Monday, November 20, 2006

A southern cultuaral experience and American norms

Today I had one of those unique southern American cultural experiences…the gun show.  Four times a year the Wake County Fairgrounds host the Dixie Gun & Knife Show to which thousands of people go.  I went down this afternoon to check it out.  After struggling for quite a while to find a parking place I took my place in a very, very long line waiting to by my ticket.  It was amazing to watch the variety of people waiting to get into an enormous hall full of guns, knives, ammunition and every conceivable accessory and gadget associated with firearms.

This may sound dumb, but what struck me most was how everyone, rich and poor, suburban and more “rednecky” stood in a line waiting to pay their entrance fee.  No one cut in line, no one tried to avoid standing in it. Everyone who arrived found the end of the line and waited patiently for their turn.  Where I live people would have just gathered around the ticket seller and pushed and squeezed until they got their ticket.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stood in line to pay my phone or electric bill and had to throw elbows and dirty looks to keep my place in line.  It’s just American normative behavior to make and stand in lines. 

In America we are egalitarian to a fault.  No one is better or more deserving than anyone else.  Everybody waits their turn.  Oh, of course there are exceptions…but they prove the rule.

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