At the airport gate for my flight north, the cultural division of good manners is terribly pronounced. Smiling and chatty Southerners spill their bags across the aisles, taking over extra chairs for purses and fast food bags, resting their feet on rollerbags in the aisles. They ask each other where they are going and where they’re from, bound to smalltalking it out until they have found a mutual connection.
New Yorkers have considerately tucked their single, black carry-on bags between their knees or under their chairs. Their reading matter and coffee do not take up more than their laps, they avoid eye contact even at high traffic areas, like the passenger outlets.
I am, ultimately, someone who reads with the magazine folded back, to avoid impolitely elbowing the commuter beside me, with who I don’t particularly want to chat. It feels good to be going home.