Michelle Smiles

Teaching my children to question authority, except mine.

This Yank needs some explanations


There are a couple of things that I would love to hear about from my Southern readers.

First, what is up with the way you all dress? It has been 105 degrees for the past 4 weeks. I was at the grocery store this evening after the sun went down and it was still 98 degrees out yet I was the only one wearing shorts in the entire store. I even had on a tank top and I never, ever wear tank tops in public. (I haven’t worn a tank top outside of the house since ’96 when I waved at someone and my upper arm waddle took out 2 small children and a petite waitress.) Everyone in the store was dressed in pants. Many people even had on long sleeve shirts. I was breaking a sweat just looking at them. In the north, as soon as it hits the upper 60’s we break out our shorts and flip flops – we might have to wear a sweatshirt with them but by damn we will wear our shorts as long as possible each year.

Second, what do Southerners (or at least those in Nashville) have against turn signals? Is it not manly to let others know you plan to turn or change lanes? Does the little blinking light mess with the aesthetic of your pretty car? I have almost rear-ended countless people in the 2 months I’ve lived here. And I know everyone out there is nodding their head thinking “Oh that isn’t a Nashville thing – it is the same here” but I am serious in saying that I’ve never seen such a vast majority of people not signal. And the few people who do signal then drive for the next 6 miles with their blinkers on.

Third, stop cruising in the left lane. If multiple cars are passing you on the right, that might be an indication that you are going too slow to be in the left lane. Get the hell out of my way!

Southern manners are even present when driving. In Pittsburgh, if it takes you more than .5 seconds to take your foot off the brake and put it on the gas when the light turns green, at least 3 people will honk at you. Here? People take forever to get going when the light turns green – and no one honks (except maybe me). It isn’t a difficult concept. Green means go. Go is the long, skinny pedal on your right.

That is all for now…I will probably have more questions in the future. The cranky nature of my questions may have something to do with the heat. I looked at the 10 day forecast and it says it is only supposed to be 88 next weekend. Did you hear me? I said “only” 88. I don’t think I’ve used the word ‘only’ in front of 88 degrees ever in my life. But when that is almost 20 degrees cooler than the past month you start to think it sounds lovely.

posted under nashville
8 Comments to

“This Yank needs some explanations”

  1. On August 24th, 2007 at 8:48 pm jane Says:

    As a GRITS (girl raised in the south) I can take on a couple of these questions…
    CLOTHING: You mentioned you were in the grocery store on a Friday evening – those were probably office workers pretending to pick up milk, but really there for Bud Light. Southerners will always dress appropriately for work. Go a little earlier in the day and you’ll see the big haired SAHM’s in their Chanel jogging suits or Izod golf wear purusing the steaks for their weekend cook outs. By the way, have you started teasing your hair and applying lipstick every 20 minutes yet? You also have to start sprinkling “Bless your heart!” liberally in your daily conversation.

    When you live in a small town, you don’t have to use your turn signal…everyone knows where you’re going just by the direction you’re headed! Same for cruising in the left lane. If you’re planning to turn left off of Hwy 64 at ANY point, you better just go ahead and get in the left lane as soon as you leave home in case there’s a lot of traffic – i.e. more than 2 other cars on the 4 lane highway!

    Bless your heart! You’re one of the priviledged folks who gets to live in the South now – Have yourself a glass of sweet tea and enjoy the show.

  2. On August 25th, 2007 at 10:01 pm Ashley Says:

    Well… school has started and for some reason to some of those southerners that means it is fall. Who cares what the temp is… the fashion is fall. I have lived here all my life and I learned that lesson when I *had* to wear a shiny new fall outfit to the first football game of the season and looked like a sweaty rat by the end… but I also must add… I went to eat lunch with my son at school the other day and the air was so cold that by the time we left 20 long lunch minutes later we had frozen snot ( HA HA… but I too was curious as to why the teachers all had on sweaters)

    The driving… I wonder if they still play the song. There was a song to the tune of “Walk like an Egyptian” called “Drive like a Nashvillian”. Again lived here all my life and still scared to death of driving in Nashville. I think it has something to do with southerners think everyone knows them… thus knows where they are going, so why let everyone know. WHO KNOWS!!!???

  3. On August 25th, 2007 at 10:27 pm Lizarita Says:

    Bless your heart. That’s just how we roll, sister. Welcome to Tha South!

  4. On August 26th, 2007 at 7:52 am Aardvark Says:

    Fall fashions hit the stores in August…even in the South. It is crazy. It will be hot here until …well until forever. I seldom even wear a coat in the winter.

    I will say that I keep my classroom about 68 degrees and the children freeze. I do not. They often are sitting in my classroom wearing sweaters and jackets. I do this for two reasons. 1. I don’t want to be hot. 2. They are less likely to sleep/stink.

  5. On August 26th, 2007 at 11:01 pm Harpoon Says:

    Yankees driving in the south…

    If you get a hankerin to move back north, I promise to keep me and grandpa out of your lane.

    Take a hint. (nod).

    Agressive driving = bad Karma

  6. On August 26th, 2007 at 11:17 pm Harpoon Says:

    Yankees driving in the south… (cont.)

    I dropped a “g”. We can’t spell or drive, but don’t try to change that.

  7. On August 28th, 2007 at 10:52 am Shannon Says:

    All GRITS know that Florida isn’t the south. It’s New York relocated. 🙂

    Here in NC, we dress for where we spend most of the day, inside with the air on full blast. If i didn’t wear pants in my house, I’d freeze to death. Shorts are for the beach, cookouts, or doing something silly, like exercising outdoors. (which you can only do before 9am and after 9pm, otherwise, you’ll keel over from heatstroke)

    If you don’t do lipstick, chapstick will suffice. But honey, you have to put something on your lips. It’s a law, I think.

    The drivers here stink. I was raised by New Englanders, and that’s how I drive too. All the southern folk are either in no hurry at all, or they think they are Dale Earnhart reincarnated and must go 95 mph through the grocery store parking lot. There is no in between. Get good car insurance, and think about buying a helmet. HA HA HA HA

    Good luck. It has to be hard to pick up and move to someplace completely different.

  8. On August 28th, 2007 at 12:34 pm Melissa Says:

    I would get sooo frustrated down there driving. those things make me nuts.

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