My blog contains a large number of posts. A few are included in various other publications, or as attached stories and chronicles in my emails; many more are found on loose leaves, while some are written carelessly in margins and blank spaces of my notebooks. Of the last sort most are nonsense, now often unintelligible even when legible, or half-remembered fragments. Enjoy responsibly.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The South (Part I)

Welcome Back to the South

I lived in the South many years ago, have just moved back and am reliving some discoveries I found when I lived here years ago. First and foremost is that most everything is easy to understand and intentionally uncomplicated to the point of obscurity. The people here are simpler. And by that I don’t mean dumber, just simpler. If a girl wants to look pretty she puts on heavy makeup and makes her hair as big as it can be. If a guy wants to talk to someone about his new truck, he will find somewhere very public, like a grocery store, and stand next to it until someone stops to ask him about it - which someone invariably does. Plus, they have an annoying habit of constantly stating what it is that you’re doing as a question. It’s an uncomplicated place. Think the 1950s with less racism and better technology.

What I don’t remember from my years living here previously is the overwhelming peacocking that is so prevalent. To me, when you go out of your way to show the world something that you have just acquired, you are telling people that it is something nicer than you are used to having. Whether it’s a new cellphone, a shiny car, or money, nothing says that it’s something you’re not used to having like showing it off. When it comes to finances, this is known as being nouveau riche (literally, “newly rich”).

Now I know that these people shouldn’t have any bearing on my life. Lowered Hummers with chrome rims or t-shirts that cost more than laptops really amuse me. And I love when people have tricked themselves out with the latest horrible fashions or have gone completely over the top to look either trashy or expensive (usually the same). I am forever pointing out the ridiculously obscene to friends and family. But it is the sheer abundance of these people in the South that is amazing.

My hope over the next couple months of living here is to teach random Southerners the fine art of subtly. I do not know when it will happen, but I will make sure that I explain exactly why they look ridiculous and how to be a bit deeper than they really are. Barring that, I will mock them relentlessly while feeling jealous of their ability to be so easily pleased.

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