Dead Wrong

I’ve always heard it said that southerners are more generous than northerners, but I really thought that was surely an exaggeration. Southern charm, I believed, is some form of manipulation, a way for good ‘old boys and girls to screw you with a smile.

We crossed the line into the south earlier this month and I have got to say it – I was dead wrong. Time after time I have witnessed people go out of their way for no other reason than simple kindness. If it were once or twice, I’d chalk it up to a statistical fluke. But it just ain’t so. Southerners – at least the ones  I’ve met in restaurants, campsites, gas stations, libraries and lumberyards  – are more easygoing and nicer than New Yorkers. Nicer than me!

This is not to say we New Yorkers are horrible. Nope. But what we are (in the main) is a more anxious lot. This leads us – and folks from LA – to be occasionally condescending, impatient, brusque and bullying. Again, this is not all of ‘em, but enough of ‘em to be energetically noticeable.

And that’s the thing. It’s in our bodies. We might try to say and do the right thing, but we are infected with the cumulative, body-based stress that occurs when 8 million people compete with one another almost all the time. It’s not our fault. It just happens in some big cities.

I’m not a sociologist or a psychiatrist. I have no degree or special training to make these broad, sweeping statements, However, I feel it. As soon as I leave NY, my shoulders begin to relax. And this is exactly what happened when we went to the west for one month in August. We FELT FREEDOM from the tension that surrounds every New Yorker we knew. And here’s the truth – when we returned to NY after one month  – the stress came back like a friggin’ tsunami onto our shoulders.

I have a lot of work to do to become kinder. Being here, I’m learning that there are teachers present. Thank God!

My father once said to me these two words about living in Nee York, “Get out.” He had relocated to Texas and found a measure of happiness there he could not find on either coast. For years, I thought, “The old man is just weak. He doesn’t know me!” Again, dead wrong.

May all beings be safe
May all beings be happy
May all beings be healthy
May all beings live with ease

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