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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Different in the South, Part 2

Another way that the south is different is the way people drive.  In Drivers Ed in WI, we were taught that a yellow light means “stop if you can safely do so”.  People occasionally went through, and teased that the light was orange, or pink, not red, but people would be pulled over for doing this (running the light, not teasing.  They aren’t listening to see if you tease before pulling you over, at least not yet)..  If you could have stopped and you didn’t, you looked around very nervously around to make sure a cop hadn’t seen it.  Here, I believe they teach that a yellow light means “GO GO GO - don’t get stuck through another light cycle - GO!”  

When I first moved down here, there were a couple of times that my light turned green, and several people were still cruising through perpendicularly.   It didn’t really dawn on me until the first time I misjudged a light, though.  It turned yellow, I decided I didn’t want to brake hard to stop, so I went.  I was wrong, and the light turned red well before I was through the intersection.  I nervously checked my mirror to see if a cop had seen this, when I noticed 3 cars behind me were also cruising through the light.  If I shouldn’t have gone, they DEFINITELY shouldn’t have.  

Don’t get me wrong, this is something I actually like about the south, and have adapted to it.  I now happily cruise through yellow lights.  In fact, if I brake for one, I check my rear view to make sure I won’t be rear-ended for stopping.  I’ve adapted to this so thoroughly, that I scared my mother half to death when I drove her around WI on a visit up there.  It only took her putting her hand on the dash and saying, “Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!  You gotta stop!” once, and I realized that I’d become a fully native South Carolinean stopper.  

My main vehicle is my motorcycle, and that’s another great thing about the south.  The weather lets me ride year round.  I usually have my purse strapped across me, and that’s what I carry for the day.  The other day after work, I was stopping by a friend’s house.  It was the first time I’d been over there, so I wanted to pick up a gift.  I stopped at the grocery store, and picked up a six pack of bottles of a nice beer.  I double bagged them, tied the bag to my purse, balanced it on my lap, and drove off.   I was at least half way there when I realized, with a six pack on my lap, that maybe I should stop running red lights.  I may have adapted too much.

Have you realized you may have swung too far in fitting into a new culture? Share in the comments!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Different in the South, Part 1

Things are different here in the south, but I’ve been adapting.  For one thing, there are more bugs, and they’re all bigger.  I’d written about the baby alien on my windshield, which I’ve come to believe might be some mutant variety of praying mantis.  When I first moved here, my supposedly nice apartment had a few pest issues.  One morning I was in the shower, and I opened my eyes after rinsing out shampoo to see a gigantic millipede on the floor of the tub.  

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A while back, at the bookstore, a teenager in line with her mother was wearing a tiara.  I couldn’t help but ask with a smile, “What’s the occasion?”