It’s common knowledge the two things to keep away from in conversation are religion and politics. Especially in the Southern States, affectionately referred to as the “Bible Belt”.
Is that a sweeping generalization? Yes. Is it warranted? Absolutely. Are there going to be more stereotypes issued by me? You have no idea what I must stifle on a daily basis. (Well, Kelly and Magnolia may have an idea
I am from the Pacific Northwest. Also know as the Gray Region of Godless Heathens, Marx-Loving-Environmentalists, United-Marijuana-Growers, Save-the-Spotted-Owl-or-Whales-or-Microscopic-Amphibian-That-No-One-Has-Ever-Heard-Of, Do-We-Take-Your-Subaru-Outback-or-My-Prius-Oh-Who-Are-We-Kidding-Because-We-Will-Ride-Our-Bicycles, I-am-Dressed-Up-This-is-My-Good-Flannel, Caffeine-Addicted-Maniacs.
(How the hell Idaho qualified as “No Religion” is beyond me. Especially when shit like this is almost a regular occurrence.
(Also, Alaska and Hawaii do not matter, because in true American fashion, “out of sight, out of mind” reigns supreme.)
I am now living in the Southeast, indicated on the above map by the magenta hellfire that apparently awaits everyone, even my “love thy neighbor” faithful.
What started this rant? The weather.
The weather was the single “safe” item to bring up in any conversation. But over and over again, I see it play out like this:
Southern Native: “Sure is getting cold.”
Northern Transplant: “There is a slight chill in the air, but it’s nothing like the winters in New York/New Jersey/Massachusetts.”
Southern Native: “Well, dear, it’s a little cold for my liking. I hear it may even snow this weekend.”
Northern Transplant: “I hope not, only because you Southerners don’t know how to drive in the snow.”
Southern Native: “Well, bless your heart! I just hope the snow won’t keep you from attending Church this Sunday.”
Northern Transplant: “?”
Southern Native: “God created snow.”
Northern Transplant: “There is no God.”
Southern Native: “You probably voted for that Muslim, too?”
Northern Transplant: “You know Reconstruction ended in the 1870s, right?”
Southern Native: “YANKEE!”
Northern Transplant: “REDNECK!”
Southern Native: “Have a blessed day.”
This fabricated conversation is not far from the truth as this is a benign weather report
that ran in my local newspaper. Please take the time to read the 80+ comments that follow.
I’m just going to say it: Southerners are afraid of change. Northerners are pretentious a-holes. I’m guilty of taking cheap shots at the South and I’ve been told to “go home” more than once.
What most Southerners fail to recognize is we followed a job, as did most transplants that fill Charlotte, not the calculated invasion the locals would have you believe. If The Husband wanted to remain employed, we had to relocate. I was excited for future experiences; Southern Hospitality, good conversation, new food and Gothic literature.
Instead, I’ve watched Charlotte struggle with an identity; public transportation expansions have stalled while the NASCAR Hall of Fame has opened and is on the road to bankruptcy.
I’ve met intelligent, creative and all-around great people. They are all transplants, too. Locals lose interest in me once an acceptable accent in not detected. My Christmas plans do not include a Church service. The horror.
Anything unfamiliar is labeled “Yankee” and the term is always used as a pejorative, but Charlotte has no problem naming neighborhoods as “NoDa”, “Midtown” and “Uptown”. They love the concept of New York, just not New Yorkers. Please come visit, Northerners, just don’t stay.
Libraries are basically non-existent and sprawling suburbia shows no sign of stopping because of how City Council operates. How are we not to discuss politics?
Every Sunday the mega-Church around the corner must have police direct traffic so the buses shuttling parishioners from off-site parking lots can make it on time. A local Mosque is constantly being vandalized with bacon. How are we not to discuss religion?
But it’s not polite to discuss such matters. Instead we will watch the snow fall from our living room windows, seething at the Atheists with a visible Christmas tree or the Baptist stocking their kitchen with bread and milk.