I run into random people all the time. Most of these people I will carry on a conversation with for about ten minutes and then never see them again. Who hasn't had one of those small talk encounters with a stranger on a bus or plane? There's a chance many of you have not and I'm just a small-talker.
Most of these encounters take place for me on planes. It seems like sitting three inches away from someone for an extended period of time forces these social encounters to occur. When the conversations start, one of the first questions always asked is "Where are you from?" This has honestly been the hardest question for me to answer, as I'm sure it is for the several other million transplants out there. Sure I live in Chicago but it's not where I'm from. So a lot of times, I just answer either Kentucky or Chicago just to see how people respond.
Yes, people do treat you differently. It's sad but true.
It's funny when I tell people I live in Chicago, they talk to me like I'm an educated adult. Throw a job title out there and it's like they take what I say seriously. However, if I mention that I am from Kentucky it's like my IQ has gone down a few ticks to them. They talk to me differently. Like I'm not completely caught up with the rest of the world.
Why is that?
It's especially funny to see the looks on peoples' faces when I tell them about living and working in marketing in Chicago and then I drop the "...but I'm originally from Kentucky" bomb on them. I always receive this slightly puzzled look followed up by the question "How in the world did you end up here?" It's almost like they're surprised that Kentucky kids can throw on a pair of shoes and take on big kid jobs in big scary cities.
Why does this shock people? It's not like Kentucky is completely backwoodsy. Our basketball team can beat your basketball team. We have the Kentucky Derby. Louisville boasts the world's choice of baseball bat AND the largest collection of the Royal Armouries outside of Great Britain. We are the only state that didn't win NOR lose the Civil War. Johnny Depp was born in my hometown. My college led the way in advertising by having the ONLY for-profit, full service ad agency in the nation. The first hand-transplant, a scientific medical miracle, was performed in Kentucky.
So why are you surprised that a Kentucky boy who's stared down bears on trail runs, hiked up mountains, spent summers fishing out on the lake and at church picnics would move out to the big city to take a big kid job?
I reckon they're just surprised I would leave such a cool place.