Kathleen Norton

The South: Crankiness is not an option

Posted on: October 20, 2010

Y'all come back now, ya hear?

Not counting some “experiments” in college, I had never actually been to another universe.

But then we went south.

By “south’’ I mean the part of the country where you inquire about “outlets” and they send you to the Fireworks Supermarket.

The part of the country where you either get riled up about college sports or you get disowned by your humiliated family and friends.

The part of the country where they speak something akin to English but God-knows-what-it-is.

The part of the country where they are taught to be sweet as pie at all times, even to snobby northerners who do not understand their southern ways and who make fun of their fireworks, their sports and the way they talk.

And that is where the north loses out. We just cannot compete with all that nicey-nicey stuff. We are not built that way.

If the Civil War had been a battle of words, instead of guns, things would have turned out differently.

Robert E. Lee: “Why sir, I do believe y’all should sit down a spell and we can hash this out.’’

Ulysses S. Grant: “Yo, Lee. Hash this out!’’

See what I mean?

Oh sure, the north is superior in its own ways.

We invented the smirk.

We put the “snarl’’ in “snarly.’’

We’ve elevated Red Sox-Yankees hate mongering to an art form.

And where else can you find people who wait on line for over-boiled hotdogs sold by sketchy-looking street vendors just so they spend the rest of the day complaining about the heartburn?

But the south has it over us hands down with those sugar-coated voices and manners of steel.

Trust me. I tried to get them to crack with my rude New York ways. I really, really tried.

But they would not budge.

Not even when I looked down at my plate in a restaurant and said: “It’s fried. I did not order fried. I will not eat fried.”

“Honey, you can have whatever you want!’’ the waitress crooned. “And y’all come back again, ya hear!’’

Not even at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, where I walked up to the ticket booth and said: “I don’t really want to see this ‘hall of fame’

and you call it. I just want to go to the gift shop and buy my friend a hat.”

“Sure, Sweetie! You go right in!’’ the clerk said in a drawl that was dripping with honey.

Was she making fun of me? My paranoid New York mindset was certain of it and I could not let it go.

“I AM NOT SURE YOU GET IT! I AM NOT A NASCAR FAN!’’ I said loud enough for all the smiling, sweet southern NASCAR fans on line behind me to hear.

“Oh Honey, I understand’’ the clerk said. “But you’d probably love it! Go on in there now! Give it a try!’’

“Ya, go on sugar!” the fans coaxed me.

I could have been nice back. I could have at least tried to understand NASCAR. Or why everyone in the south seems to pray all the time for Duke to win.

Whoever he is.

But my northern nature got the better of me. So I did what most red-blooded northerners would do.

I smirked. I snarled.

I mumbled, “Forgeddahbout it.’’

And then I took my cranky self  in search of a lousy hotdog.

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3 Responses to "The South: Crankiness is not an option"

This is one of my favorites, particularly since I can definitely relate being a southern transplanted Yankee. GO RED SOX!!!

Sharon:

Would love to hear what your sweet-talkin’ kids say about this!

Nope….raised in Lexington, KY…That’s KENTUCKY….so….y’all better listen here…what the HELL is wrong with a little common KINDNESS and consideration….ya know…letting the other car go in front of you….(like they do in the south??) And forget the fireworks…(make your own!….and I mean that figuratively…not literally!) So…now travel as a….NOMAD…..and see how people treat you then……(‘when in Rome’….)

And thank GOD for Travis….he saved me a bundle of $$ in shipping for Sam’s warm/fall clothes/boots!!! AND….I’ve BOOKED them for the WEDNESDAY before T-day…hope that’s OK with you…(y’all OK with that??)

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