July 29, 2007

Thoughts About Nothing

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 degrees, 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 possibility of slick roads, it is all the people trying to see how fast they can drive their 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, because 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 over sized 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 bloated 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 restaurants 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 irritating 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. Pork is in everything.

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.



Anonymous said...

Ok do I really have to explain to you how funny #1 is to me? They would die here in the winter, believe me.

#2 is quite odd to me because Québéquers don't attend mass anymore. When I went to Ireland and met a deacon from Louisiana and he told me on Sundays they have 2 masses with over 500 people per mass, huh????? Not our reality here.

#3 If only you could be hit just a little by a lovely-single lady driving a SUV, then it would be all worth it, right? ;-)


Well I definitely can't move to Alabama. ;-)

Hope you're having a good weekend!


Peacechick Mary said...

Thanks for the warning. Isn't two Alabama Universities competing with one another over academics a lot like two severely obese men getting together to compare beer bellies?

niCk (Mem Beth) said...

Nancy - 1. People look at me weird because I'm in shorts until the temps reach 50's, and I run in shorts all year.

2. I even know atheists that go to church every Sunday. Why? Because that is like the "thing" to do on Sunday.

3. I was hit by a car once, but it was a Soccer Mom in a minivan, and she barely bumped into to me, and it was my fault. She nearly broke down crying when I fell down, apologizing. I felt bad for her, but I was too embarrassed about what happened to accept any sympathy.

As for the rest, I agree. No way I could live here, either, if I knew it was like this before I came. It is surreal some days. I keep asking myself, "How did I end up here?"

Peacechick - LOL, that is a great analogy, can I use it?

Peacechick Mary said...

Just thought I'd let you know, Blogger won't let me comment on the Soccer post. I was going to say - I like the idea of a soccer field in place of the battle field.

Undeniable Liberal said...

EEewwww and yuck. I think I would have to lock myself in the house on Sundays.

Blueberry said...

#1. It is exactly like that here. I have to laugh all "winter".

The others don't really apply so much in Austin, but once you get out there past the city limits, it gets very, very different -- and those other numbers DO apply. The trucks, the meat, the health and wisdom.

Evil Spock said...

Evil Spock likes boiled peanuts . . .

Pam said...

BWAAAHAAAAHAAAAA!! Oh the memories!!

I always did my shopping when Alabama played Auburn (or Tennessee) in a football game. The store was EMPTY. Hell, I could have shoplifted if I had been a thief, b/c the clerks who drew the short straw and had to work were gathered around a radio and VERY resentful if you tried to pay for something, unless it was halftime or a commercial.

As for the Alabama vs. Auburn academic rivalry - that'd be Alabama hands down. Trust me on that one. People from my high school who scored 12s on their ACT got into Auburn. I just can't decide which one is the bigger PARTY school.