Staying Southern

Today is Flu Shot Day at work for me, and I jumped on the bandwagon to get one.

(Sidenote: It may sound terrible, but a decent portion of my rationale to do this was getting away from my desk for a bit. On the necessity side, I've already been sick three times between the end of summer and about two weeks ago, so I figured the darn shot couldn't do me any worse.)

I've always avoided the flu shot in the past because I typically get sick once when the weather gets cooler, and then that's it. Well, between my mom's persistence each year and the fact that I work at a childrens hospital this flu season, I thought I'd take the plunge and get the shot. And I'm not afraid of needles, so that wasn't the issue. That's not to say that I jump at the shot of being stuck, but y'all catch my drift.

Around lunchtime, my coworker and I headed over to face the flu. We filled out our little employee survey and walked straight up to the nurse station.

Now, let me preface the remainder of my story by saying that I love when my Southern-ness comes out in my speech and I am 150% confident that I have the grace and presence that I have today because I was raised in the South. No matter how long I may live away from Texas, I will say "y'all" until the day that I die. My mama and daddy raised me to be respectful to others, always saying "Yes ma'am/sir" and "No ma'am/sir," whether it's to a teacher, a friend's parent, or a worker at the Taco Bell drive-thru-- every single person deserves respect. When we would visit my dad's side of the family when my brother and I were growing up, we would always be full of good manners and pleases and thank yous. While the adults admired it, our cousins constantly poked fun, saying that we were "sucking up" and such. No matter to us-- we were from Texas and proud of it, y'alls and all.

And seriously, cousins-- graciousness and good manners are going to get you a heck of a lot farther in life than your Yankee-born bluntness and rudeness have thus far proven to help you.

As my junior high school English teacher always said, "I digress."

One of the first big culture shocks for me when I moved to Boston was the extreme lack of hospitality and manners. Seriously. You would have thought that a good portion of these people had been raised by heathens, as my Aunt Linda would say. No politeness, no manners, no kindness without wanting reciprocation, no holding doors open for women or giving a lady your seat on the train... as I said, I'm from Texas, where ladies and gentlemen are born and bred, so this was quite the surprise. There have been times when I've had people here straight-out tell me to NOT call them ma'am because it makes them feel old. Hmph.

So I sit down in my chair for the shot and the nurse is going over my little employee questionnaire:

"I see you work in ____ building and this is your ID number?"
"Yes ma'am."
"Okay, and this is your first time getting the flu shot, correct?"
"Yes ma'am, it is."
*explains procedure*
"Now do you understand the process?"
"Yes ma'am, I do- thank you!"
"Hm, you must be from the South, huh?"
"Yes ma'am, I'm from Texas."
"Yeah I figured with all of the "yes ma'ams". We need to teach you to talk like us-- 'Pahk the cah in the Hahvahd yahd." *laughs*

Um, no ma'am, I would rather die than have those words naturally come out of my mouth. The Boston accent may be attractive in some ways and interesting to hear, but to speak it will be the day I die. I'll hold on to my y'alls and ma'ams, thank you very much. Before my mama panics, I was very polite and told her that I would never stop with my "Southern speak" and she laughed again.

You can take a girl out of the South, but you cannot ever take the South out of the girl.

Now Y'ALL have a lovely day, my friends!

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