8 Things Idahoans Do in the Magic Valley that Feel Offensive but Aren’t
There are things we all do in life that are offensive and will hurt someone's feelings. It can be not agreeing with their religious beliefs, flipping someone a certain finger, calling somebody a certain name, or laughing at the wrong time. While it is impossible to please everyone, these acts are viewed as offensive by most people. There are some acts that we do that feel like we are offending someone, but in reality, it is all in our head, or only a select few will find it offensive. Here are some everyday acts that the people of Idaho do that feel offensive to the one doing it, but aren't to anyone else.
Passing Someone With Back Window Wiper Going
With so much snow, rain, and melting ice on the road throughout the years, it isn't uncommon to need to clear your windows when going down the interstate or the road. It isn't just the front windows, but especially during the winter, the back windows need a good wipe as well. For some reason, passing somebody on the interstate or the road, especially in winter conditions, feels offensive sometimes, but doing so and then using the back wiper to clean your window right after passing them, somehow feels like an offensive gesture. While you are only cleaning your window, having that little wiper go back and forth after going around someone feels like a certain hand gesture, yet in reality, the other driver may not even notice it.
Walking into a Store with a Hat or Beanie On
For older generations, it was taught that whenever entering a building, especially a church or someone's home, you are to remove your hat. Times have changed, and many people today wear heats in church, people's homes, or only take them off to shower or sleep. While it can be argued if this is right or wrong, when the weather is cold outside and you are wearing a beanie or something to keep your head warm, leaving it on in a store or someplace else, seems ok. There will be a few that will take offense to it, but you are only trying to keep your ears and head warm, especially for those that lack hair up top.
Passing Tractors on the Road
For some reason going around a tractor feels offensive and disrespectful, but being the grandson of a farmer, I can tell you that they expect cars to go around them and know that they are taking up the road. As long as you are safe and smart about passing them and don't honk while following them, then nothing you do is offensive, although it may feel like it. You won't be the only car doing it and you won't be the last, so rest easy knowing the farmer you pass isn't angry about it.
Not Knowing How to Ski or Snowboard
This is one that you may find yourself lying to your friends or coworkers about. Living in Idaho, with many ski resorts in the state and some of the best slopes around, it is almost expected that everyone knows how to ski or snowboard or both. Having had many conversations with residents of the Magic Valley, it is surprising how many people living here have tried and failed or have never attempted to learn. It can be pricey, but it also isn't for everyone. There will be people that are surprised that you don't know how to or haven't tried more than once, but odds are they won't be offended, even though you may feel like they are.
Passing in the Right Lane
Road etiquette says that slower traffic should stay in the right lane, and passing should take place in the left lane, but occasionally drivers will stay in the left lane and won't move to the right, despite knowing someone is trying to pass them. In this scenario, if you are going a little quicker than the car in the left, and are looking to get around then passing on the right is your only option. It may feel offensive, and to some, it may be, but since the car on the left isn't getting over, they have left you no other option, and you shouldn't feel the need to apologize or feel like you have offended the other driver. You also shouldn't be offended, so long as you can get around them, despite them being in the wrong lane.
Not Wanting Everything on Your Food
When going out to a restaurant and ordering, it feels offensive when you ask for no onions, pickles, or sauce, or ask for anything to be removed or left off. It feels offensive to the waiter or waitress, it feels offensive to the chef, and the restaurant. In reality, they are all getting paid, and unless you are asking the chef to completely do something different than the norm, then odds are none of the above will be offended. Asking for ketchup on a steak, or for some kind of sauce for a prime rib, could be offensive, but unlikely that anyone working at the restaurant would care. It will be more offensive to those around the table, but since they didn't prepare the food, it will likely be more in your head.
Not Shoveling Your Neighbor's Driveway
When the snow comes and you are forced to shovel your driveway and walkways, it is a nice gesture to offer to help your neighbors, especially if they are elderly, you see them outdoing it, or they have a disability not allowing them to do it themselves. While it is neighborly to offer to help or to perhaps just go and do it, if you find yourself feeling ill, too cold, in a rush, or perhaps you don't want to, it is ok. It may feel offensive, knowing it is a nice gesture, but you are not expected to and therefore you are not going to offend anyone. If a neighbor helps you, and you don't help back, it could come off that way, but you are not expected to if you don't want to.
Not Finishing Your Fry Sauce
When having fry sauce in Idaho, it is expected that you use every drop and not leave any behind. If you refuse fry sauce and claim to not like it or if you leave any behind you may think you are being offensive, and in this case, yes you are. Fry sauce is like gold in these parts, and it better be fully consumed and it better be asked for, or else you live in the wrong state. Learn to appreciate fry sauce and learn to use it all, or else get out. This one is offensive to everyone.
While many of us hope to not offend others, it is often more of us projecting than how others feel. You may think you are being offensive, but, likely, others are not caring as much as you think they are. Live comfortably and try not to offend others, but sometimes you aren't when you think you are. Don't overthink it, and enjoy your food how you see fit, drive how you see accordingly, and live your best life, knowing people may not be offended when you think they are.