There are different social occasions which will dictate exactly how you are introduced to someone, but the initial exchange seems to be the same no matter where or how you meet.
Sometimes you may take the initiative to go up to someone you have never met and say Hello. But chances are better that someone will introduce you. The conversation will sound something like this:
“Hey so-in-so I want you to meet someone! This is my friend, co-worker, girlfriend, mom, dad…etc.” Or something like that…..
No matter the reason for the introduction, the first thing you will probably say is:
“Hi, it is nice to meet you.” Then we say, “Where are you from?” We are being polite, but it is what we do. Even if you do not say it in the beginning, the second line will usually come up somewhere in almost every conversation when you first come into contact with someone, provided you do not already have this information.
Why is that? I think it is because we immediately start looking for a way to connect to that person. The other reason may also be to establish our position in society and subconsciously place them in the proverbial food chain. Some of us truly do not mean to do this, but it is the way most of us are wired socially and it is human nature.
We also look for things in common. Other people, places, friends, where we have visited, how many kids we have, where we went to high school and maybe why you are both in that particular place at that particular moment in time.
What I find interesting are the answers to the question: “Where are you from?”
In Kentucky, you will most likely answer with what county you live in, unless you are from one, or near one, of the larger cities like Lexington, Louisville, Owensboro or Paducah. However, we will probably only answer you with a county if you are from the area and not having this conversation in another state. Otherwise, we may just pick the nearest town and say from close by or tell you the part of the state our county lies in. I did not realize this was a common answer until I moved away and then moved back. I am sure it is something that it is not unique to Kentucky, but I can only speak for my home state. After several discussions with fellow Kentuckians, I have figured out the reason we do this. It is because of the size of the towns in most of the counties. One county could have as many as 10 small towns in it with the largest town being the county seat. Unless someone is familiar with Monkeys Eyebrow (yes that is a real town) chances are much better you will be able to place Ballard County than the town. It sits on the other side of Paducah (McCracken County) from Possum Trot, KY (not to be confused with Possum Trot, TX) which sits in Marshall County. So which would you rather say you are from? You always have the choice of telling people you are from Bugtussle, Ordinary, or Krypton and let them try and figure it out, but if I were from Penile, KY, I think I might keep that one to myself and just tell them Jefferson County.
This happens to be true no matter where in Kentucky you are from. Folks in Eastern, Central, Northern and Western Kentucky are all guilty of telling what county they live in or was raised in, just ask ’em!
In Texas, it is a little different. You are either from Dallas, Ft Worth, East Texas, South Texas, West Texas or the Panhandle. If you have the inclination to get more information, they MIGHT tell you a large city like San Antonio, Austin, Houston or El Paso. We have small towns around here too with some really interesting names like Lazbuddie, Bacon, and Gun Barrel. But at least they could agree on something, unlike the towns of Nameless and Uncertain! So far, I have only heard people refer to the county seat town rather than the actual county name.
There are funny names all across the country no matter what state you live in and I know people are very special who can claim these hometowns as the central part of their heritage. It is the little things that make me smile 🙂