Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Things I’ve learned during two months in the South

--The farther south you go, the smaller the squirrels and the larger the cockroaches.  In Boston I’ve seen squirrels that outweighed my cat; on the other hand, in South Carolina I’ve seen roaches that could be mistaken for moderately sized magnolia leaves.

--In the south, ants don’t build anthills.  They build mountains.  I’ve seen mounds of cinnamon-colored earth spring up across the grass overnight.  If I didn’t know they were anthills, I would guess someone had been burying the evidence of a grisly crime.  They’re certainly large enough to hide most major body parts.

--Grocery stores are different creatures in the south.  Where, north of the Mason-Dixon Line, would you find any of the following?  1) A large selection of lard in variously sized cans.  2) Pickled eggs (pink, no less!).  3) Pigs’ feet.

--Distance is relative.  Even as far south as the DC area, a 30-mile drive is something you do to get to Grandma’s on Thanksgiving and avoid at all other times.  (Unless you’re a victim of that infamous thing called the Commute, in which case you spend at least 50% of your waking hours hunched behind the wheel trying not to get run off the road.)  In this part of the Carolinas, 30 miles gets you to the above-mentioned grocery store.  One way.  However, you’re very unlikely to be run off the road on your way there, unless it’s by a deer.

--Temperature is also relative.  The weather recently dipped into the 50s and my coworkers immediately started expressing concern that I was still roughing it and walking to work in the cold.

--Attitudes toward weather are contagious.  I scoffed (secretly, of course) at those fair-weather walkers who thought I was some sort of masochist exposing myself to the chill for an hour every day.  But as my memories of a whole winter hoofing it around Reykjavik fade, I fear I’m starting to see my coworkers’ point after all.  Could it be true that the blood thins when you don’t have to contend with the bone-chilling cold of the Northeast?

Time will tell….