Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Moved to Atlanta, Got My Heart Blessed

by PrettySmartGA (writer), Lilburn, June 19, 2007


The first thing that struck me when I passed the Mason-Dixon Line 20+ years ago (I have NO idea where it is, but you KNOW when you cross it...) was, how EVERYONE talked to me-in the gas station, stores, elevators, everywhere. Like they were expecting me, we were close friends, & going bowling or something Thursday night. Every encounter felt like the beginning of a new relationship.

Coming from The North, where every contact felt like you were inconveniencing someone, interupting their valuable time by asking them to take your money for an item you would like to purchase, this was quite a shock and I was very suspicious. What did they REALLY want from me? Was this a Trick? It took me so off guard, I ended up being nice BACK, making eye contact and everything.

I have to admit, it did take me years to accept complete strangers calling me 'honey' or 'darlin', even 'baby' or 'sweetie'. Them's fighting words up North. I winced everytime someone heard a sad or 'unlucky' story and sympathetically drawled: "Bless Your Heart..." or HIS heart, HER heart, EVERYONE's heart. I learned that "Bless Your Heart" is a way nicer way to say"Wow, your life is really F'd up, glad I'm not you", like we would say up North.

But somehow, it started to grow on me and the strangest thing began to happen: I started to become Nice, too. It was a slow, gradual process but it DID happen. I noticed this after a couple years, when I would go to monthly staff meetings at my company's HQ up North, listen to all the zingers, sarcasm and wisecracks, was appalled by their behavior and thought, "Why are these people being so mean to each other?". It wasnt that THEY were meaner, it was that I was NICER. They hadn't changed, I DID.

I even used this cultural difference to my advantage, when I decided to quit smoking. There was no way I could do it in The South-when I tried, I would find packs of cigarettes all over my office with post-it notes BEGGING me to start again. So I waited until that monthly staff meeting which was about next year's budget, quit the night before the flight, was in total withdrawal and no one noticed. I was so outrageous that everyone thought I was just being PASSIONATE and gave me $50k more for training & development. No one even noticed I wasn't joining the shivering group of smokers outside on the cramped patio, as usual. It worked, and I haven't smoked since November 21, 1987, and was still allowed back in the office in The South. Thank you, Northerners!

But that's another story: How The Southern "Office" worked on the delusions of possessing superior communication skills, for which I had been HIRED. And what's up with those BISCUITS in the morning?

About the Writer

PrettySmartGA is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
Want to write articles too? Sign up & become a writer!

2 comments on Moved to Atlanta, Got My Heart Blessed

Log In To Vote   Score: 2
By Missoula Morgan on August 15, 2007 at 04:18 pm
A downright delightful story! Try some hot REAL cornbread, butter and lots of APPLE butter. It'll knock your socks off! By real cornbread, I mean NO SUGAR added.
 Report abuse

Log In To Vote   Score: 1
By Credo on December 12, 2007 at 05:53 pm
"And what's up with those BISCUITS in the morning?" Those biscuits remind me of my grandmother, she was also a southern body and I loved her southern mannerisms. People as you know are so different there it is like night and day. I'll be waiting patiently for your next beautiful adventure. Credo
 Report abuse

Add A Comment!

Click here to signup or login.

Rate This Article

Your vote matters to us