Monthly Archives: March 2007

Going Native

Upon reaching NYC this week, I went to my favorite breakfast shop on 2nd Ave called John’s, at 44th St. and 2nd Ave., and ordered my usual. As I finished up breakfast, I struck up a conversation with the waitress there who sees me there every time I go there and she is remembering what I always order (it’s because I substitute sliced tomatoes for hash potatoes – kind of weird I know heh).
So I told her my business takes me to NYC a lot and I’m mostly based in California. She was surprised as she pegged me for a native New Yorker. I thought that was funny. It certainly isn’t my accent as I have none, or at least I don’t think so. I probably dress like a New Yorker, and I can be as obnoxious as a New Yorker. Or maybe I just don’t seem like a tourist and just have a comfortable demeanor when I cruise around the city. But I did tell her that I was born in Poughkeepsie, so maybe that’s it…
I get the same reaction from California. When I’m back there, my clothes do change. I am less obnoxious and need to adapt my communication style to the more sensitive, less overbearing one that you find works better out there. Many have told me in the Bay Area that I must have grown up there because of whatever it is I exude when I’m out there.
I also get that reaction from being in Hawaii. My costume changes once more and I’m always decked out in Hawaiian wear. Although I definitely do not talk in the Hawaiian accent, still many think I live there and tell me so when we chat.
Going native is interesting. I like having a mindset which allows me to adapt to the culture of wherever I am but I think it also means I try to intuitively gain the ability to morph my mannerisms, dress, and personality to the people of that place. I don’t act like a tourist and somehow I blend into the environment. It seems that people don’t pay so much attention to you when they see you around, and they accept you more easily when they know you’re a native. It makes them more comfortable to having you around and that’s great.
When in Rome…