My Southern Experience: Part Two

Before I go onto other aspects of my southern experience so far I should note that, like all things human, it is not 100% this way or that. There is a general level of what I consider rudeness here (apparently saying “bless you” after someone sneezes is out?). There are some nice people here as well.

I also am not used to people not liking me at first sight and for no good reason (that I can see) haven’t had that experience since grade school.

The surgeon general’s warning on the dangers of smoking never made it here. People smoke everywhere and throw their butts everywhere. The stairwell of my building is an ashtray – I do not exaggerate.

Southern cooking is to die for… if you do not die from it. I am pretty sure there is enough sodium and fat in a southern meal to bring down a moose.

LOTS of bugs. But the fireflies are totally cool. I had those as a child when I lived in Michigan.

One of the pluses (and it is a big plus) is the beauty of western North Carolina (from Asheville to the western edge). Just the sheer number of colors. Against the backdrop of green and brown is about every color you can come up with. I took a series of photos in my apartment complex of a stretch of ground covering perhaps fifteen feet. The vegetation in this space had great variation of colors – and this was only in a tiny bit of space. Not a manicured or landscaped space either, its downhill from the railroad tracks at the edge of the property.

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My Southern Experience: Part One

Thought I would start writing a little about my southern experience so far.

It will start off a little negative (alright, largely negative). One big reason for that is I fell into a huge depression after arriving here triggered by – swallowed by – homesickness.

I spent twenty years in the Seattle area happily married. I worked at the same place for almost that whole time where everyone knew my name where I felt the most comfortable. Where my day started with hugs, high fives, yells, and cheers and usually finished with friends and beers.

I am still trying to get used to a few things here in the south. One is the weather. It is MUGGY, I mean what I imagine soldiers felt in the jungles of Vietnam. I spend most of my time indoors in the air conditioning. It is just sticky and gross. If I go outside after a shower, I may as well have not showered at all. Nobody else (except for my pug) seems to notice. I do enjoy the almost daily thunder clouds coming in. I have heard more thunder and lightning in Asheville over the last five months than in all the time I was in the Seattle area.

Although I do yearn for a few days of overcast and drizzle.

Another thing I am trying to get used to is the rudeness of the south. Sorry, but I have lived in Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona, Oregon, and Washington. I have travelled through most of the United States missing only New England. The south so far has been the rudest place I have been to. This really shouldn’t be much of a surprise since the area consists of a large number of descendants of people who thought chattel slavery was a good idea and fought to the death to keep it. And then thought terrorizing and lynching people was a good idea, and Jim Crow was a hero, etc.

And while we in the Seattle area may have groaned inside when yet another arrival said howdy and further clogged up the roadway, we (at least not in my experience) never let the person know about it. And we welcomed them and asked questions about where they came from, etc. I have been told here by no less than eight people (and have had that many more express the opinion in my hearing knowing I to be new to the area) that outsiders are ruining their area.

The wife and I were not here two weeks before we were making a purchase at a store. The lady at the counter was ringing us up and we were talking and we mentioned we were from the Seattle area. She said she had a son there. She then went on to lament how the area is going to the pits because of people moving in that weren’t from there (as if you could move there when you were already there). She may as well said, “this area would still be good if it weren’t for you folks.”

Another replied shortly after I said I came from the west coast something to the effect that it isn’t good to have people coming in from such places cuz then you have more chances of importing homosexuals.

I am still not sure if that was a roundabout way of calling me a fag.

This last I found hilarious. I spent over twenty years in Seattle and never worked with a transgender (is that still the term?) person. My first job here I worked with one. Two newscasters on Saturday morning here are homosexuals if my name ain’t Bob. Three cars in my apartment complex have bumper stickers that say “Vaginatarian.” The cars are owned by females. And if you can’t parse the word it is someone that eats vagina. Never saw those in Seattle area. Downtown Asheville can look, at times, like a cross between Haight-Ashbury and the Dinah Shore Golf Classic – if you catch my drift. Which, you should, it is as obvious as Vaginatarian.

You shouldn’t be worrying about fags invading your precious town, child. You are quite gay enough already!

People have no interest in where you come from here, no curiosity about other places. Note the distance between London and Berlin is less than seven hundred miles and, yet, they are two different cultures. The distance between Seattle and Asheville, NC is over three thousand miles.

It should be noted that the migration is the opposite from what my wife and I have done. Way, way more people pick up from places like this and move to places like Seattle than the opposite. Someone may move from Atlanta to here, but they are still a southerner. The tourists here are surely from Atlanta or Raleigh and other such places mostly.

I have a suspicion southerners don’t like outsiders.

To Be Continued….