I've always thought of myself as a very down-to-Earth guy. People who know me would say, "What you see is what you get." when describing me. Therefore, I never thought of myself as secretly harboring any bizarre feelings of "them" vs. "us" when looking at people.
But I had a very disconcerting experience of that today, at lunch. I learned that I don't like being called Dude, or Man, as in "Hey, man!". Well, at least in the context of my being a customer in a sandwich shop, ordering my food.
I tried a new place in Harrisburg, PA, today. Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches. It looked really good. Great signage, and a decent amount of lunchtime activity. So in I went. At first it went well. Although the music that was playing loudly in the shop was off-putting to me, it wasn't exactly driving me out the door, so I walked up to the counter to examine the menu and order. I was greeted by a 20-something guy with a baseball cap on, who asked me if I'd ever been in before, to which I replied I hadn't. He cheerfully took me through how the process was going to go. Then the wheels fell off the wagon.
Another very young worker began to chime in with the first one, saying things like, "Dude, you're gunna love this stuff!", and "Yo man, we got lots of different bread for these."
I should have been happy. I mean, they were conversing with me in complete sentences, which is more than you get at a lot of places these days, especially during the lunch rush. But I was so put off by the immediate, ultra casual intimacy, that I just felt odd instead. Here I was, dressed in jacket and tie, clearly a middle-aged bore (although quite dashing, of course), and I was suddenly thrust into Seth Rogan Dudedom. I hated it! The conversation continued that way throughout the order process. By the time I was done I felt like Maynard G. Krebs.
Maybe it's my upbringing, but even a low key guy like me prefers to be called "Sir", or "Mr. Potato Head", over "Yo man", by the skateboarders-cum-baristas and the hip young dreadlock crowd. As I sat and ate my lunch I heard lots of other customers get the Dude treatment. I realized then that I must be a snob. I really wanted someone there to say, "Hello, sir! Would you like a refill of iced tea?". Just once. Make me feel my age. I'm not hip any more. Never was. Don't want to be. I just want young people to laugh at me behind my back and talk about the old fossil in the corner drinking his tea that they spit in. Is that too much?
Any other snobs out there that will back me up on this one?