Sunday, December 18, 2005

Subtle Differences

As a southerner living in the north, I have an overbundance of conversations about differences between here and home. People are always interested in knowing how New York City compares to Arkansas. And while the differences are very apparent to me, it is exceedingly difficult to define them to my northern friends.

I can tell you that in Arkansas I can do many things I can't do here: turn right on at a red light, spend $500 on a spacious one bedroom apartment, or be on time everywhere I go. And here in New York City I can do many things I can't do in Arkansas, such as walk to the grocery store and hear at least three different languages spoken in conversation by passersby or spend the summer going to a different street festival every day.

And some differences are all in the language. For example, in Arkansas I stand in line, while in New York I stand on line. And in Arkansas I've been reading since I was four, while in New York I've been reading since I'm four.

But today, in a conversation with my brother, I discovered possibly the ultimate example of the subtle differences. I was telling him about how great my experience was with my new eye doctor. My brother and I share a hatred for the portion of your yearly eye exam in which a puff of air is blown directly into the eye. I told my brother that my new doctor had a computerized thing I looked into which showed a picture of a green meadow, blue skies, and a bright red house. The picture kept going in and out of focus, and the computer mapped my eye as my eye responded to the changing picture, making it unnecessary to have that annoying little puff test.

My brother told me that his new doctor in Arkansas had the same thing. But his doctor's was a little different. The picture my brother was looking at didn't have a red house, it had a red tractor. Maybe the New York City eye would never detect the tractor in the first place? Or maybe New York City doctors don't know what a tractor is and would have to give directions to the patient as "Look at the red thingy in the middle there." Anyhow, now I'm definitely interested in learning what other red objects are found in this test in other areas of the country...

1 comment:

Mom said...

You have been in New York for much too long. $500 will get you a spacious TWO bedroom apartment or a whole house!