When I moved to Georgia with my GAP sweaters and my reluctance to the outdoors and/or dirt I had no idea what was waiting for me. Less than a year later I was riding on the back of a four wheeler with camouflage boots and a redneck boyfriend. I had joined the culture of the South and I loved it.
Almost 7 years later I have left the South that I learned to love so much and moved to the West, quite another culturally distinct place. From hippies, to hobos, to immigrants, this place is quite the mixture!
But my favorite thing is when the South meets the West.
When the South meets the West worlds collide and sweetness tries to seep into standoffishness. When the South meets the West the Southern drawl woos the normally indifferent into being interested and kind and everything becomes more colorful.
How you know a Southerner in the West:
1. They ask complete strangers how they are doing.
When my friend Kyle was stationed here before he left for Afghanistan we would be walking down the street and he would actually ask complete strangers how they were doing. At first I wondered if he mysteriously knew everyone in the city of Burbank, but then I realized that was almost impossible. If you are a Southerner, everyone deserves a hello!
2. They say “thank you” to everyone....and I mean everyone.
My friend Casey Cone has graced the state of California with her Southern drawl and she never ceases to say “thank you very much” to everyone from the busboy, to the cashier, to the person who hands us a check at a restaurant. At first I just thought she was the most grateful person in the whole world, then I realized that its just what Southerners do.
3. “ma’am” and “sir”....need I say more?
I came back to California from Christmas with more manners than I had used in the past six months combined. I called everyone “ma’am” and “sir” and I had to admit, I liked the ring it had to it.
I think I have realized that when the South collides with the West everything becomes a whole lot more fun. I catch a little bit of the Southern accent and I like to believe that the lives of those around me and my visitors gets a little bit brighter. Kindness and manners are contagious, and when you bring the South to the West the joy spreads.
And this Virginia/Georgia/California girl now wears her GAP shirts with camouflage pants and her new hipster shirt-jacket.
Hey, no one said you have to match in California.