I observed yet another difference between the North and the South (extending beyond the obvious historical rift over slavery). At one of the stops my bus made last night, approximately ten people got off. Instantaneously, passengers got up and moved so that they could sit by themselves rather than with the people they originally were near. It seems to me that you can easily choose an unoccupied seat when you board the bus. However, moving mid-trip across the aisle sends a clear cut message that you feel repulsed by your seatmate. Also, men don't offer their seats as regularly to women, children, and the elderly here.
Continental prepped us for this in Houston by explaining that it doesn't mean that people are mean in Newark but these behaviors are simply an element of their culture. This is no consolation- I would greatly prefer a rude individual to a rude community.