Musings: The Irish Way

I love LA. I really do. I love going to school there, and I will most likely end up living there one day. It is exciting and vibrant and the perfect place for me to flex my creative muscles and make a life for myself in the industries I am passionate about. I would not trade my life in LA for anything. But that being said, one of the things I miss most about my life back in Texas is the people. Don’t get me wrong—LA, and USC especially, has been extraordinarily kind to me in the people department. I have met some of the most amazing people there and have made friends that will be by my side for the rest of my life. But in the general sense, there really is no comparison between the people in Texas and those in LA. Texans are just…nicer. In Texas, Southern hospitality permeates every aspect of peoples’ lives. You walk past someone on the street, and you smile. You put your blinker on in rush hour traffic, and someone lets you over. It’s refreshing and uplifting, and though I adore LA, I do miss the friendliness of my Texans back home. Now that I have reaffirmed my affinity for southern hospitality and love of all things Texas, I am going to say something that I never thought I would say. There are people even friendlier than Texans. And not just a few people—a whole country in fact. That’s right, the Irish reign supreme in the friendliness and compassion department.

People in Ireland are just nicer than Americans. In America, competitive spirit pervades everything we do—it is not about being your best, it is about being the best. Sure, growing up, we were all taught that as long as we do the best that we, ourselves, can do, we are good enough. But let’s be real here. Americans are conditioned to believe that we have to be better at everything than everyone else or our self-worth decreases. If our SAT scores are not as high as our peers, we don’t get into the best college. If we don’t go to the best college, we don’t get the best jobs. If we don’t get the best jobs, we won’t make as much money. And we all know that people who make the most money are superior to the rest of humanity, right? Well, strangely, most Americans foster the subliminal belief that that is true. As an American, I subconsciously expected the rest of the world to share this competitive spirit, but after spending only a few short weeks here in Ireland, I am coming to realize that that is not the case. In Ireland, there is a much greater attitude of camaraderie rather than competition. Sure, everyone wants to succeed at what they do, but they also want other people to succeed. “Workaholics” by American standards are few and far between—if they even exist at all—in Ireland. Don’t get me wrong, I am not expressing by any means that the Irish are lazy or blasé about work. Quite the contrary. They are extraordinarily passionate about what they do, but they are even more passionate about the people they work with. My coworkers and boss are not just coworkers to one another; they are friends. They chat with one another as they work, laughing about the crazy party over the weekend or what their evening plans are, but despite the colloquial and jovial aura in the office, they all continue to produce excellent and intelligent work. Seriously, they are brilliant writers as well as brilliant…well, people.

And it’s not just in the work environment that this notion of Irish friendliness and compassion is evident—it’s everywhere. Cab and bus drivers, for example. Consider cab drivers in America. Sure, there are the few diamonds in the rough, but for the most part, taxi drivers are abrasive, curt, and often completely silent the entire ride. They are there for one purpose: to drive you to where you need to go so they can take your money. Nothing against American cab drivers—it’s just the average American working attitude. Perform the job—nothing more, nothing less—and get paid. In Ireland however, things are different. Every time I hop into a cab or step onto a bus, I am surprised and delighted by how friendly the drivers are. I have had copious conversations with my cab drivers about a vast array of topics. They are astonishingly knowledgeable and eager to offer advice about anything and everything. Sure, they are there to drive you, but they are also there to help you—to get to know you.

And another example: there is a dingy little pizza shop right around the corner from where we are staying, and hanging in front of the shop is a banner that reads “Probably the best pizza in Dublin.” We Americans found this hilarious, accusing the restaurant of lacking confidence and automatically assuming that because the sign did not say “The BEST pizza in Dublin,” the pizza must be, for lack of a better term, really shitty. But then one day in the city, I noticed a sign for a little coffee shop that read “Probably the best coffee in Dublin.” Odd, I thought. I started to pay closer attention. Before I knew it, I had counted 11 restaurants or shops that advertised as offering “probably” the best of whatever they were selling.  No, it’s not that Dubliners lack confidence in their product or that they don’t wish to market successfully. They simply have confidence in the products of others as well and wish for everyone to market successfully. Unlike Americans, it is not in the nature of the Irish to want to have the best of this and the best of that. They are perfectly content asserting that there is a certain degree of probability that their product is the best, but that there is certainly a chance that it is not. If you were to storm into a shop and aggressively declare that their product is shit and another Dublin vendor sold a product that was 100x superior, the shop owner would simply smile and say “hey, cheers to them.” Well, probably.

PS: check out my first published interview HERE!!!

Stay tuned for a first few weeks at work recap plus a recap of my trip to Amsterdam this weekend!



No comments:

Post a Comment