Yesterday my mean-ass editor reflected on the conditions causing his friend Daniel to flee city life for the joys of the country. Apparently Daniel’s not the only one, and it’s not just Northerners fleeing for the country life. The West Coast is apparently driving former residents to the heart of America.
I can’t say I’m thrilled at this development, personally. Part of the joy in country living is there’s not as many people. Still, as the day progressed, it dawned on me I might be able to help a few of you coming this way to learn the ropes. After all, we’re going to be living near each other, so we might as well be civil.
Consider the following some helpful hints from a local on how to really enjoy country life. Keep in mind that what I’m outlining assumes you’re moving to the South. There’s country life everywhere, and these tips might not work as well in other rural locales.
Oh and before anyone gets started: Florida isn’t part of the South. We got together in a meeting after the “Florida Man” stuff got out of hand and mutually agreed Florida was better off doing its own thing.
- “Sir” and “Ma’am” are regularly used, especially when we’re addressing people in the service industry. Your refusal or negligence regarding these terms is a dead giveaway you’re not from around here.
- One thing we don’t expect you to adopt is the term “y’all.” It really only sounds right when Southerners say it.
- Cultivate attitudes of minding your manners and your business. It goes a long way.
- Church invitations are like dinner invitations. Don’t take them personally, and if it really bothers you just smile, politely decline, and say you’ve got other plans. You might want to consider taking them up on the offer even if you aren’t religious so you’ve got an excuse to partake in the lunch after services held in the Fellowship Hall. Some of the best food you’ll ever taste in your life resides in church Fellowship Halls.
- The term “bless your heart” conveys deep empathy and is a dreadful, fight-provoking insult. The tone of the person uttering the phrase determines which. You’ll know.
- As a reader mentioned yesterday, we really would prefer if you kept your opinions about how things were better “back there” to yourself. You came here for a reason. Enjoy what you’ve got.
- We aren’t really as obsessed with the Civil War, the Confederate Flag, or monuments as you’d think. We discovered hobbies while y’all were looking elsewhere. We just prefer if you left shit nice and clean while you’re around and we don’t like it when people just break shit for no reason.
- Read the room when attempting to discuss sports with locals. As an example, asking someone in East Tennessee if they’re planning on watching the football game this week means you’re asking about how the Vols will fare on Saturday. As far as the NFL, not everyone in Tennessee cares for the Titans.
- The only electric car exempt from ridicule is a Tesla. Gas is cheap enough around here for you to purchase and use a proper car.
- We’re generally the welcoming sort. We’ll try hard to overlook how you sound or where you came from. Y’know, unlike how y’all do us every time we travel.
- If you’re the sort that insists on being called they/them or ze/zir, we’ll oblige you because we don’t want to insult you. We may not talk much with you after that, but still.
- A note on food: we fry everything. Roll with it.
- “We’re having BBQ” “We’re having a BBQ” are two different methods of articulating gaining access to a certain type of smoky, savory meat. That meat doesn’t involve burgers or hot dogs. Grilling those is called a “Cook-Out.”
- A surefire way to break the ice with locals and get them on your good side is to ask for their favorite place to eat no one knows about. Even if it’s the hottest spot in town, we’ve all got our picks and are happy to share.
- If you’re invited fishing, bring beer. Preferably a case. It’s not always about what you catch.
Hope this helps if you’re considering a move, already moved, or moving. We’ll be seeing you. To everyone: Happy Friday! We’ll see you back next week, y’hear?