1. Colorful Phrases: “I’m fixin’ to”. The perfect phrase. I’m not doing it now, but I’m doing more than thinking about it. It’s going to happen but I’m not quite sure when. I’m fixing to! I think the South is the only place I don’t mind being called ma’am since everyone is ma’am and sir. Just walking down the street, morning ma’am. But my favorite of all is how the Ladies are called Miss. As in Miss Anne, Miss Gloria, Miss Tracy. You’ll have to ask Miss Anne about that price. Yes, I could really get used to that.
2. Iced Tea: I have had more iced tea in the past week than I have ever had in my life. It’s always a good time for iced tea. If you don’t asked for unsweetened tea (which…why would you?) you get a concoction that is mighty fine!
3. Space Time Continuum: People live at a different pace down South; things just don’t move as quickly. A chance meeting could turn into a two hour lunch. Saying hello to someone is not a quick chat. Asking someone about a table becomes a history lesson that includes an entire family background. A comment about the name on a napkin ring turns into a twenty minute discussion about the 4’11” woman that taught him how to polish silver. Even ordering BBQ involves a discussion about where you’re from, what Washington is like, and where a person can go to drink good (sweet) tea in Seattle.
4. Food: BBQ is everywhere. Steve asked his buddy Skip and his friends where they needed to go to get the best ribs. This turned into a thirty minute discussion (see point 3) that involved a list so long that blew Steve’s mind. The same discussion might take a minute in Seattle. One of the porters at Scotts asked me what meat we ate in Seattle (which is in and of itself an interesting query). When I told him that a lot of people didn’t even eat meat there he responded, Oh you have good seafood. I said yes, but some people are vegan. I would pay good money to have gotten a picture of his face at that moment–the perfect cross between confusion and utter disbelief. He was stunned. Why people would willingly choose to not eat meat was too much to comprehend.
5. Friendliness: Everyone here walks around with a smile on their face. Everyone, and I mean everyone says hello, even if they’re just passing you on the street. If you’re standing in line, you talk with the people next to you. If you’re on the elevator, you don’t stand there in awkward silence; you have a discussion about the weather, where you live, where you’re from. Everyone here assumes that you’re interesting, you have a good story, you’re worth a smile. When I’m in Seattle, people are polite but not friendly. Knowing how much I’ll miss it, I’ve made a promise to bring it back with me to Seattle.
I might not be there right at 10, but I’m fixin’ to get there right soon.