As noted in my previous post, I’ve been doing quite a bit of traveling. It has been exhausting and I look forward to being home, but one thing that just about any kind of travel gives you is a different perspective and exposure to different cultures. Even in this "United" country of ours, a short plane ride can land you in the middle of somewhere that can be as different as a foreign country.
One interesting observations I’ve made over the last few weeks is the number of "sub cultures" that exist and make up the threads of our larger cultural tapestry. Some examples:
Bikers – a dinner at Quaker Steak & Lube happened on bike night and it was interesting to see the various people who are into the biking "thing" and the wide spectrum of people that it attracts. There are people who are clearly into the biker image – the stereotype that probably a lot of non-bikers have: tattoos, leather, lots of drinking and partying and kind of a crude attitude. However, most people there were clearly not full-time bike gang members, but rather people who lead rather quiet normal lives but love the freedom of the open road that is afforded only on a bike. Then there were the "crotch rocket" fans, juiced by the speed.
Iced Tea Drinkers – Yeah, I know this is weird one, but bear with me: while in the Harrisburg, PA area, I found out just how fanatical people are about their iced tea: at a local Wal-Mart Supercenter, they had THIRTEEN DOORS of prepared iced tea in the refrigerated section. That is thirteen refrigerator doors full of gallons, half-gallons and single serves of prepared iced tea, with all sorts of flavors, from traditional lemon flavored to my new favorite, southern style sweet tea, which is a new addiction of mine.
Business travelers – While staying at a Holiday Inn Express in the middle of the Poconos (the nicest Holiday Inn I’ve ever stayed at, BTW), they had a complimentary "Manager’s Reception" with an open bar and grilled hamburgers and hot dogs. As I looked around I saw that I was surrounded by road warriors, with their cell phones, Palm Treos and/or Blackberry hand-helds attached to their belts. They wore clothes that were easy to press in the hotel rooms – no button down Oxfords here – and exchanged bad jokes and travel war stories. I’m starting to identify with them…
BBQ fanatics – I’m one of them and at the Harpoon New England BBQ Championships, I was exposed again to them. Its not just the competitors, but the general public as well. The response I typically get when I say that I’m a certified BBQ judge is remarkable. People love barbecue and are quite passionate about it.
Sports car fanatics – Two weekends ago I was with Meghan visiting some friends of hers and bore witness to someone going to a "Trans Am Meeting" and saw first-hand the gathering of Corvette enthusiasts. I know that people were fans of such sports cars, but until you see someone’s house with dozens of trophies won for their show car and dozens of cars gathered in one spot driven by people wearing Corvette-themed shirts and hats, you don’t really get how passionate they can be.
That is all I can think of now, though I’m sure I’m missing some.
Hopefully they will come to me as I start to get back into keeping this blog up-to-date again!