Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Utah Culture Shock, Part 1 of 3

After growing up in Southern California, I moved with my family to Utah at age ten in August 1977, trading a glorious ocean view out my bedroom window for mountains I couldn’t see from my basement bedroom window. More than thirty years later, I think I’m still trying to get over the culture shock! Here are some memories, which I’ll spread out over three blog posts:

As soon as fall came, not only was real autumn weather a pleasant surprise, but I couldn’t believe how big deer hunting was. I had not been aware that people still hunted in this modern day and age, and yet in Utah everyone seemed to be totally into it. I was somewhat interested and envious, but I also felt that it was kind of a hillbilly-ish thing to do. (I still never have been deer hunting, and I would probably go if someone invited me. But I have been jackrabbit hunting one time.)

My first week of school in Utah, a kid named Troy came up to me and told me I wasn’t wearing the right pants. Then he pointed down at his H.A.S.H.-brand jeans with the bell-bottom legs and copious golden stitching. I thought they were ugly but also wished I could buy some; for some reason, I had bought only corduroy pants that year. This was my first exposure to Utah trendiness, which in some ways is more intense than anywhere else. Personally, I think it’s a cultural extension of Mormon conformity mingled with pride-cycle materialism.

Tomorrow: Going with each other, sluffing, sports, and school lunch

1 comment:

Sarah Empey said...

Cousin, how on earth do you REMEMBER all that stuff?? All I remember about 7th grade was that I kissed the cutest boy in the whole school (Shhhh, that's on the low down) and some really tall cowboy girl with permed hair and fluffy bangs didn't like me and kept trying to push me into the lockers. Maybe because I swapped spit with her crush. Hmmmm, I'll never know.