Thursday, November 13, 2014

It Was My Fault

Most of you know that I was born and raised in South Carolina, and Cindy in Sunny Southern California, I had never been to California until I met Cindy and she had never been to the South, and with this said I now understand why she runs everywhere at full speed and leaves me strolling slowly behind.

We went to South Carolina back in August and Cindy got reintroduced to the laid back lifestyle that I grew up with, needless to say it about drove her crazy, pull up to a fast food joint in California and order anything, by the time you drive around to the window they are taking your money and handing your goodies to you.

In South Carolina you pull up to the speaker and give them your order, then pull around to the window and sit while they prepare your meal, get your drink, ask about your day, your kids, your Mama, and if they are talking to me the conversation only gets longer, if they are talking to Cindy the conversation usually ends with “You aint from around here are you honey?”

I kid you not I heard this several times during our trip, three different times at the same Waffle House on three different days, by three different waitresses, the first time we were with my sister and brother in law, we were all sitting and talking about how well Cindy and my family had always gotten along, I had just made the statement that Cindy fit in so well you would think she was the sister and I had married into the family.

The waitress brings our drinks and begins to take our orders, along with the sharing of her life story which we all found interesting, but yet Cindy was ready to place her order, going down the line my sister and her husband ordered, I went all out and ordered Eggs, bacon, cheese grits, a waffle, and raisin toast, with sugar free syrup to keep my blood sugar in check.

Cindy ordered almost the same thing but when it came to the grits, which is a staple in the South and comes with nearly every breakfast meal, rather than simply ask for hash browns she instead chose her words poorly by saying, “Don’t put any grits on my plate, I don’t eat those things, bring me some crunchy hash browns instead” The waitress just slowly shook her head, leaned down and said “Yall aint from around here are you honey?”

My sister, brother in law, and I almost in unison said, “I was born right here, see I ordered grits”, while Cindy at the same time said “Nope I’m from California”, and this is when the whole restaurant went silent and everyone slowly turned to look at her, as quickly as it got quiet the clatter of silverware began again real soon almost in harmony as everyone turned back to their meals.

I suggested that next time she should just say, I think I will have hash browns instead and leave it at that, but the next two times we went there she received a “You aint from around here are you honey?” followed once by a “Bless your heart” from our original waitress.

The whole family still accepts Cindy and aside from her disliking grits she still fits in just like she was there from the beginning.

Back in California she blends into the crowd just as well, she can negotiate the freeway with the best of them and switch lanes passing people like they are sitting still, I cower in the passenger seat and try to not look out the windows because even though I like Nascar racing, I don’t care much for being a passenger while my wife is bump drafting a slow car in the fast lane.
I get left behind whenever we go into a department store, lumber yard, grocery store, parking lot, heck Cindy says she loses me everywhere, not only does she walk faster than me, she also accuses me of stopping to talk with everyone, she says no matter where we go I find someone to talk to.

At one of the bookstores looking to buy a Bible for my Mom out of the blue a man yells to me from across the aisle, “Hey man, you aint from around hear are you?” to make a long story short about forty five minutes later a gentleman from Louisiana and I were still having a conversation, while Cindy was standing behind me whispering in my ear that we really needed to leave, I think they were trying to close the store or something but yet neither my new friend nor I were in a hurry.

A lot of people in public will randomly ask me where I am from when I speak, I am told that I have an accent, and this lead me to hear, “Where are you from?” or “You are not from California are you” so in California I get the same results Cindy does in the South.

Before we moved to California few years back, while on a visit here we were approached by a person selling family pictures, asking where we were from Cindy replied that we were living in New Mexico, then she went on to explain that she was born and raised right here in California.

With a blank look the young man replied, I would have never guessed that because it looks like you have lost your California accent, California accent? I was thinking, when Cindy pointed at me and said, its all his fault.

Where were you born and do you live there now?

36 comments:

  1. You should try ordering a breakfast sandwich in a NYC deli at 8 AM. If you pause for a second, they take someone else's order.

    I'm not one for grits either, but i love that "Bless your heart" thing.

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    1. Hi Joe, I have a feeling that I'd be one who would get skipped over.

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    2. JoeH and Jimmy, I almost got skipped over while ordering in NY. I was in my early 20s and having my first trip to NY as an adult. I was a little insulted when the guy behind the deli counter gave me a nasty look. :) However, point taken and lesson learned.

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    3. Anita, I'd most likely look over my shoulder to see who he was glaring at and get skipped anyway ha ha

      It appears that it didn't take you long to learn the local customs, good thing you didn't get skipped :)

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  2. GREAT post, Jimmy! And the more you share about Cindy, the more I love her! I have a feeling that she and I would get along famously because I move at the speed she does...FAST.

    Even though I was born and live in Philadelphia, where the people move SO slow, I'm much more like a New Yorker, where the people move VERY fast.

    However, I have to say that when I'm visiting other areas of the States (like Florida), where they move much slower, I kind of get into it and slow my pace.

    And please tell Cindy that I love crispy hash browns too!

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    1. Hey Ron, I can just see you two together and have a feeling that you are 100% correct on how well you would get along.

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  3. Cindy has never tasted my grits, or she just might change her mind! They are delicious, even if I do say so myself!

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    1. Hey Ms. A, you bring up a good point, it's all in how they are prepared, the quick boiled ones are indeed gritty with no flavor where the slow properly cooked grits are the best.

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  4. I was born and raised in Akron, but have lived in Cleveland for the last 26 years. Even though the cities are not far apart, there are definitely some differences in speech and words/phrases used and I've been told by people in other areas of the state that I have a Cleveland accent.

    I did a post years ago about going to SC and asking a waitress what sweet tea was. She went back and told the kitchen staff so they could look at me.

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    1. Hi Bijoux, funny how people pick up accents from the areas in which they live, and also interesting of the differences across the country.

      Ahh yes sweet tea my Mom always has a fresh picture in the fridge, when you get to the South if you don't specify unsweet tea you will automatically get the sweetest tea you have ever tasted :)

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    2. ...and you have to say it correctly: swite tay.

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    3. Oh Yes it's all in how you say it, you do want to be understood :)

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  5. I think I'd love Cindy... although I have to admit that I've slowed down a lot lately. It's no good me telling you where I was born.... smiles.

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    1. Hi Valerie, I think we all slow down a bit as the years pass, and yes I think you and Cindy would be great friends, as for your birthplace you are most likely right as we have never been on your side of the pond.

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  6. too cute. i can just see the scene at the waffle house. :)

    20+ years in wisconsin then moved to texas for the last 30+ years. people still ask where i'm from.

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    1. A lot of interesting things happen in the Waffle House ha ha

      Wisconsin to Texas was that sort of a culture shock at first? I think we all retain some of our home accents and mannerisms no matter how long we have been away :)

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  7. I was born in the California Bay Area, near San Francisco, but for thirty-five years I've lived in Portland Oregon. I don't know if i have an accent. I imagine to people on the East Coast I do.

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    1. Hi Stephen, we never hear our own accents, I bet you are right if you were to travel to the East cost most likely you would be asked where you are from.

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  8. I get CIndy, but then I have lived in Southern CA most my life. We have one speed and it is FAST. When we lived in Santa Fe New Mexico, they knew we were not natives because we always ordered our chili sauce on the side. Right now we live in the San Diego area.

    Betty

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    1. Hi Betty, being a Socal girl I just imagine you and she do have a lot of the same mannerisms, We spent our honeymoon in Santa Fe and lived in Clovis, NM for a number of years, and yes simple things like how you order food can show you are from another area.

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  9. Born, raised and still live in Northern Indiana and even though I am very familiar with the South and it's lifestyle, everyone can tell I'm a "Yankee" when I talk in North Carolina. My lack of accent or their thinking I have one gives me away.

    Another note - I went to California over Christmas break years ago. The weather dipped into the 70's and the Californians in their fur coats thought it was ridiculous that my brother and I were running around in shorts.

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    1. Hey Jeff, the accent or lack thereof does it every time, people here in California say that I have a heavy accent but my family claim that I have lost a lot of it ha ha

      Oh yes when the temperatures dip below 70 in Southern California everyone about freezes to death, I remember laughing at everyone when we first moved here, now I grab a jacket like everyone else.

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  10. I'm German, born and bread, but I came to this country when I was 20. From what I understand, I still have a slight accent (you are right - we don't hear our own accents). I lived in the Buffalo, NY, area for most of my time here, but noticed the difference between The North and The South when we moved to South Carolina.

    When we first moved there and I was still painfully aware of those differences, I was at a Walmart checkout price-matching Pepsi. I said, "...and the pop is 99 cents at this other store..." The cashier looked at me and said, "Where are you from?" And I looked at him all confused. What did he want me to say? Germany? New York? Where did I belong? And then he smiled a little smile and said, "Because you said 'pop'." And then I knew what to say: "Oh, I'm from New York!"

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    1. I imagine coming over from Germany to New York was a culture shock to begin with, then New York to South Carolina for another.

      Yes calling it pop in South Carolina would get you a bit of attention, I always remember calling it Coke, no matter what kind of carbonated soda it was it was simply called Coke :)

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  11. Ha! I've been to California once to visit my father-in-law. Too much constant movement for me!
    I'm from small town Colorado, and now I'm in bigger city Colorado. My husband grew up in Denver which is way different from my small coal mining hometown, but still Colorado enough.

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    1. Hi Abby, The constant movement is too much for me also, we actually live in a rural area where it is quiet, but a few miles down the road is a whole different world. Small towns are becoming a thing of the past don't you think?

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  12. My hubby and I are both from Maryland, but we've been in Georgia since 1971. A little bit of a culture shock,especially on the political side of things. But not as different as coming from two different sides of the country. Well, the pairing of a left-coaster and a right-coaster seems to be working as well as us... a left-winger and a right-winger.

    Fun post! Thanks so much for the nice review on Amazon and Goodreads.I reeeeally appreciate it. Happy weekend!

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    1. Hey Susan, I guess opposites do attract and it seems we left and right go together after all :)

      Where I lived in SC is straight up 85 from Atlanta, and yes I imagine the political side of things was a lot different than what you were accustomed to, but again things are always different when you go into another area.

      It appears you are at home in Georgia now but isn't it true that your hometown is always there when someone asks where you are from?

      You are very welcome on the review, you deserved it in my opinion :)

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  13. The grits things get me every time. Having been raised in Georgetown, South Carolina my grandfather got me hooked at a very young age of mashing my fried eggs into the mound of steaming grits on my plate then mixing the two up until the yolk had colored everything yellow. Something I continue to do every time we go out for breakfast.

    In fact at an IHOP in Orlando, Florida a few years back I'm mashing my eggs into my grits when a person at the very next table starts to gag. When I look over some lady is staring at my plate right when my grits are just starting to turn yellow from the runny egg yolks being mixed in. Long story short, everyone in her group had to move to a different table because she told the waitress she was certain to be sick if she saw me begin to eat.

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    1. That is exactly how I eat mine too, crumble your bacon into the mixture and if you don't have red eye or coffee gravy then simply add a small spoon of your coffee, man I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.

      I have seen those looks at restaurants before, can't say I ever had anyone gag but did get a lot of attention.

      Have you ever watched people add sugar to theirs? In my opinion that just ain't right, what do you think of that?

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  14. I was born in Mississippi, raised in Memphis, and have lived in eastern TN, Ky, Missouri, and have lived in Alabama for 35 years I have had only the slow-boiled grits, and I cannot stomach grits in any form. Even cheese grits turns my stomach. Around here in rural AL, people point out I am not from around here. They assume I am from somewhere up North. I was reared by parents who would not stand for poor enunciation, plus I am an English teacher and have studied Spanish, Latin, Greek, and Japanese, all of which made me aware of how to pronounce each word. Of course, when I went to NYC, everyone thought I had an accent. I am not trying to rid myself of any accent I have.

    Okay, I am going to try something to distract me from the smell, taste, and texture of grits.

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    1. Hi Linda, A lot of people do run their words together and depending on where you are, proper pronunciation will make you sound different from everyone else in the crowd, your knowledge of other languages and the English language included simply gives you an advantage to understand more than a lot of us and in my opinion that is indeed something to be proud of.

      As for the grits my wife feels the same as you, do you like cream of wheat and or oatmeal, or is it simply the texture of that type of food?

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  15. It appears that I'm the first Virginian to comment. I was born in Norfolk, home of the world's largest navel station. Divorced parents dictated a move to Michigan for a year at age 11, then back to VA. Boredom in my early 20s made me move to NOVA (Northern VA) and then to Maryland for 9 years. The husband rescued me from that awful Washington beltway and moved me back to VA, just outside of Richmond. And yes, I like grits. Must be soft, cheap Quaker Oats... not to gritty. :)
    Have you posted the story of how you and Cindy met? If not, you must.

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    1. Hey Anita, It looks like Virgina continues to call you home, which is a good thing and with being from there you absolutely know about grits ;)

      I will have to look back through the archives, I feel sure I posted one on how we met, I know there are a lot about family vacations with the kids and such, it appears I may have to do some re posts or simply tell the stories again :)

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  16. Great post Jimmy! Touching and humorous at the same time. I'm from the south, but I've been out here for almost all my life. I'm kind of like you though, I always seem to have a conversation with somebody where ever I go. I'm okay in the city, but I spend as much time in the mountains and desert as I can. You and Cindy seem to make a great couple in my eyes. Meeting the both of you in person, didn't change that fact at all.

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  17. Hey Pat, Like you I do ok in the city but give me the mountains or at least the view of from a rural area any day.

    Thank you sir we both enjoyed meeting you also, and look forward to meeting up again.

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