So, uh, yes I did jump on this bandwagon and so what if I did. You love it.
We've been in Tennessee for over five years. I have owned a kiddie pool and drank iced beverages in it in my bikini to beat the heat. I've said 'Y'all' and July and August are becoming indoor months instead of the two most glorious months of the Northern summer. I've been here long enough that I'm starting to lay claim to some of the common occurrences that define the greater Memphis area existence.
I know now that 'Bless your heart' doesn't necessarily mean that someone thinks that you're grand, but they may think that you're a little special. I've learned that women down here love their nail salons. There's one every five feet, and getting daisies painted on your big toe is the norm. Most of the jewelry for women is adorned with mammoth rhinestones and crosses, and if you're not down with J.C., you'll often get the side-eye.
Race relations are a bit tense in some parts of Memphis, and if you walk into the 'wrong' mall, you may be asked if you're lost. Responding with 'Hell nah!' is not appropriate.
I've also learned that it's a good thing to stop and talk with your neighbor. It's not unheard of and damn well expected to lend a hand to one in need. Eye contact and smiling is common, and people take the time beyond a head-down 'Hello' to get the latest gossip or just to see that you're doin' alright. Averting eyes as you pass someone in the hallway isn't common down here. Waving as you drive by is.
People don't tend to jog a lot, but they love to bike. Oh, yes, they love those spandex. Sundays find driveways packed with family cars for family dinners, like clockwork. Kids spill out into the road and play until after dark. People call me 'Miss Noelle' and one girl told me that she 'wants six kids' and asked me why we don't have any. She seemed flummoxed. I told her our pets kept us busy. Her brow immediately unfurrowed and she smiled. Made kid sense.
I've met good ol' boys with hearts of gold and plain good ol' boys. I've met people who were so curious about me that I was almost offended, and I offended them by not spilling my guts. I explained that we're just quiet and they've accepted us as their weird, Northern neighbors.
Bless our hearts.