Everybody keeps telling me I’m in for “culture shock” after moving back to Birmingham from New York City. That isn’t quite the right phrase though, since I have a pretty good idea of what cultural differences to expect. After all, I’ve spent far more of my life so far in Alabama than in New York. Sure, I will drive my car more, and it will be easier to find parking when I do. Sure, political attitudes tend to be different, and I expect that will challenge me to be more politically active, like I was in high school and college.
Other than those things, I plan to surround myself with the same types of artists and weirdos with whom I surrounded myself in New York, which should keep me a little insulated from this “culture shock” people are talking about. There is a thriving and active creative community here, and if anything, it’s more accessible than such communities in NYC. I don’t expect I will get bored.
On a similar note, there isn’t as much to do on a given night here. In New York, there was so much to do all the time, I often didn’t do anything. There were a lot of things I missed because they were prohibitively expensive or because my time was already spoken for. Here, I’ll have fewer choices, but I think I will probably actually DO a lot more stuff.
What else? The college football worship? Pretty easy for me to ignore, though I continue to find it amusing when dudes wear their Crimson Tide golf shirts to nice restaurants. Hunting and fishing culture never bothered me, and maybe I’ll have some chances to eat fresh venison from time to time. Maybe people are talking about racism. I saw more overt racism playing out on the streets of Manhattan and Brooklyn than I’ve ever experienced in the South. Yes, there are still old school racists here, but it’s rare for me to come across them these days in public.
And need I mention, for the umpteenth time, how delicious Chick-fil-a is?