While on vacation in Myrtle Beach, I realized that one thing I had forgotten about the South (Hubby and I lived in Charlotte, NC and Charleston, SC while dating and early in our marriage) was how friendly people are.
Everywhere we went, we were asked, "Where ya'll from?" and were immediately engaged in conversation. (Of course, with 5 males decked out in some sort of Red Sox gear at all times, we may have been a bit conspicuous.)
We were definitely in the minority as Northerners down there. It seemed most of the vacationers were Southerners who had driven to the beach from their hometowns.
Seemed like, for some reason, most of the little girls were named Hailey (Halley?Halle?Hayley?) and the little boys running around were either an Austin or a Levi.
And I can't count the number of times I heard, "Well, bless yer heart."
The pool, especially, was a hotbed of meet and greet as all the children (mine included) played and splashed and shared toys. It was welcoming to engage in conversations with others as we shared experiences and laughter and watched our children romp.
In that regard, it made me miss life down South. (And don't even get me started on the difference in weather. And how much I LOATHE the winter that seems to last for 6 months.) I realized that living back up North (I was born and raised and attended college in upstate NY) has certainly made me become more cynical and suspicious of others. Colder.
For here in New England, eye contact with strangers is rarely made. No one goes out of their way to initiate random chitchat. People are more closed-off, rigid and stern.
It's kinda sad, actually.
Southern driving, on the other hand, was quite frightening.
You see, in Massachusetts, it's a state law that vehicles must stop for pedestrians. In South Carolina? Notsomuch. We learned that the hard way.
One day, we had to use a different pool at the condo complex because the kiddie pool was being "worked on". (Total cover up. You know someone probably pooped in the pool and they had to drain it. Ewwww.) So we had to cross 4 lanes of traffic to get there and back.
Picture us: 2 parents, 3 children, 2 grandparents. Schlepping in swimsuits and sandals. Holding beach bags, towels, toys, coolers, etc. Trying to cross the street.
No one stopped! Cars just whizzed on by. We could only make a "run" for it (YOU try running in a wet bathing suit and flipflops whilst lugging a ginormous beach bag and holding hands with a small child) when all the lanes were completely devoid of cars.
Just picture the Atari game Frogger.
And THEN, if we happened to still be crossing while fast-moving cars approached, they beeped! Angrily!
Southerners: They'll kill you with kindness. And their cars.