Thursday, January 30, 2014

Six Things I've Learned About the South...

A little diversion from my norm for the day. The week of Thanksgiving my family and I packed up everything we owned and moved half-way across the country to a place we'd never been for a job my husband was given. Over the last eight weeks I have learned a few things worth sharing. Things that might save you a whole heap of trouble if you move, visit, or even consider the south as a northerner.

1. Red lights mean nothing. NOTHING! Are you driving down the street? Are you approaching an intersection with a light and your car is still in motion? Just keep going. Don't even look up. Just drive. I swear, this is what they teach in Driver's Ed here. Conversely, if you are sitting at a red light pay no attention to the color of the light. Your best bet is to sit and wait for the first cars at the lights crossing your lanes to be stopped. It doesn't matter if your light is green. If you go as soon as the light turns green odds are you are going to be T-boned or T-bone some one running a red light. 
2. Snow- even forecast snow- is like unto an F5 tornado. PANIC! This was one of the most shocking things to me as a northerner. 12-18 inches of snow in less than 24 hours was perfectly typical where we came from. School was rarely even delayed for such weather. But here? Here there is a forecast of 1-2
New York Normal
inches of snow and schools and businesses close preemptively, and Kroger's shelves are cleared of milk, bread, and bottled water. Likewise with temperatures under 40.
3. NEVER Say to a Southerner that #2 is different from what you know. Truly. It's highly offensive blasphemy. You might as well have told them that their baby is ugly. Stating that where you just came from this is not even noticeable, and that the response to the weather from the natives gives you a chuckle is a personal insult to Southerners. Which kinda' irritates you as a Northerner because they're angry that YOUR normal is different from THEIR normal and it just ends up being a whole, "I'm offended because you're offended" circle, which is just generally ridiculous and unproductive. So learn from me: just don't say it. (And follow that link. It raises an excellent point with side-splitting laughter and fact. No, it's not me. LOL! )
4. Chipotle and Chick Fil A are in, McDonalds and Burger King are out. This I can totally be on-board with. THIS is a refreshing difference. Where I come from McD's and BK have the corner on the market on fast food, and even their "healthy" options are sickeningly UNhealthy. Leaves a mama in a bind when she strives to feed her kiddos healthy, but sometimes family life requires a quick stop to snag food and
chuck it into the back rows to be nom-nommed in carseats. I was SO excited when the town 20 minutes from me in NY got a Chipotle(CFA was not happening), so when we were moving I decided to search for them in our new city. I was shocked. Twelve. Twelve Chipotles within 20 minutes. And Chick Fil A? SIXTEEN! Sure, fried chicken is fried chicken, but the more wholesome ingredients and natural lemonade are superior, in my opinion.
5. Homeschooling is ALMOST normal! If we dared to leave the house between 9am and 3pm on a weekday in NY, we heard non-stop questions about, "Are your kids sick?" and "Why aren't you in school?" Which are inevitably followed by, "But what about socialization?" or "How will they know how to stand in line?" and "Are you in a religious cult or something?" Down here it is refreshing for a cashier to look at my two obviously school-age kiddos and say, "Are you guys homeschooled?" As much as I DON'T care about being "normal," it's pretty cool to not have to defend my kids' education any time we hit Food Lion for almond milk and yet another 2-pound brick of cheese mid-week. 
6. Starbucks is rarely a drive-through. WHAT?! WHAT IS EVEN THE POINT?! Maybe it's a New Yorker thing, one of those "the south is not in a hurry" things, but if I'm going to treat myself to a venti caramel brulee latte with skim milk and an extra shot of espresso hold the whip, I'm out with the nuggets and I need something to sustain me. Requiring me to get out of the car, unbuckle four children from 5-point harnesses, cross a parking lot, go inside, keep said brood quietly in line while we wait for my perk-me-up, then juggle a piping-hot beverage AND Mr. Grabby Mc30-pound-9-month-old while I usher the fore-mentioned brood back out the door, across the parking lot, and buckle everyone BACK into the car, it's not worth it. On the bright side, at least on the rare stops at Starbucks my kids get the line-forming lesson they're missing in their absence from public school.

No comments:

Post a Comment