Wednesday February 22, 2006

The protagonist of this book lived in Virginia till she was 12. Are you laughing yet? If not, you may not enjoy this book. It is one of those that takes as its premise the idea that merely being Southern (even as questionably Southern as the heroine) is hilarious.

We had a woman from Canada in the shop recently who assured us that Canadians make fun of the people in northern Canada “the same way that people in the states make fun of Southerners.” We had not been aware that people in the U.S. made fun of Southerners, any more than anyone else. “All the rednecks are in the north,” she blithely assured us, speaking at that point of Canada.

She was, I must remind you, in the South at the time. The Southern United States, that is.

She shared with us how difficult it had been for her to move here from Toronto, considering the reputation we had. She also complained that our local weather reports did not show Canadian weather. Apparently — and I did not know this because I don’t watch TV news — Canada is right there on the map, but they don’t mention the weather in Toronto.

We are 1148.31 miles from Toronto. We probably don’t need to know the weather there before we decide what to wear in the morning. I did not say this to her. I did not mention that I came here from California and had never felt that I was surrounded by rednecks. I did not mention that we have lots of Canadian customers, and none has ever before called us rednecks. I did not say, “Sugar, don’t they teach y’all not to insult your hosts, up there where you come from?” Instead, I suggested that she get her news online. I sympathized because we are a small town, and she was accustomed to big city media. I shared with her that I like to read the New York and San Francisco papers online, and that it was easy to do so. She suggested that we in the U.S. are just insular.

Now, The Princess had left the room rather frostily back when this woman said we were rednecks, so she didn’t get to hear that we are insular rednecks. I assume that this poor woman was in the throes of terrible homesickness, and had no idea what she was saying. Of course, she had already admitted that she makes fun of the people of Northern Canada.

And I was reminded of her by this book, because it is absolutely taken for granted that the New Yorkers in it will automatically look down upon Southerners. Anything you say, if said in a Southern accent, sounds stupid. This book says so. The heroine gets all defensive about being a Southerner (remember, she lived in Virginia till she was twelve).

If you want to read something funny about the South, read Florence King. Crazy Aunt Purl is funny about being Southern. Granny is funny about living in the South. The Mile-High Hair Club isn’t funny.

Another thing that isn’t funny is that I emailed my encyclopedia entry in and got a response saying it was blank. “Hmm,” thought I, unconcerned, “I’ll send it again.” I went to open my copy of the file and — it was blank. My hours of work were gone.

I am hoping that one of you will read this and put something in the comments like “Oh, that happens all the time. Just change the font size and it will all reappear.”

Pokey said that I could reset my computer to think it was Sunday again, and it would reappear, but I haven’t figured out how to do that. I think she may be having me on — it sounds like Superman turning the world backwards. Sent an email you regret? Posted more details of your private or corporate life than you should on your blog? Just move the computer back in time and it will be gone.

Well, not anything you sent out, presumably, but it would be great if I could do a little time-travel and get my article back.

I had just returned from a lecture on spiritual lethargy when I discovered this loss. And I was at work until the lecture, and taking #2 son to the dentist before that, where I was given an estimate that startled me. And before that, I was getting no sleep because Nadia the psychotic cat gets in the middle of the bed and pushes us out.

I know that this seems unlikely. She is such a sweet-looking cat. And small, compared to a human. But she is selfish. Spiritually lethargic. And a major blanket hog.

Whenever she does this, my husband wakes me up repeatedly to complain that the cat has stolen all the covers and is pushing him out of bed. While kneading his stomach and purring deafeningly loudly.

What I am supposed to do about this I do not know. But it doubles the number of times I am awakened during the night, since I am awakened not only when she mistreats me, but also when she mistreats him. Sometimes she pushes us both to the absolute edges of the bed — opposite edges — at the same time. She doesn’t look that big, does she? It may be that she is one of those shape-changing cats. She turns into a griffin or something after midnight.

Anyway, I have not gotten any knitting or sewing done since the last pictures I posted. I will not have time to redo the article till tomorrow. And I am not in the mood for any more tacky jokes about Southerners. Or Northern Canadians, either. Northern Canadians, I salute you. Dymuniadau da.


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7 responses to “Wednesday February 22, 2006”

  1. chanthaboune Avatar

    Yea! You didn’t believe me when I told you she was taking over my bed this summer, but now you see. She sets up shop and then sticks her legs against you and pushes. It’s like she has extendable legs.

    And anyone who makes fun of people from “The South” while in the south can be certainly pegged as a close minded baboon.

  2. selphiras Avatar

    This reminds me of a high school class (in SD) where we read a play where a group of characters from a different area were directed to act with Southern accents. My teacher assumed we all understood that this was done to indicate their foolishness/stupidity. It was a test question that I got wrong because I had no idea why the characters were directed to use Southern accents! And I wouldn’t have thought it meant that.

  3. sighkey Avatar

    Nadia only looks sweet in that photo ‘cos she’s got her eyes close. She looks like a cuddly psychopathic were-feline when those eyes are open and she’s sitting on the back of a couch waiting to pounce on whomsoever sits on the couch.

    ‘Close-minded baboon’? I’d probably go for the simpler nomenclature of ‘bad mannered idiot’.

  4. lostarts Avatar

    Although I grew up in the Philadelphia area, I really like Northern Virginia (known to residents as NOVA, which is another thing I like). DC has a large ethnic population of people who are NOT Americans (there are a lot of embassies–and they have to be cleaned, etc.), which gives it a very European/foreign air (and after moving back from France, I discovered just how insular Americans are–unfortunately, I agree with her on that point). Also, Virginia is a nice trade-off between North and South as far as culture is concerned. I like the DC area, and NOVA better than Maryland (where I lived for a while).

    The point of all this is, though, that you can find stupid people everywhere, right along with smart people, although every once in a while, there’s something cultural in a specific area that clashes with something cultural in the area where you grew up, and it just drives you nuts!

    The guy who wrote Caveman Chemistry is the one who told me that felting is NOT due to chemical bonding, cross-linking, polymerization, whatever. He insisted that it was due solely to the scales on the fiber getting caught in each other. I read the description of his college course, and it sounds like fun!! One of the requirements was to learn to do a certain number of things from a long list of things, like spinning, soapmaking, etc. I’d love to go through it and just learn everything on the list.

    He was in the process of writing the book then, and it wasn’t out, so I’m glad to discover that it’s out and available. Later on in the week (when I have some money), I’m going to try to buy it (unless your bookstore has it at a better price and you ship).

  5. TheWaterJar Avatar

    I got a virus once and it destroyed everything. Including countless things I had not backed up. No instructional moral to that story, your post just made me think of it. Anywho, I found the very first “paragraph” in this post quite hilarious. Keep it copasetic.

  6. Kali_Mama Avatar

    I love reading you. You make me laugh. And I can really relate to the southern topic. For years in California, I was teased for saying, “fixin’ to.” But no one treated me like I was stupid. Still, when I think of home, I think of Stigler, OK. (sigh)

    Sprinkle catnip on one of the kids’ beds.

    I’m so sorry that your computer ate your article. I have no tips, except to poke around in your documents file and see if you might have saved it twice.

  7. Kali_Mama Avatar

    Oh, and I meant to say how gracious you were to your Canadian customer. People. They come from all over, eh?