—Instead of good-bye at—where else?—Nashville’s Pancake Pantry, our waitress bid adieu with a “be blessed,” just dripping with sugary sweet Southern goodness.
—There’s American cheese on my omelet. (Not. Real. Cheese.)
—Everything else on the table is processed and dispensed from a bottle.
—It barely took deboarding the plane to get peppered with every Southerner’s favorite question, “when are you getting married?” followed immediately by “so when are you having kids?” A friend actually said to me last night, “[redacted] is turning 27 at the end of the year and doesn’t even have his first kid on the way! That’s so late to start having kids; he better get started soon.” And he was serious as a heart attack.
—FoxNews is blaring in the background of our home, while my granddad yells, “I can’t find my ears (his hearing aids)!”
—The “supper” options in this town are limited to Ruby Tuesday’s, Applebee’s and Red Lobster. I wish I were kidding.
—Kids not related to us just walk in the door whenever they please. (They’re unbearably cute; they can get away with it.)
—I was just asked how close I live to “San Josie” (not Jose).
—I’ve ditched my shoes in favor of barefeet, and don’t lock the doors so aforementioned kids can pop by when they like.
—No one calls others by their real names; rather it’s “shug” (“sugar”), “toots” (“tootsie”) or “hun.”
—I might just spend all day tomorrow, my only full day home, lounging by the pool, sweet tea in hand.
—“Fixin’ to” has re-entered my lexicon.
—The highways are littered with billboard “notes from Jesus” and other church-y paraphernalia trying to guilt you into where you spend your Sunday morning. (I should add, I am in no way opposed to church or religion; I just don’t think it should be so strictly forced upon anyone in such a tasteless manner.)
—A sales associate at a boutique asked “why on Earth” did I move to San Francisco, because, well, the thought of moving outside of Tennessee—now, ever—is simply unfathomable for many Tennesseans. They’re a bit like Texans, only less obnoxious on the paraphernalia front (Texas, I love you, but the flag on everything—lawn chairs, belts, tattoos—gets a bit much at times).
I’m heading from Tennessee to my cousin’s med school graduation in Mobile, Alabama, on Friday, so I’m sure there will be even more redneckness to come, the further South I venture…
(See more on back where I come from here.)