grassy area next to a sidewalk just resting and chatting. A very unkept, slovenly guy ambled by. I'd say he was early 20's and looked like if he had any money on him, it was a dirty crumpled one dollar bill.

We saw him spy a $20 bill on the sidewalk. He picked it up and looked at it and looked at us and asked 'Did either of you drop this?' We said no, it wasn't ours. He stopped and thought and then said 'oh, ok. I guess I'll go find someone who needs it.' And off he went - the bill in hand, ready to be gifted.

When someone asks me what I like about Seattle, the first answer is the weather. But after that it's the culture. It's the mores. What is important to the people around here is the same stuff that is important to me.
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