Never Ask What a Humboldter Does for a Living and Other Unique Etiquette Rules
The ways of Humboldt startle and amuse outsiders. Lisa Morehouse, my co-reporter for our recent story for The California Report explained:
As an outsider reporting in and around Garberville, I learned there’s a special brand of etiquette in a place where pot dominates the economy and culture. People don’t ask each other what they do for a living. They don’t insist on learning folks’ last names. They don’t look as the person in front of them pays for groceries with a wad of cash.
Then there are practicalities that differ from much of the rest of the state, too. When I visited farmers during the harvest, I wasn’t greeted with handshakes — their fingers were too sticky for that. I got hugs, with hands outstretched at 90-degree angles to keep the marijuana resin off of my clothes. It’s such a cash economy, many local businesses don’t take anything but (and this city mouse has to run repeatedly to ATMs).
Marijuana touches everything here. In hotel parking lots, its smell emanates from car trunks. Turkey roasting bags (popular for storing harvested pot) fly off grocery store shelves, and are even sold in unexpected locations, like the record shop. During fall harvest season, traveling trimmers-for-hire stand on the side of the road holding cardboard signs advertising their availability.
For more of her impressions go here.