The year my parent’s moved to Richmond, I was in college, and although I felt like they totally abandoned me by moving from 2 hours to 10 hours away because WHERE WOULD I DO MY LAUNDRY, I didn’t think much else about it.
Until I came to Virginia for break and my radio suggested I BREAK OUT MY CONFEDERATE UNIFORM because some dixie music was coming on. Or because this time we might win! Win what? Why the war of Northern Aggression!
Then someone explained that my parents lived in Hen-ri-coh.
Me: Are you sure? Because I took Spanish for a few years and I’m pretty sure it’s pronounced En-ree-coh.
And don’t even ask me about the Poor White Parkway because I was told to never cross the James unless I needed a topiary or cheap fabric.
Later that week, I went to Urkrop's to pick up some food for my parent’s home, and when I checked out, the cashier asked me: How are you?
Me: What? Do I know you?
Cashier I don't know: Um, no but I’m Diannah Belle and I’ve worked at Ukrop's for 10 years and…
But all I kept noticing is how much the checking out part had slowed down. Also, how uncomfortable I am with all this smiling. But just when I thought I could escape, a man TOOK MY GROCERY BAGS.
Me: Um, where are you going?
Man stealing my bags: Which way to your car, ma’am?
Me: Excuse me? I got those.
Man stealing my bags: Nope.
Man trying to help me: We carry grocery bags out to your car.
Me: Um, okay…
As he left, I turned red and called my mom: THEY CARRIED MY GROCERY BAGS TO THE CAR AND I DIDN’T HAVE ANY MONEY TO TIP HIM. WHY DIDN’T YOU WARN ME?
Mom: Oh, you aren’t allowed to tip. I tried.
Me: Also, everyone TALKED to me.
Mom: I know! They’re so nice in the South.
Nice is one way to think about it. The other way is to impatiently wait until I could be safely ignored in the North where Spanish is Spanish, helping is stealing, and nice is just another word for nosy.