One cultural adventure I had recently is worth repeating. I lost my eyeglasses. I don't need them to see on a regular basis, but my eyes get super fatigued if I have to read or look at a computer screen for very long without them. So I made an appointment with an optometrist to get a new pair.
I walk into the exam room and the Dr. immediately starts chatting me up- if his accent didn't give him away as a native, the conversation quickly would have.
Him: Your name looks familiar... was your husband in here recently?
Him: Are you sure?
Me: Yes (because my husband has a different last name, but I didn't feel the need to go into details on that, as it would surely expose me as a pinko-commie left-wing nut job)
Him: What department are you in?
Him: A guy came in from that department recently...
We converse until we converge on the newest member of our faculty (i.e. not me - yay!)
Him: He did an internship with Exxon... so why is the cost of gas so high?
Me: Well, there are a lot of Chinese people that want to use gasoline like we have been using it all these years.
Him: You know what I think, the government needs to lift the restrictions on offshore drilling so we can go drill these areas where we know there's oil, like Alaska. Maybe there isn't enough, but just lifting the restriction will do something to help lower the price.
Me: (mentally slapping my own forehead) I don't think that's going to help very much. There are 2 billion people in India and China that create such huge demand on a dwindling supply- we just really need to start using less. That's why we just bought a Prius- and I even do research in oil and gas related fields.
Him: I bought a pick-up truck a few years ago, and when I bought it diesel was 99 cents a gallon- now it costs me three times as much to fill it! I do think gas should cost more...
[Me: getting excited- yes! Make the price reflect it's true cost to our society and our environment and encourage people to conserve!]
Him: ...[paraphrasing] so we can make a ton of money off of drilling offshore Alaska.
Somewhere along the line I recited some blurry and some not so blurry letters and got my prescription. Sadly, I could tell he would have the same conversation with me if I walked in 10 minutes later, all ramped up and ready to drill ANWAR so an optometrist in Dixieland can drive his diesel to work his office job for the same price as back in 1999.
Later, he brought up Hillary Clinton as an analogy for how popular culture misrepresents the South. It was a strange example for him to choose, as I am fairly sure he is not a fan of Hillary ("When the media say that half the people like her, they don't focus on the fact that it means half of the people don't like her...).