Ok so here’s the deal, I don’t watch a lot of television or movies…and what I do watch caters to a niche market.
So I fail to understand A LOT of pop culture references.
This has been one of my problems since my elementary school days when the other children wanted to talk about the latest, greatest cartoon character and I would have to ask who?
They would talk about the superheroes of the small screen and I’ll be like “umm I watched some guys fishing early one morning and they were throwing the fish back”
Yep! You can imagine how well that conversation went!!!
Let’s fast forward to my college years. I was one of those students who thought spring break was a great time to volunteer! Don’t laugh, I still think that any free time is an excellent time to volunteer, give back.
Several weeks before the kick off for spring break I signed up for alternative spring break. Specifically, I signed up for the alternative spring break New York City trip with my closest college friend at the time.
We met all the requirements and we really thought it would be a great experience. We had a wonderful time btw!
So this was my first trip by vehicle to NYC. Pause! It was an incredibly long road trip, we were coming from a Midwest state in USA!
I only really knew my friend. I have an unhealthy distrust over people’s driving (although I don’t drive myself) and I’m too curious to sleep on the road so I was excitedly exhausted once we arrived.
Remember I was in college – first generation in my family – so a road trip with friends, however loosely that is defined was definitely on my things to do while in college list! Spoiler alert: I really enjoyed the trip, overall experience, but so far I’ve yet to take another road trip with friends….being in a vehicle so long is really not my thing!
We arrived to NYC safely, I don’t remember where we stayed but I know it was a religious oriented space. We checked in with the host organization and participated in volunteer training.
After our volunteer shifts we had free time daily and one full free day during our weeklong stay. There was a lot to do but this was fun!
My friend and I saw two shows off broadway and as a group we explored shopping centers and other tourist’s hot spots.
As I mentioned me and popular culture have never been particular close! I’m often oblivious when it is mentioned.
This trip included one of the most glaring accounts of my popular culture cluelessness!!!
After volunteering one day, we walked around the city, cackling and chatting like undergraduates encouraged by their small contribution of kindness.
Suddenly, everyone in the group (sans me) start pointing and laughing. I freak out think that perhaps this helpful group needs to take one of those courses about diversity because they’ve collectively lost their minds!
One of my peers even said “oh man that was good”, another was like “too funny”! Even my friend was laughing like there was no tomorrow.
Smoke was likely escaping my nostrils I was so heated by this exchange… but I knew my friend and she would never laugh at someone’s misfortune so I put the brakes on my anger and decided to use my words!
I quietly asked my friend, Why are you laughing at a soup kitchen?
For those of you who are more in tune with popular culture than I am, you already know about the famous soup kitchen in NYC…but I didn’t!
My friend knew me as well as I knew her so she wasn’t shocked that the reference to popular culture was lost on me. She politely replied Oh they are not making fun of a soup kitchen, they are referring to the Soup Nazi episode from Seinfeld
Thanks to my aunt’s viewership of Seinfeld, I knew that was a television show but just moments before my friend cleared things up for me,
I thought I’d traveled ALL they way from the Midwest USA to NYC with a heartless bunch of people who laughed at a Soup Kitchen…
Over a decade later, I’ve still never watched the popular Soup Nazi episode of Seinfeld; however once we returned to the place we stayed in NYC my friend provided evidence for me that it was indeed from the series.
This is one memory that makes me laugh; especially since I’m still nearly as clueless about popular culture today…but because my friend didn’t ridicule my ignorance…I am more likely to ask questions when a reference is lost on me before the smoke starts blowing from my misplaced judgment.