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Mon Dec 3, 2012, 10:40 PM

A Tucson story

We had to have some work done on the house so we checked into the La Quinta in Marana for the night. I'm one of those social reprobates that still smoke so I was outside enjoying my drug of choice (well, at least one of them) and, of course, there was another social pariah out doing the same thing. As happens in Tucson, conversation ensued. Note to Tuconians, there are parts of the country where this is very unusual. Strangers simply do not talk to each other. Anyway, we got to talking and this guy was from Tucson originally but had gone to live in Orlando for business.

Conversation eventually got around to how different Tucson people are than folks from other areas. He told me that his experience was that if you were waiting in line for something in Tucson, and the counter person asked, "Who is next", in Tucson, everybody in line would defer to the person who had been waiting the longest wheras in Orlando, whoever heard it first would have jumped the line.

Interestingly, I have memories of living in silicon valley during the dot com boom and watching people cross off the names on a restraunt waiting list when the hostess left so they could get served sooner.

The next day, I was at Fry's in the early morning. They only had one checkout station open (I refuse to use the checkout yourself stations for many reasons) and everybody in front of me had a gazillion items in their baskets. I had about five items.. Unobserved by me, they opened another checkout. The lady behind me got my attention and said "Sir, the next station has opened and you should go first!" God I love Tucson!

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Arrow 6 replies Author Time Post
Reply A Tucson story (Original post)
OffWithTheirHeads Dec 2012 OP
Warpy Dec 2012 #1
OffWithTheirHeads Dec 2012 #2
ChazInAz Dec 2012 #3
MiddleFingerMom Dec 2012 #4
Lady Freedom Returns May 2013 #5
grantcart May 2013 #6

Response to OffWithTheirHeads (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 11:08 PM

1. I see things like that here in my very poor neighborhood

I guess people who have the shit kicked out of them by the system every day realize we all need to be nice to each other.

I see line busting and other selfish behavior in the wealthier parts of town where entitlement makes people think they get to be rude to everybody else.

I inherited enough to afford Yuppie City. I'll stay here, thanks, in my shabby but polite prole slum.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #1)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 11:21 PM

2. I'm not quite sure how to deal with that.

i don't think being nice to people is a class thing.

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Response to OffWithTheirHeads (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 11:49 AM

3. Yeppers.

I've noticed that about my fellow Tucsonans, too. Needless to say, I try to participate in the general civility!
My suspicion is that it's a result of the Hispanic and Native American traditions of generosity and civility.
Or maybe just because we're not in Phoenix!

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Response to OffWithTheirHeads (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 11:49 PM

4. I was raised in relatively smalltown Michigan where this was also normal.

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My folks retired to Tucson in 1980 and I started visiting almost immediately.
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I also KNEW immediately that I wanted to move here from the relatively
small Philly bedroom community where I had lived since 1980. I finally got
the chance in 1998.
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Believe it or not, one of the things pretty foremost in my mind as an attractive
aspect of this area was that bus drivers and grocery store cashiers would get
in real conversations with their customers --- sometimes continuing a subject
from the last time they had seen each other.
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Sometimes, folks will get impatient and you can hear them muttering, "C'mon,
c'mon, c'mon c'mon!!!"
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I was always under the impression that they were visiting... or that they had
moved here, but wouldn't really SETTLE here.
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Response to OffWithTheirHeads (Original post)

Wed May 1, 2013, 01:39 AM

5. I will add that people are different here.

I come from one of the cradles of the "Southern Hospitality". But when natives are "nice" to natives we kind of ask "what's the catch?".

Here, I see people nice to each other without "the look". That look that many from SW Mo give one another when one is nice to them.

Another reason You can not melt and pour me out of Southern Arizona. It will be a kicking and screaming fit to leave Tucson (Better be a really good job to make me think about it!).

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Response to OffWithTheirHeads (Original post)

Sun May 5, 2013, 01:59 AM

6. There is something different about Tucson


We were looking at various cities to move to from Yuma to El Paso and parts of New Mexico, but decided to move to Tucson after a weekend of friendly encounters.

I was talking to a long time resident who was pretty observant and he said that what made Tucson different wasn't that people made an opening comment, or like the example above let you go ahead in line, but that after the traditional first exchange of conversation people in Tucson go beyond to 2nd and 3rd exchange and conversations with strangers become commonplace.

The other day I was at a copy shop getting copies made and there was a doctoral student from China who was getting his dissertation printed. I asked a few questions and discovered that he was from Khunming, China. Well that is deep in the interior of China and has been cut off from the rest of China for centuries. I told him that a new major highway has opened up linking Khunming to the ocean. He responded that he didn't believe it was possible because the distances and the mountains were too great.

I explained that it wasn't East but South to Burma and Thailand, a much shorter route. It was just very strange to have a conversation with a very bright Chinese fellow where I was giving him updates on his hometown (he had been gone for 5 years and I happen to own a summer home on the highway). Its just an example of the odd interesting conversations that you can have in Tucson.

I do add this quip when people realize that I am a new resident "Well I have learned one thing about people in Tucson, they are very affectionate about their children and pets but they love their guns." It usually gets a chortle.

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