Friday, September 21, 2012


As I have stated many times in this blog, people here in the South don't have all that much in common with Angelenos. Now, I'm aware that's hardly front page news. But the disparities to me are stark in many everyday situations such as when Southern folks speak to me or each other or to the wind, for that matter. While Angelenos are most likely to be having heated conversations on their handheld devices, down South folks will talk directly to you or to anyone present about the most mundane subjects simply to replace silence with talk. I don't believe this characteristic is necessarily Southern. Perhaps, it is more American than anything. But it is what it is and I've even learned to do it myself to fit in, sorta.

Older folk would be your chief small talkers and they simply take whatever is there and just run with it. Someone, perhaps a gray-haired lady, might say something like, “Did you see those big, beautiful white things in the sky? They are all white with a lil bit of black and in all sorts of funny shapes like animals.” “You mean clouds?” another lady might reply knowingly. “Yeah, silly me, clouds,” the other lady might say. Or something of that nature, just filling up available audio space with incomplete thoughts.

A man might talk to another man about trucks. Trucks might be one of the few subjects one of the men knows a hell of a lot about and he might talk about them as often as he can. Or it’s perfectly ordinary for a man to make a comment to any other man about college football, for example, “Them Gamecocks is playin’ tonight, gonna beat them Yellow Jackets, can’t wait.” Something like that, where a Jew from the Westside such as I might reply, “Yup.”

One can eavesdrop on one-way conversations relating extraordinary conspiracy theories in which Obama is turning America into a Muslim, socialist state where government, taxes and Obamacare eat away at every ounce of freedom, but more often it’s something like, “Those trees are getting big.” “Yes, they are.” “They’ve been there since I can remember.” “Yeah, and they just keep growing, never stop.”

Stories need not be related in a linear fashion. They may travel through overgrown country byways before arriving back exactly where they started. “I have always collected little pewter angel statues. And you used to be able to find the best ones at flea markets in the Cumming area or near Buford. But then I got tired of that. I had so many, so I thought about selling them since they were cluttering up the whole house and the cats were knocking them over and breaking them. I even called a dealer to come over and appraise the collection, but he never showed. But you know, I just can’t part with them. They are all so pretty.”  

Having lived in Georgia now for over six years, I have become accustomed to friendly, nonsensical blather. I know that when I wait in the checkout line in any given store, the lady in front of me will be talking about sale items that no longer exist, that people’s children will be complimented and extolled as princes and princesses and that I may be called upon to comment on whatever it is I am purchasing. “These nails really do work,” the lady behind the counter says. “They sure do,” I reply. And then I walk to the car wondering where I am and how I got here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


This story has some humdinger quotes and wacky perceptions of reality, which perhaps do not display the South in its most glorious light, but it is a worthy read.