Friday, April 28, 2006

How to order Breakfast in the South

Now why would I want to blog about this? Because I was ignorant, yes, ignorant about this simple thing when I went into a Shake 'n' Steak (which are everywhere in the South along with tons of other extremely unhealthy but tasty venues, more about that later).

Elsewhere in the US, one usually sits down in a booth, picks up a menu, and a harried wait person comes over, demands your order, (heaven forbid you're not ready) and rushes off. Sooooo, I sit down, quickly choose my food and as soon as the waitress says "Hi" I'm ordering. She stands there for a second or two looking at me and smiling, and then looks puzzled and says,

"Um, is that it?"
"Yes, thank you."
"OK then, it'll be right out."

So it was that pause, and the puzzled look that I got several times that day. I finally asked my friends, who had lived in Tennessee a whole 1 year, what the story was. They laughed and said, "Oh, you didn't chat. You have to chat. You need to talk about the weather, your day ahead, your family, where you're both from...stuff like that."
"Yeah, a banking transaction here can take 45 minutes with all the preview sizing up chitchat."

Ah Ha! My first lesson in 'Southern Manners'. One of the complaints that Southerners have is that Yankees are so rude, but besides the obvious occasional New Yorker or Bostonian gruffness, it's hard to say what that exactly means if no one grabs you by the arm and shakes you. (Which Southerners are far to polite to resort to...)

P.S. The shake was the best one I have ever had in my whole life. Really. No pun intended.


Patty said...

Lovely blog, love the writing too, thanks for visiting us, too! (Perfume Posse)

My dad's family is from Kentucky, and he could not do one transaction in his life without "passin' the time of day." I went to the grocery store with him one time after I was grown, and I had discarded that chatty habit once I moved to the city, and you would have thought I had slapped my mother. He lectured me for an hour about proper niceties with strangers.

I reformed again from that day forward and annoy people daily with my "passin' the time of day." :)

Good luck there, you'll do great.

Emotenote said...

to Patty-
Yep, I'm starting to drive folks here in Wisconsin crazy since I've gotten used to 'passin' the time of day' on the phone with all the banking and real estate and school stuff we need to take care of.