I’m sitting in the lobby of a building in Norfolk, Virginia working on my laptop. Some people say that because I am a millennial, I am more addicted to my device–phone, computer, tablet, etc.–than previous generations but I believe it is more dependent on personality and situation than generation. For example, the people I am working with are from a previous generation and use their phones just as much, if not more, than my peers. I have observed that phones are indiscreetly out on the table at dinner. Even on the white tablecloths of fine dining establishments. Said phones are frequently checked, photos snapped—again indiscreetly—of the waitress bringing us our drinks, the food, and the decor. But not by everyone, it is personality dependent.
But I digress. The original intent of this post was to tell you about my observed cultural differences here in Virginia. First off, just about everybody greets you when they walk by. Currently, I get “good mornings” from most people. Also, people stop and just chat more frequently than I find in California. One gentleman just stopped to say “hello, how are you?” and ended up telling me about his life, where he had lived, etc. I don’t know if I can say it is more friendly, but it is certainly more chatty here.
I heard a man say, after checking if the door was functioning properly, “Trust but verify. Just a little Ronald Reagan for you.” Apparently, the door had not been working and then been fixed but this particular gentleman wanted to test it for himself. I really liked that, 1) because I can identify with that behavior and 2) because I like short phrases like that that carry meaning. I looked it up and “trust but verify” actually comes from a Russian proverb, Reagan’s advisor on Russian affairs taught him that during his tenure as president.