Originally published on: September 14, 2010

1. EATING CAN BECOME A HOBBY. 
Call it a hunch, but I’m willing to bet there will be some sort of eating contest at the upcoming state fair. This is the land where everything is fried and BBQ has its own special place on the food pyramid. So it’s easy to understand why Tennessee is the second fattest state in the nation (tied with Alabama), where 31.6 percent of the adults are obese. In the small town where I currently reside, it appears the only thing more popular than Walmart is the dozen or so fast food restaurants that sit off the main highway. & Many of the food items found at Wally World look as if they belong in a Costco or Sam’s Club because of their economy-like size. Let's just say, I miss Fresh & Easy and I’ll stick to having my food grilled, not fried.


2. I DON'T NEED A MICROWAVE, TELEVISION OR STARBUCKS. 
More than half our (parents & I) belongings are still in boxes. I forget what we own. I’m sure what remains packed away consists of things worth keeping. At the same time, I am sure they are things that I don’t necessarily need. What I do need is internet, my camera and a washer. Which I thankfully, finally have. We also now have a fridge, after using a cooler for a week. Here’s what I have unpacked: About a fifth of my clothes, two books, camera, laptop and DVDs. Basically I feel as if I’m living at a hotel and not, at least officially, at a home. Here’s to adjusting to a minimalist lifestyle and being content with my circumstances because Lord knows that I know things could always be much, much worse.

3. AUCTIONS ARE MORE RAD THAN YARD SALES.
I woke up on Saturday and drove six streets over to a house with a lawn covered in knick knacks, furniture and antiques. Each person received a paper with a number. There was a man with a microphone speaking so fast that he reminded me of a cartoon character. “Five, ten, ten, ten, anyone at fifteen, ten, fifteen, twenty, twenty, twenty, twenty, sold to number [whatever].” People would nod their heads to stay in the bidding war. We walked away with several treasures, despite mother getting outbid on a beautiful wingback chair, piano stool and two kitchen stools. I snagged an antique Remington typewriter for five bucks. I swear it weighs about sixty pounds. Score! One lady said she had paid over 100 dollars for one just a week prior. We also snagged a box that contained an old film projector and several old cameras, including one of the original Polaroids. Pretty nifty in my opinion. We also left with a box of dishes, an old suitcase and vintage pans perfect for baking. It’s decided-- we’re going to another auction this Saturday.

4. SWEET TEA IS THE BEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD.  
& if I’m not careful, drinking this sugary goodness just might become a hobby as well.

5. AMISH PEOPLE, WELL HERE'S WAHT I KNOW: 
If you want anything well-built, as in furniture or hardwood floors, they are your go-to-peeps. If you’re looking for fresh produce, skip the grocery store and head a few miles down the road to their little shop. They eat at McDonalds, shop at Walmart and ride horse drawn buggys wherever they go. They’re kind. For instance, they get out of your way if you’re driving behind them. No car, or bicycle, or person ever did that in Arizona. They don’t use electricity or tractors-- only the old stuff. If you wave to them, they wave back. Oh & they're always packing... igloo coolers that is.

6. SEXISM AND RACISM ARE VERY MUCH ALIVE.
You might be thinking, “No duh.” & I should clarify that it’s merely more visible here. Even those who claim they are not racist still unknowingly categorize whites, blacks and Mexicans into racial categories. The best example of racism and sexism I can give you is this: I know someone who has said that they would think it okay for their son to date a black woman, but would disown their daughter if she dated a black man. Many people here agree with such viewpoints. I am certainly not one of them. My strongest dislike on the planet is racism. & Several comments I’ve made over the past few years have left some asking, “Are you a feminist?” To that I say, "Yeah, a little bit."

7. I'M PROUD OF WHERE I CAME FROM. 
I would choose the Cardinals over the Titans any day. I like that I don’t have an accent, even if it does mean receiving odd glances from strangers. I like wearing Vans instead of Crocs, and blouses instead of pink camo. I like being a city girl. I like that Mesa, Arizona will always be my hometown. 

8. LIFE IN THE SLOW LANE IS NOT MY CUP OF TEA.
Right now my life is equivalent to the 35 mph speed limit through town. I’d rather be going 60. 

9. “NO MATTER WHERE YOU RUN, YOU JUST END UP RUNNING INTO YOURSELF.” 
Paul in Breakfast at Tiffanys said it best. This has always been one of my favorite quotes. & I keep learning over and over again that it’s true. I still must. find. a job. NOW. So I can be out on my own. FINALLY. & It’s no easier a task than it was back in Arizona. & The ones I love are facing a reality that is no easier 1600 miles across the country. At the end of the day, the one thing you always have to deal with is YOU. 

10. THE SOUTH, SIMPLY PUT, PLAYS BY ITS OWN RULES.
It’s acceptable to drive in the middle of the street if you’re on roads outside of town. It’s acceptable to shoot someone for coming onto your piece of land, which is why driving across all creation looking for property to buy can be dangerous. People do not receive equal punishment under the law because it all depends on who you know or who you’re father is. Dogs roam freely. If you dare to drive past their house, you sometimes get chased for half a mile. I’ve also heard rumor that you only get busted for pot if you’re not the main supplier to the statewide officials. Marvelous.

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