December 19, 2005

Welcome to Alabama

Being a transplant in Alabama, I look around me at the people here and praise Darwin that I was not raised here. It is a culture shock. Here are some of the things that leave me wondering if there is some freak of nature at work here:

1. It's Cold. People from Alabama start dressing in their winter clothes when the temp drops below 70 degress, at 60 the hat and gloves come out, at 50 they actually "warm-up" their cars when they go somewhere, at 40 the news starts talking about emergency shelters for those without heat, below freezing and it's the top news story. Spot a snowflake, and the impending blizzard is all the buzz at the office. The forecast of even a snow flurry causes every single person to take off work and visit the grocery store, whether they need something or not. Snow on the ground, even just a dusting, is an automatic snow day, then they get in their trucks and try to do doughnuts. The hazard here is not the possiblility of slick roads, it is all the people trying to see have fast they can drive thier four-wheel drives in the snow.

2. Driving on Sunday. There are more police out on a Sunday morning than during weekday rush hour. They are very busy directing after-church traffic than any other time of the week. And its good they are out there then, becuase being out on the street after-church on Sunday is very dangerous. I have seen more accidents at that time than any other time. There are people out on the roads that only drive to church on Sunday, they don't know where they are going, don't remember how to drive, or realize there are other people out on the road. They stop in the middle of the road for no reason, drive too slow, drift betweens lane, make u-turns over the medians, drive the wrong way or on the wrong side of the road, make left turns from the right lanes (and vice-versa).

3. Trucks. Men, driving real slow, in a great big trucks is a popular way to pass the time. If the truck is going the legal speed or faster, then it is most likely being driven by a women. Most of the people driving trucks and oversized SUV's in Alabama are women, and they can't park the thing, or even back out of a parking space without taking out a fender or two, but at least they can drive the trucks better then the men here. They say they love "sitting up high", makes them feel safer and superior, at least while they are at the wheel of their vanity vehicles.

4. Trying to Walk. I think Alabamians are taught that once they start driving, they are not allowed to walk. Once they start driving, they will drive everywhere, even across the street, or to the other side of a shopping center to go to another store. New businesses are built with no way for pedestrians to access the business, you have to drive. I have dozens of stores and restuarants in walking distance of my home, but no way to walk to them because of the way the roads were built. If you try to walk to these businesses, you will be putting your life at danger and drivers will honk and rage at you for doing such a stupid act.

When these Alabamians do have to walk, they walk at such a slow pace that it takes a whole day for them to do a circuit at the small local mall here. It isn't so much of a walk, as a waddle. They take 4 "waddles" to one of my steps. They are very comical to watch, but iratating when you have to walk behind them.

5. Meat. They have restaurants here that only serve meat. There are people here that think that meat is the only food group, everything is meat or a meat dish.

6. College. Believe it or not, there is an actually a rivalry between Auburn and Alabama. Not just football, but an "academic" rivalry, also. I'm not kidding. Really.

7. Wisdom and Health. They both are despised here, if you have one or both, don't let anyone know, you will be never be accepted here. Everyone needs to at least pretend ignorance or live an unhealthy lifestyle before anyone will talk to you.


BadTux said...

Remember the first dictum of Alabama cuisine: "If it ain't fried, it ain't food."

Louisiana food is unhealthy as [bleep], but at least it's tasty (at least, if you're near or south of I-10!).

Anonymous said...

The last time I checked, the airports and highways in Alabama were open. I suggest you chose a method of transportation and return to where ever it is that the lifestyle is so much better and less irritating for you. We will not miss you, I promise.