Different in the South

Different in the South

Driving

The roads here are insane. The sharply curved on/off ramps and narrow lanes that I drive here in South Carolina would cause a ridiculous amount of accidents in Alaska. But then, we have this stuff called snow and ice on the roads up there more often than not, and these roads would be deadly when you tend to skid and fishtail just as a normal part of driving.

Turn signals. No one here, except truckers, has ever heard of turn signals. That has got to be the case, because no one uses them.

Accelerating and decelerating as if you were in a race/timed obstacle course is not really necessary. Waiting until the last second to break for a red light will not get you where you’re going any quicker.
Again, a healthy dose of snow/ice would kill thousands here.

Drinking

There seem to be 3 schools of thought here. Drink as if the more you drink, the better off you are; or don’t drink at all and look down on those that do; or don’t ask, don’t tell drinkers. There is nothing recreational about drinking here, it’s serious business. There are of course, uncategorized exceptions like those that buy really expensive wine and discuss it as if they just bottled it themselves, or go to the one micro brew in town and wear a beret only once in a while, because honestly they don’t really drink because people that drink are uncouth.

In Alaska, you drank, or you didn’t or you used to or you will someday and it didn’t depend on your age or politics. No matter what you could make up your own mind about drinking and only your close
friends or family ever knew or even cared about your drinking habits, whether you be lush or teetotaler or somewhere in between.

Food

The only serious discussion about cuisine anyone ever gets into here is about barbecue. Mustard based or vinegar, or both or red or none of the above. It is extremely regional, and there have been some extremely angry discussions about it, where everyone thinks they’ve won at the end and “that ‘low lander’” or whoever “was wrong and I schooled them.” The only question I get asked about Alaskan cuisine is if I’ve ever eaten whale blubber. Which I have, and I highly recommend to them if they ever visit Alaska, mainly because I am tired of the question and hope they pursue eating it if they ever do visit Alaska because they deserve to puke their guts out for being so bothersome.

Actual cooking here, when friends and family get together always involves barbecue. And I don’t mean grilling, I mean pork in whatever regional barbecue sauce you’ve been right about in every argument you’ve ever had about it. Black eyed peas are very common and greens appear at most occasions. Grits are talked about as if everyone eats them, but I don’t see it served often. Perhaps because I am not a breakfast person, and am usually still unconscious at breakfast times on weekends when I could possibly be around other people eating breakfasts, recovering from trying to keep up with those who drink.

And then we have boiled peanuts. Boiled peanuts are a love or hate thing. Kind of like onions. Except with onions, if you hate them, people get it. If you hate boiled peanuts, and tell a boiled peanut lover that fact, they go through the 5 stages of grief before they can just let you not like boiled peanuts. I know this, because I love boiled peanuts AND YOU SHOULD TOO DAMMIT *cry*.

Diversity

There are a lot of people from more northerly areas that seem to think the south is a hotbed of racism and bigotry. But since moving here, I haven’t seen it. Perhaps because I live in a predominantly white
neighborhood and really only see any diversity at my job, where everyone seems to get along just fine. I saw more blatant racism in Alaska, mostly directed at Alaskan Natives than I have seen here, in an area historically known for it.

This is of course from a mostly urban perspective.

Accents

Contrary to popular belief, not everyone in the south speaks with an accent like Jeff Foxworthy. There are varying degrees of it even within families that grew up together, and I blame society for that. This nation, or at least the non southern/more influenced by Hollywood part, hears a southern drawl and assumes you’re a moron. I hardly hear any people under the age of 25 or so that have a really thick accent. The more exposure to mainstream television and other audible media, the less of an accent is my theory.

Regarding the accent. I have figured the secret to a thick southern drawl is every vowel is said with two syllables. Once you get that figured out, the rest comes together. The word “all” for instance,
is pronounced “Ah wull”. “You” is “yeee ooo”. “Think” is “Thi (long I) eenk”. “Those” is “Tho (long O) wuhs”.

Politics

The stereotype of older Republican younger Democrats is alive and well here. That’s about all I have to say about politics except VOTE LIBERTARIAN!

Weather

The heat is murderous here, but no more murderous than the cold in Alaska, and it only lasts for about a month. In Alaska, you deal with the cold by staying inside by the heat. Here, you stay in near the air conditioner. If you have to go out in the cold in Alaska, you put on enough layers to keep warm, and try to keep moving to stay warm, and not stay outside for long. Here in the south, you wear as close to nothing as you can get away with and sweat a lot and are generally pretty miserable. Up north, I wore my hair down a lot. Here, what with the fact that you WILL be sweating at some point in the day, I wear it up if I’m going to be moving more than 10 feet from where I started. Most of the older women here have very short hair, because, well, they are smarter than me.

Bugs

Here, bugs are noisy. In the Summer there is a constant dull uproar in the trees and undergrowth. Back in Alaska, you hear the low hum of mosquito’s in some places where they are especially thick, but not many mother bugs make sounds at all. I wonder why that is. Why evolve noisy bugs here and quiet bugs there?

For the most part, bugs are bigger here as well. Except for the mosquito’s. Here they are tiny, stealthy, and I never know I’ve been bit until they are full and gone. Sneaky damn bugs!

I haven’t encountered many fire ants yet, but they are in the area for sure. The other ants here seem the same as up north. Industrious and numerous and can get into anything and everything and routinely do.

The bug season here is much longer than in Alaska of course.

Reptiles

OMG there are reptiles and frogs and such here! So far I have encountered; tons of little tiny lizards that change color when they move from one place to another to blend in and have a red neck flap that they extend in what I assume is a mating display; one little tiny snake that was probably some sort of brown snake (I touched his tail oh boy); I dug up 2 male five striped skinks in the Spring under a pine tree out front that I was preparing a flower bed under (they were mad, but pretty sluggish as it was only 55 degrees out, one ran up the tree, the other across the driveway); and the brown toad that lives where the washing machine drains under a bush next to the house, near the outdoor water faucet.

Now, I can’t say that Alaska has none of these. Apparently somewhere in the southeast there is a garter snake that manages to survive, and I have seen the little tiny black/brown tree frog that is the only native amphibian, I believe. I’ve never seen the snake, but one of the tree frogs hopped right in my front door one morning. I was so excited I woke my now ex husband up to come look at it. We marveled for quite a while before herding it back outside, where it took a few hops and disappeared into the grass. I could swear that I saw one of those frogs as a kid in a ditch near the Glenn Highway in Peters Creek, but my memory isn’t very clear on the matter.

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