I live in the South. Not the deep South, not anymore, but it’s still a former Confederate state, and let me tell you….there are people around here who make sure everyone knows that. This isn’t going to be a blog post however, on the history of racism in the South. You can read Wikipedia about Jim Crow and Freedom Riders and Goodman/Cheney/Schwerner if you want to learn more, but rather, this is going to be a blog post about some of the other marked differences between where I live now, and where I’m from, which is Chicago.
- The weather — We get all four seasons here in North Cackylacky, but our summers don’t get as hot as they can sometimes get in Chicago (click here for CBS news reports about the 1995 heat wave that killed over 800 people – I remember it well), and it certainly doesn’t get as cold. We sometimes get maybe a week of real frigid weather and some snow, but it’s not the November – April nonsense I grew up with.
- The food — North Carolina does great barbecue, Chicago does great pizza. The two don’t swap. I haven’t had a truly great slice of pizza since I left in 2001. Which sucks, but I will say some of the local restaurants around the large town/small city I live in (not chains), make a decent pie. Not Giordano’s/Leona’s/Father & Son/Pizzeria Uno/Lou Malnati’s….but better than Domino’s and Pizza Hut.
- The pace of life — Things are just slower down here. I’m an urban, hustle and bustle kind of gal, and around here, people like to take their sweet-ass time. That can be a good thing, and it can be a bad thing. It depends on the situation.
- Southern hospitality — We don’t have that. People around here say “ma’am” and “sir,” older gentlemen will tip their hats to a lady, and for the most part, kids are well-mannered. Chicago is not known for its politeness to strangers. It wasn’t until I moved South that I discovered people even did that.
- The politics/religion — This one should be fairly obvious. I’m from Chicago, the bluest of blue cities in one of the bluest of blue states, and I live in North Carolina, which has recently tinged purple, but the town I live in is very, very red. For a liberal atheist like myself, that means 100% of the time, I disagree with everyone else about everything. I rather like that, though. You never know how truly strong your beliefs are when you live in an echo chamber and have all of them parroted back to you all the time. Living here, I’m constantly challenging others and being challenged myself. It makes you intellectually stronger. It doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes wish a meteor would strike the state capital (Fuck you, Pat McCrory, you’re a cock.), but hey. You win some, you lose some.