Texas has affected me in many ways, but most notably in the art of civility. Trish and were initially taken aback at how friendly and complimentary people were generally in Texas. Simple conversations between Texans begin with mutual compliments. Whatever the circumstance people will compliment your hairstyle, clothing, shoes, eye color, personal style or whatever as a way to begin a conversation or  transaction. It’s really endearing.

Coming back to Vancouver I realized I was doing the same as I would in Dallas….be overtly friendly with the people I encountered. The Texan culture is egalitarian. It doesn’t matter what your social position or employment status, people acknowledge one another with a compliment…”I like your hair”…or some similar greeting. And that’s where we made our discovery….that compliments are how Texans say hello. Whether Wallmart or a bank… people greet you on a personal level as equals….without the jealous or obvious envy and covetousness  we experience in uber materialistic  ‘futterneid’ ( German for the envy of another’s possessions)  Vancouver. I have noticed that by practicing this complimentary style I have shocked many Vancouverites out of their downcast closeted shell and they visibly brightened….. as if they haven’t had a kind word or compliment for a very long time. It’s obvious to me that people in Vancouver are starving for civility.

As I said, Texas is an egalitarian culture, perhaps because they have a history of overcoming common hardships. Perhaps it’s because people haven’t been suppressed into isolating and tension creating ethnic ghetto’s by short sighted political mavins as is the case in Vancouver. But this much is true…the mood among people in Texas is always polite and positive and living there is especially refreshing for a transplant Vancouverite accustomed to the surly rain soaked masses of the left coast. There is no doubt in my mind that the friendly relations people enjoy in Texas is a by-product of growing up in an atmosphere of common courtesy… ( it’s always Miss, Ma’am and Sir) Vancouver could learn a life lesson from Texas… and maybe someday lose the tag as being unfriendly and uncivil.


  1. auntyuta says:

    Being friendly goes a long way. A lot of what you say about Texas, I can say about Australia and its people. We always felt it was all right to be a bit ‘easy going’ in Australia.

    I am familiar with the expression ‘Futterneid’. Material possessions obviously are very important to Germans. It’s quite different here in Australia. Here you can live as you please and nobody is going to criticize you.

    In Germany you always have to keep up a certain standard or you are not accepted as equal. If your friends do a bit better than you, it is your duty to aim for something better too. If you can’t, well then this envy bit applies.

    • Possession envy breaks open a new standard in Vancouver. People are driven to open hostility ( high domestic crimes rate, murder, youth prostitution, drug use, manufacture and sales, and petty theft….and probably the road rage capital of the world) over real estate mortgages, auto leases and credit debt to show themselves as better than the next.

      Personal credit debt ( the highest in the world at 168% of income) has produced an entirely miserable society forced to borrow themselves into bankruptcy…. The stats on stress and anxiety related mental illness are higher than anywhere in the developed world. There is in fact ongoing ‘class warfare’ between factions who demand pay beyond their worth because no one ever seems to be able to afford their ‘lifestyle expectations’ on any given salary. This results in lots of strikes and social unrest due to ransom demands by the special interests.

      I’m glad you know the term ‘futterneid’…it actually translates as ‘the envy over a perception of another persons better quality food’. You have to love the Germans for their precision…English doesn’t any word as succinct.

      • auntyuta says:

        I could give you many examples about ‘Futterneid’ in Germany as it applies to food. For instance in the past not every one in Germany could afford to eat eggs. There were people who envied others who could sit down for breakfast with a soft boiled egg or two and maybe some white bread toast. (I remember times when white bread was much dearer than rye-bread in Germany!) Lobster was some other food only rich people could indulge in.

        The envy (Neid) of not so well to do people of course would stretch to other things as well, not just food. ‘Futter’ is stricty speaking not food for humans, but what animals eat! What humans eat are ‘Nahrungsmittel’ or ‘Essen’. I think ‘Essensneid’ would sound a bit clumsy though. Everybody calls it ‘Futterneid’ and knows what it is supposed to mean. Maybe in some parts of Germany the term ‘futtern’ is more often used for saying humans eat than the correct word ‘essen’. (‘Tiere futtern, aber Menschen essen!’)

        What you write about Vancouver is mind boggling, especially what you say about personal credit debt. Wouldn’t this be a problem in other Canadian places as well? I think, sadly it is probably a huge problem all over the ‘developed’ world.

        I grew up during an area when people were extremely reluctant to borrow money for personal consumption. It just wasn’t the done thing!

      • Hey…thanks for the detail. I hadn’t thought of the origins of the word ‘futterneid’ but I see how this adjective was created. Too many of us forget hardship happening in our own countries. In Vancouver it is not hunger for food that drives people …it is shallow covetous greed over ‘must have’ items on offer in heavy media rotation by colluding parasites. The debt to income ratio in Vancouver is the highest in the developed world…which is why I point it out. The average person pays over 80% of net income on housing. Sadly, a complacent self serving media has driven the excesses ….especially in frenzied Vancouver. There is no reluctance to borrow money while governments dole it out like cheap crack candy…. like heroin….addicts have no concept of future harm….they simply must have their drug of choice immediately.

        I talked about the difference in conversational style between Texas and Vancouver. I’ve said that I was surprised at how Texans are complimentary when they begin a conversation. In Vancouver, by contrast, people first want to know ‘what do you do’…’ does it pay well’….’where do you live’…’do you own a house or condo’…’what car do you drive’….’where have you been on holiday?’ These and many other intrusive personal questions are designed to establish your position in the pecking order… nothing complimentary or friendly about it. The only other culture I have witnessed that leads an introduction with intrusive personal questions about individual wealth, income and family is India.

        A personal anecdote was a time when I discovered that a neighbor had broken into my new house because she became frustrated we hadn’t invited her in to look at the furniture and possessions so that she could compare ours to hers. I initially wanted to call the police but she begged us profusely that she hadn’t been able to control her curiosity after a few drinks that afternoon. We affirmed that she was just a typical Vancouver idiot and built a bigger fence, updated the locks and put security lighting around the perimeter. Months later, I hope in embarrassment, she and her policeman husband moved.

  2. auntyuta says:

    Sorry that you had bad experiences in Vancouver.
    How can rent for housing or installments for housing loans be higher than people can afford to pay?

    • Well thanks….but it’s not exactly a bad experience per se…..it’s like visiting Iran…or other place that stretches reality. I see it as experiencing a culture unique unto itself and as a visitor we can only watch and wonder. I’m extremely fortunate that I don’t have to stay and participate in the madness.The answer to the unaffordability question is that people are taking on massive personal credit debt to maintain a marginal lifestyle….going deeper in debt all the time….hence the statistic of the debt/income ratio rising from the 70’s to 170 since the government crashed interest rates in 2000 and created the debt culture. The government is itself addicted to debt…the entire economy is now based solely on the perpetuation of new debt…without new borrowing the bills can’t be paid. Few can afford to pay back the debt they owe in a single lifetime. Unintended consequences of the debt culture are the growing numbers of working persons now reliant on some form of social services like foodbanks because they can’t afford to make it through the month. Hard hit are the seniors and the children…but those are stories you can read in the local newspapers.

      • auntyuta says:

        When we bought our first home in the 1960s we were required to have a deposit of 25% or at least 20%. Our monthly installments for the housing loan were paid out my husband’s minimum wages. We did have three small children and I stayed at home. We did not buy proper furniture straight away. The children did not get expensive toys. But we were never in danger of losing our home. Do you think things have changed for the better for people at the bottom end?

  3. Ah..the 1960’s….days of fiscal sanity and personal responsibility….gone now I’m afraid. Gone are the days of minimum down payments….the banks loan the required 5% down payment by way of a Home Equity Line of Credit…technically zero down deals. Or developers offer a years rent to show as income….also bypassing minimum standards under the Bank Act. The first time buyers of today opt for a better house than their parents currently live in …with all the bells and whistles as mandatory…what the hell…it’s all borrowed money from never never land. Entitlement and instant gratification has been programmed as the norm. First time buyers are not entirely to blame though…the greed factor has caused many older persons ( who should know better) to borrow and ‘move up’ into bigger more expensive housing and renew their mortgage obligations well past retirement age.

    I certainly do not think that anything has improved for the common man…in fact things are worse than ever. These debt slaves of today will never free themselves. The consequences are already showing up wherein after school sports programs have become unaffordable, universal day care is demanded because people can’t afford baby sitters or to stay home as you did. As I’ve already said working families are reliant on food banks…schools report children coming to school unfed….etc etc etc. look for increasing social unrest as global interest rates inexorably climb and put more pressure on the sheeple.

  4. Chris says:

    Couldn’t agree more. And if you think the difference between Texas and repressed Vancouver is jarring, then try Toronto and Texas! My native Toronto may be the surliest city on the planet. Actually, I always found Vancouver to be friendlier than Toronto. The pioneering Western egalitarianism is still evident in some parts of Vancouver, especially on the east side.

    It may only be superficial, but the Texas folksiness definitely counts for something. Spent some time in the DFW area and can vouch for it. Did you check out Grapevine near the airport? A nice older town that’s been gussied up a bit for tourism but it’s very pleasant.

    Our paths have an interesting symmetry as I have also spent quite a bit of time in Thailand. Your youtube videos are great. You give people the real deal there. Hope you can post more of your travels soon.

    Happy trails!

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