Since I now live in a completely different part of the South, trips back east take on a more epic quality. Eight days ago, I left New Orleans at 7:30am with an itenerary that included Birmingham, Atlanta, Duluth, Athens, Augusta, Columbia, Savannah and Island City. I am far more tired than I thought I would be. Though this driving tour was nominally called a 'vacation' - that being the absence of work in exchange for money - I had a terribly good time, and have been locked somewhere between a state of food coma and sweet tea sugar shock since about 1 pm CDT last Friday.
Things I learned on this trip:
1. Speed limit respect is fascinating as one travels from place to place. There is a great deal of respect for the speed limit in Mississippi, the exact speed limit. This can be infuriating. This respect does not carry over into Alabama, as evidenced by the clouds of black smoke from accellerating semi-trucks as soon as the border is crossed. The home of Talladega is also the home of green flag interstate racing, apparently. You can always tell who is from Georgia, because we are all driving 7 to 9 miles over the speed limit (excepting drivers from metro Atlanta, and drivers of trucks jacked up over seven feet off the ground - they can go much, much faster). It is legal to do this in Georgia, except in the presence of State Troopers, and we feel this interpretation of the law should apply everywhere. South Carolinians have the same sort of thing, but theirs is 3-4 miles above the posted speed limit. Pansises. Florida has about 1 state trooper for every 20 visible cars traveling on the interstate, but speed limit respect decreases every mile west of Tallahassee. This perhaps is due to the proximity of Alabama. Back into Louisiana, there is no speed limit respect, but there is pothole respect, as one may acheive a very high and illegal interstate cruising speed, but may actually disentegrate their vehicle in the process.
2. Atlantic Station, a 'town center' built on top of the old Atlantic Steel facility close to downtown Atlanta, looks awesome.
3. When planning a wedding, one should keep in mind what happens when one side does not drink, and invites a few people, and the other side does drink and invites a lot of people. Thank goodness everyone was 'cool people' otherwise things could have gotten out of hand.
4. When attending a wedding of someone you used to date in high school, one should make careful note of when the 'high school photo album' arrives. If there was ever an argument about why it is good to have long hair in high school and a beard in your late 20's, I have a new, personal, exhibit 'A.'
5. When meeting me and my brother for the first time, even with my brother dressed far classier than myself, women tend to continue to shamelessly flirt with me. Finding out that he is in law school and I roll burritos changes this situation so dramatically, so quickly, that it will be worth revisiting again and again.
Especially when he is oblivious to what is happening.
6. Once you have been sleeping on an air mattress for four straight months, sleeping on a real bed will knock you out cold for up to ten unexpected hours.
7. You do become that cranky old alumni you complained about during undergrad in as short as five years after graduation. Also, "aren't all the undergrads so cuuuute," and "I feel like I'm back in middle school" are never comments they like to hear said out loud.
8. Columbia, South Carolina has one of the coolest college radio stations I've ever heard. This is quite surprising, considering the whole Hootie and the Blowfish thing.
9. The best place to cross the state line into Georgia is driving US Hwy 17 south out of Carolina and into Savannah. At night.
10. If your permanent residency is in Georgia, but you work in another state, you will owe Georiga money come tax time. Though this is probably true of every state, and is probably something that everyone but me knows, it sounds like something only the Empire would do, and is infuriating to discover unexpectedly.