Who Am I?

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A nobody; a nitwit; a pilot; a motorcyclist; a raconteur; a lover...of life - who loves to laugh, who tries to not take myself (or anything) too seriously...just a normal guy who knows his place in the universe by being in touch with my spiritual side. What more is there?

04 April 2018

Southern Living

There are things about living in the south that northerners might find peculiar.  For one thing, we do say, Y'all.  It is a perfectly fine contraction of the words "you" and "all." But yankees seem to find it amusing. When I go back up and visit my family, if I say y'all they look at me funny.

If you walk into a restaurant down here, the waitress will hand you a menu and before you can even sit down she will ask you what you'd like to drink?  You can merely say sweet or unsweet.  You don't have to say anything else.  She will bring you a glass of your specified iced tea - which we drink year-round down here, by the way. Restaurants always have it on hand. Iced tea usually comes in huge, bladder-busting tumblers which they will gladly keep filled as often as you like.

Sometimes the sweet tea at a particular restaurant is known to be way too sugary/syrupy and I'll ask for half-and-half.  They always know what I mean.  I've never been asked for clarification, even at the Chow Tyme buffet restaurant with the Chinese waitresses.

And while we're at it, you can call a waitress hon' down here and she won't be offended.  But you only call someone "Missy" if you're angry or displeased.

When I was growing up we always said grace before every meal at home.  We thanked God or the food we were about to eat.  I still do it now.  In the South it is not unusual to say grace before eating in a restaurant, something that's pretty much unthinkable up north.  Down here, sometimes a group of diners will bow their heads and say it silently and individually, but just as often it is said aloud. Nobody makes a big deal about it, and nobody else stares or makes fun.  Nobody ridicules.  People are not ashamed of their faith down here. Nor should they be.

We stop for funeral processions out of respect down here.  No matter which direction the procession is going, everyone just..stops...and lets it go by. Ironically, on the other hand people down here do not always stop, pull over for or get out of the way of emergency vehicles with lights and sireens.  It's quite bizarre.

I grew up in New York City, and I was skeptical that I would enjoy living in the South. New Yorkers generally consider everyone else in the country (with a few exceptions) to be uneducated, unsophisticated boobs.  But in the course of the thirty years that I've been living down here I have become quite comfortable, and have adapted nicely to the slower pace of life.  Yeah, people might be less-sophisticated down here, but not everyone has to be William F. Buckley.

Just don't screw up my breakfast order!  "Missy, I said I wanted cheese grits with these eggs!  And bring me some more unsweet while you're at it, willya hon?"


Ed said...

I would have no problem living down south except for the tea situation. Never did like the stuff sweetened or otherwise. I would probably have to live on "coke" or die of thirst.

Bob Barbanes: said...

Heh. I know what you mean. Up north when I was a kid I used to like iced tea. But because granulated sugar doesn't dissolve well in cold water, it was never very sweet. But it tasted like tea! Then Nestle came out with their Brisk ice-tea, sweetened and with lemon. It was...different. Now, down here, "sweet tea" might have tea in it, but you'd never know it in a lot of cases. And yeay, some of my born-and-bred southern friends don't like it.

But careful with that coke, Eugene! Up until fairly recently, the term "Co-Cola" could mean Coke itself, but it also could mean just about any soft drink...or "pop" as they call it. However, that little idiosyncrasy seems to be dying out just as the southern accent itself is becoming more diluted every year.

Bob said...

I take exception to your comment about southern accents. Maybe it’s dying out down there on the coast, but here in Tennessee it’s alive and well! That includes my own, which was fine tuned in my native state of Arkansas.

I was in Boston on business once, in the wintertime, and ordered iced tea to drink. The server was flummoxed. Apparently they don’t break out the iced tea in those parts until the first warm spell.

Bob Barbanes: said...

Bob, I wish it weren't true. But I hear fewer southern accents down here, especially among young people. Sadly, we're all becoming homogenized. Glad you're helping keep regionalism alive.

As for iced tea - especially sweet tea - now that is a peculiarly southern thing. Yankees just don't get it as a year-round drink. Down here, a restaurant with no sweet tea wouldn't be in business for very long.