Back to Winter

I like  winter in Alabama.  You’ve got your bare trees,  yellow grass and crispness in the air, but no dirty slush, icy sidewalks or bitterly cold arctic blasts.  If they come, they don’t last.  True, the rainy days are gloomy and the rain pours down, but then the sky is  blue, the air crisp and all is well.

I could happily avoid real winter for a while.  Perhaps in a year or two I might wistfully think about how pretty the trees are when a fresh layer of wet snow has iced the branches.  But not now.

Too bad,  then, that I’m heading north tomorrow, to Washington.  Where they’re calling for about a foot of snow on Friday, the very afternoon I will be heading out of DCA for La Guardia. 

I think it’s going to be one of those road-warrior trips.  In fact, the storm and I are traveling together, borne aloft on winds from the Gulf.  It’s starting with heavy rains — a “deluge” — here in the South, so I imagine I’ll catch that on the outbound flight.  Possibility for delay in Atlanta?  Check. 

Entry into DC tomorrow looks OK,  but Friday is sketchy.  Luckily, there’s always Plan B: Amtrak.  The weather channel reports a major mid-Atlantic  storm for Friday afternoon into evening, stretching from northern Virginia up into Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey.  Those trains will run at 35 miles an hour, but at least they’ll leave the station.  

At best I expected to have about 44 hours at home, probably my last time there before returning for the pack-up,  move out and closing.  As usual, I have not thought about how it will feel, and just hope that emotional upheaval does not lie ahead.  

Being  with Abandoned and Mr. NYer will be great, as will having some serious lap time with the two cats — if they remember me.  But entering the chaos of the house, realizing that our time there is really drawing to a close … that might be hard to take. 

Unless it snows and I have to shovel the steps. 

A few random thoughts and observations about life here in Alabama:

— It’s really a shame that I won’t be in Staten Island and in the upcoming production of To Kill a Mockingbird.  I think I’ve got the accent nailed. 

— I’m told that left on red is legal here when turning into a one-way street.  I’m too afraid to try it.

— The workday starts  at 8 am and everyone eats at noon.  I’ve acculturated myself: if I wait until 12:15 I’m ravenous.  Luckily, the cafeteria in the Commerce Building,  just across the street, serves fried fish, hush puppies and greens.  Or, you can have a salad:  many feature both bacon and cheese.  Yum.

— Religion is a part of life here in a way unlike  New York.   There, it’s private, or a cultural characteristic.   Here, people tell you where they go to church much the same way they tell you what  neighborhood they live in.  Others ask  if you’ve chosen a church family yet.

— Like religion, football  is unavoidable.  No one asks whether you follow football.  They want to know if you’re Alabama or Auburn.  I believe an Alabama game (Go Tide!) is in my future.


6 Responses

  1. A few notes:
    a) the house looks less chaotic than when you left.
    b) how many time did you ever have to shovel the steps?
    c) You mean I has to get religion?

  2. The real focus on religion was hard to get used to when I moved to Texas; it made me extremely uncomfortable. Everybody just assumed we were Christian and referred us to a “nice Christian realtor” and a “nice Christian roofer” and a “nice Christian tree-trimmer.” The guy who inspected our house tried to get us to come to his church.

    Also, the churches are huge. One of them, Prestonwood (which we call Prestonworld) has its own K-12 school, television studio, bookstore and Starbucks. During a business trip to Southern California with a colleague several years ago, her first question was, “Where are all the churches?” in a way that implied she had entered heathen territory. I found myself defending all the tiny neighborhood Catholic mission churches.

  3. I don’t know which would scare me more….church or football!

  4. Right on red still feels a bit strange to me…left on red is impossible! I remember the first time my husband (then boyfriend) did it up here in MA and I screamed bloody murder at him for trying to kill me 😉

  5. The key thing to note about the left on red thing is that *both* streets involved (the one you’re on, and the one you’re turning on to) must be one ways. Otherwise, as far as I can tell, there’s an increased likelihood of unpleasant outcomes, no? The maneuver admittedly still gives me the heebie jeebies after 10 years in CA and 6 in MA. Heck, the fiance’s been out here 20 years, and learned to drive out here, and it has a similar hold on him as well.

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