Southern Inhospitality

The struggle of being a former New Yorker/Washingtonian/Arizonan in an excessively friendly southern state is all too real.

One of the hardest things about being a transplant in the south is the challenging adjustment of having to talk to people.

Especially extraordinarily friendly people, because they make me feel like a sorry excuse of an ill-mannered human being.

For someone naturally reserved, such unexpected conversations with enthusiastic random strangers can be grounds for a full-blown anxiety attack.

On an exceptionally good day, I can plaster on my most natural fake smile.

Then I cross my fingers, in hopes that my face won’t actually freeze that way.

Especially if I am unintentionally bearing teeth.

When I’m out walking around my neighborhood and people go beyond the perfunctory wave and vocalize their greeting, or worse, initiate a conversation?

What am I supposed to do then?

The obvious answer, of course, is to make a run for it.

I go outside to throw away the trash in my pjs in broad daylight and the neighbor twelve houses down to the left with the terrifying horse-sized Scottish Deerhound smiles and starts waving a little too enthusiastically.

My typical instinct is to discreetly crouch down and scuttle away like the stealthy ninja that I am.

Suddenly, my brain is rapidly firing off panic signals.

Crap! You made eye contact! What were you thinking?

“How ya doing? Nice day out, don’t ya think?”

Great. Now the neighbor wants to make conversation while you’re standing outside like a fool in your Hello Kitty pajamas!

“A shame about that field being plowed down for another housing development, ain’t it? Where all them cows gonna go now?”

Might as well be standing outside naked. Maybe that’d be less awkward.

Must. Get. Out.

Quick! Excuse yourself! Get out of there NOW!

The last time I had been caught off guard by a neighbor, I managed to back out of there after a record time of 1 minute and 28 seconds.

By pleading a bathroom emergency.

Classy, I know.

But it was the best I could do after my overactive brain presented the pitiful excuse on a silver platter.

Yet once again, my brain is tasked with conjuring up “logical” excuses while my neighbor continues on with his riveting monologue about cows.

I’ve narrowed down my choices.

I have to go because:

a) Dinner is almost ready, and I need to go turn the oven off

b) The house is now on fire because dinner has been in the oven 5 minutes too long

c) The kids are beating each other within inches of their lives with Nerf swords

d) All of the above

While all of these seem like perfectly rational justifications, I naturally go with the most plausible one.

The house is on fire.

Not seeing the thick gray smoke?

Really?

Well, gotta go! See ya later!

~Happy Friday, friends! I’m sure all my fellow introverts out there can relate to this one all too well. Have a fantastic weekend!~

I made eye contact, and now it's all over. This must be the end.

I made eye contact, and now it’s all over. This must be the end.

(Southern Inhospitality originally appeared on Comically Quirky on 8/6/15)

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60 thoughts on “Southern Inhospitality

  1. Cow monologues are more drawn out when southern people tell them. Heck, “howdy ma’am” could have eight syllables. I’ve been cornered by neighbors, too, but never in my PJs. Walking a people-loving dog with perma-drool and muddy feet who’s straining at his leash to go meet them is a good deterrent. Introverts Unite! Or don’t. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • I am amazed at the talent it must require to turn a one syllable word into a word that now has more syllables than I could’ve ever imagined. Who needs bread when you can have bray-uh-eh-ed?

      “Introverts unite! We’re here! We’re uncomfortable! And we want to go home!” 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t think the neighbors here are as overly friendly as they may be in The South, but I do still take great pains to avoid them… even going so far as to peek out the window to see if anyone’s milling about before going outside (In the rare instances I actually do go outside!) They probably see me as “The Quiet One” who they’ll be talking about to some news reporter someday….

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh God, I hope THAT won’t be the reason we all see you on the news one day… 😛 😛 😛

      I also do the window-peek thing to decide whether it’s safe to venture out, at times. Especially if I don’t want to be bothered to get out of my pjs. 😀

      Like

  3. LOL! Due to the position of my house I have to journey a little way to put my bin in an easy access place. I run with it in my robe with hair on end. One time a man waved in his own pjs, relating to me 🙂 In England people can be so reserved as a whole. Northerners can be the most outgoing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve come to the conclusion that a person is naturally inclined to be either an introvert or extrovert regardless of where they are from.

      For instance, for every million New Yorkers who will keep their heads down and dash into oncoming traffic to avoid unnecessary conversation, there’s always going to be that one guy who can’t help but smile, wave, and run his mouth incessantly until someone comes along and begs him to shut the hell up. 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s so funny Angelica how you write about experiences that we all can relate to. As for me, when I see someone that I know is going to talk to me or I encounter a stranger that wants to start a conversation, I immediately pull out my cellphone and start talking. If I want to make a quick getaway, I make it sound like I forgot some important engagement and dash off.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Haha! I’ve used the “busy on my phone” approach before, too. That’s the nice thing about smart phones; there are many ways to suddenly become preoccupied. Oh, look! An important text! Gotta go! 😛

      Like

  5. Since moving to North Carolina 25 years ago I have become one of those talkative neighbors.

    I’m sure if the house is on fire, the fire department will come along by sometime. Now, I just finished baking a wonderful blueberry pie and didn’t know if you wanted to stop by and enjoy a piece with me. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I grew up in the Deep South and friendliness and hospitality were just a fact of life. I’m not sure how I grew up to be such an introvert! So I feel your pain.

    And, now that I think about it … maybe that’s why I developed the habit of getting completely dressed before I take out the trash or go check the mail.

    Great post! Keep ’em coming.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Sometimes it takes half an hour to walk down the block in my neighbourhood with all the friendly “hellos” and talk…luckily I know of some short-cuts and boy do I get a laugh when I run into someone doing the same thing! I’m left with the “deer caught in headlights” image and those “Hello Kitty” pajamas, such fun!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m really not sure if this is something to be proud of, but I tend to walk at a rather brisk pace. It seems to eliminate frequent stops for conversation while still allowing for a friendly smile and wave… 😛

      Liked by 2 people

    • Ha! The deer in headlights look is hands down the best representation of when I’m caught off guard and suddenly involved in a conversation I couldn’t escape from quickly enough. 😛

      Like

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