The Other

*This is simply an account of a personal experience.  I shall not debate any aspect of politics, religion, or cultural issues on this blog.  Disrespectful comments will be deleted.  Thank you.

 

Not too long ago, I visited a quaint town north of the Rappahannock River in Virginia—a place with lovely architecture, scenic views, upscale shops, galleries, and restaurants.  One day, as I was exploring the town, I decided to go into one of the art galleries.  I entered and exchanged a few niceties with the salesperson. Accustomed to tourists, she asked where I was from.

“Virginia,” I answered.

“What part of Virginia?” she probed.

“I live between Roanoke and Lynchburg,” I said.

To which she responded, “Oh, you’re from the other Virginia.”

Let me just say…..I knew what she meant.  Her tone and facial expression conveyed arrogance and superiority.  It was a comment that carried a negative connotation regarding a particular view of the political, religious, and cultural identities of people living south of the Rappahannock River–what some historians call the “grits line.”

I glanced in her direction and smiled.  Because, y’all know in the other Virginia, many of us are taught the old adage:  “If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all.”  So, I continued to walk around, viewing the artwork silently.  As I made my way through the gallery, these questions crossed my mind. “Is she trying to be offensive? Or, bless her heart, is she merely stupid?”  I asked, because most of us realize that stereotyping an entire region or group of people is not the best way to demonstrate one’s intelligence, education, state of enlightenment….or civility for that matter. Oh, and it’s probably not a good way to sell a painting, either.

Here’s the thing:  Maybe it’s time we reconsider labels and preconceived ideas about one another, and instead, try embracing a little tolerance and civility as well as our shared humanity.  Would it hurt?  We may actually find that we like the “other.”

Yes, I’m from the other Virginia, and I’m just fine about it.  And, it doesn’t have anything to do with politics, religion, or cultural issues.  It’s simply for one reason….it’s home.

 

50 Comments »

  1. That kind of snobbery seems so out of place today. She’s living in another time and place, and it’s not a good one of either. It speaks to her own insecurity, I’d say. Good on you to just walk away. 💖

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Psh, feel better, my mother’s family hails from Bonnie Blue, Virginia in Lee County. That’s coal country. I feel certain that if I tried to reclaim the ancestral home of my grandfather, at best it would be some of that reclaimed wood everyone goes on about. Perhaps enough to build a doghouse. If the clerk has to insult patrons to get that kind of rise, she must feel pretty lowly. Good for you walking away.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Snobbishness is alive and well. I ran into it at a winery not too long ago when I went into their store to peruse the various wines. The young clerk got all huffy when I didn’t express a desire for their most expensive bottle – and nearly exploded when she asked what I normally drink, and I told her (those $5 bins at the local liquor store do come in handy). So, I bought a couple of mid-range wines that she suggested and tried them once I got home – turned out, I actually liked my low-range wines better. Guess I’m just one of those “other” wine drinkers.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Unfortunately, you’re right about snobbishness. And, judging others isn’t ever a good idea.

      I agree. There are many very good wines that are reasonably priced. Anyway, everyone has different tastes. In my opinion, that’s what makes the world interesting. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Lovely photos, Tonya! It’s ‘interesting’ how people’s insecurities, biases, and bewildering comments seem to appear from nowhere, isn’t it? I am still learning how to ‘gracefully’ understand and know it is never about the person who it is being said to; rather, always about the person giving their ‘two-cents’. By the way, I know I’ve said this before, but I utterly love your photos and they always make me feel such calmness. I am so grateful to be following your blog, Tonya! Cher xo

    Liked by 2 people

    • A heartfelt thank you for your lovely and kind comment, Cher. I think you’re exactly right about those “bewildering” comments people make. It’s a lesson I’ve struggled with my whole life; however, with age, I’ve learned to let go more easily.
      Cher, your words about my blog really moved me. I so appreciate your positive feedback. I’m grateful to know intelligent, creative, and wonderful people like you and many of the other bloggers I follow. Thanks so much! 😊💛 xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ah, yes, and don’t think for a minute this is just an “American” problem. We’re in Ecuador now and heard the same from a person living here about others in the country. You are so right: a little tolerance and civility would go a long way.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. First of all this educated me. I’m European (English by birth, French by adoption) and we have our own crosses to bear and like so many we don’t really get the nuances on this continent. I have set myself the task of REALLY learning the USA and your short piece taught me more than I have learned in weeks of trawling books and articles so thank you. Second. It is so sad. Parochial behavior is the root of so much that goes wrong in this world and i think this was a great example. You dealt with the insular bigotry with such class and style and i am VERY happy to be connected to you. I would not, perhaps be so triumphant if the lady concerned was my connection because sadly she is missing a number of points. Which your readers do not need me to explain.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for your kind and supportive comment. You make a great point about this sort of thing happening everywhere. If only we could all realize that our similarities outweigh our differences. Many thanks for your thoughtful feedback, Osyth. 😊

      Like

  7. You are more a lady than she. I have met, and dealt, with all kinds. I find that snobbery isn’t limited to the rich and elegant, I’ve met quite a few poor and unsophisticated snobs as well. I will say, you treated her more graciously than I would have; but, to be sure, I would have left her scratching her head, wondering if she had been insulted. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I’m a pretty patient person with a very long fuse. There isn’t much that can set me off but disrespect, intolerance an attitude of superiority always lights the match. I have no use for that kind of mentality. It’s the kind of ignorance that is difficult to change because it seems to be ingrained into someone’s core. You handled it much better than I would have. Your home is the kind of place is she’ll never really understand or experience.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, I was fairly annoyed when I left the gallery. Unfortunately, this woman’s attitude is one that I’ve come across more than once while visiting this area in the past year. It’s ironic, because many folks in this part of the state view themselves as progressive and tolerant; however, it would seem that they’re really only tolerant of things which they find acceptable.

      That is really nice. Thank you, George. 😊

      Like

  9. Hi Farm Girl! Mercy, it’s been waaaaay too long since I visited! Yep, that woulda been the time for her to clamp her jaw shut, and just smile and nod! (I’m guessing you left without one of her “other” paintings????)
    CAmellia’s Cottage sent me here, and boy am I glad! I had forgotten all about you. And for that, I apologize.
    Congrats on your Blogger Recognition Award!
    Melinda

    Liked by 1 person

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