Monday, April 29, 2013

"What was the weirdest thing about moving from New York to Tennessee?"

After Day 28, I figured Day 29 could stay light, so I've been saving this topic all month. My friend Shannon would like to know:

"What was the weirdest thing about moving from New York to Tennessee?"

This is a good question, because there's a lot of weird stuff here. This, for example, belonged to one of my neighbors when I moved in:

big orange army

and this was parked next to it:

ground force

I moved here during the election year when Tennessee voted to ban gay marriage:

election signs

and discovered that there are anti-gay, anti-abortion Democratic politicians.

No, really.

They are farther to the right than New York Republicans. Discovering that they existed was also weird.

None of this, though, was actually the weirdest thing. The thing that freaked me out the most, and kept catching me off guard for weeks after I moved here, was that total strangers talk to you in the grocery store if you happen to look up and make eye contact.

And it's hard not to make eye contact when you're steering a cart.

Every time I came around a corner, someone would look up, smile, and say hi. Sometimes they even added a "How are you?", and for weeks I was constantly offering a tentative, "....Hello....?" while internally thinking, "I DON'T KNOW YOU!" I was from New York, and in New York you don't make eye contact with strangers unless you're trying to intimidate them. And if strangers talk to you, you certainly don't engage in conversation. They might be trying to rob you or get you to join their cult or something.

That was then, of course.

Now I carry on entire conversations with the cashier at Kroger and don't bat an eye. Southern hospitality may be something worth having after all.

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