Friday, August 22, 2008

Upstate vs. Downstate

There is definite reverse snobbery here. Although I have heard my share of upstate jokes, and I'm sure more will follow the longer we are here, but yesterday was an education for us all. Let me explain: We took a ride to pick up our kitchen island from Noah. On the trip, Dan (who graciously was lending his pickup and his strength-more on that later) needed to swing by a farm family to check their beehives - apparently they were not sure if they had a queen or not. So The Bee Guys had a job to do. We stopped at this farm that was mind bogglingly beautiful. I mean the most beautiful farm you had ever seen in your entire existence. It was as if Martha Stewart had been let loose in farm design, and she went to town. I was awestruck. The family does home-schooling, and they have six children, one cuter than the next. The girls in matching jumpers, the boys in matching T-shirts and dungarees. It was picture perfect. The Dad asked the three girls(ages 5-9 approximately) to "entertain" us while the men and older boys walked out to the beehives. Joanne, Lily, Alexa and I were waiting in the field just gawking at the perfectly appointed farm that all the children work on and are obviously and justifiably proud of. The last words the Father said as he walked away were "Learn something about Long Island". "I already know something about Long Island" piped up the oldest of the three girls. "Parts of it are trashy". Well. Joanne, in true trashy Long Island fashion went right back at her - "Some parts of here are trashy too - let's not forget the sofas and refrigerators on the front lawns." It was priceless. Now, of course not all upstaters have furniture and appliances on their lawns, although we know of a few (not us! not us!), but neither are all downstaters trashy. It is simply a matter of preconceived bias. But I had no idea it went both ways. Coming from Long Island (I WAS rooting for Joanne) I felt such a sense of injustice - because THEY HAD NEVER BEEN TO LONG ISLAND. How wrong is that? Now, getting into a bitch fight with a nine year old didn't happen cause we're from Long Island. But it helped. I love Joanne for many reasons, but it is her absolute ability to defend herself (and me) in the process that I love her most of all. She doesn't take nothing from nobody. You go girl. Now the little darling in the jumper was properly "adjusted". But I could tell that she wasn't really buying it. Nor was she terribly interested in learning anything about Long Island. The family was lovely and gracious and we had a nice visit. The barn and "schoolroom" were absolutely magnificent and made me wish I was 9 and being homeschooled - it was that nice. But it kind of left a sour taste in my mouth. A little bit. And it also begs the questionk, aren't we all pre-judging just a bit? Whether it is location or ethnicity, we all have our own preconceived notions about people and places we know nothing about. But now that I have experience in both areas, I feel I am uniquely qualified to make the following observation: Long Island - 1 Upstaters - 0 Noah finished our island, and it is magnificent. We had a day filled with fun visiting all these farm families. It was an education for us all. Alexa thinks she might like an extended visit on an Amish Farm. We're in negotiations for that. Lily is ready to get back to school,and Joanne is hero. What a day.

No comments: