I've learned a few things about life in the Palmetto State. Don't get me wrong, I adore it here. There are just some things that make me scratch my head and wonder what the heck is going on in the Southern Mind.
On South Carolina Drivers:
Turn signals. I often rant about the use of turn signals. Being from Pennsylvania, I can assure you Keystoners have their own weird and thoroughly incorrect patterns of turn signal usage. But SC drivers have presented a fresh set of challenges that I must learn to navigate. The first issue I've noticed is a bloody epidemic of drivers who do NOT know their left from their right. I keep seeing this: A car pulls into a turning lane. It's clear they will be proceeding left at the next light cycle change. But what happens? The right blinker flashes to life. Then it goes away. What follows is a pregnant pause while the driver appears to be holding up their hand and doing that air-scribbly thing you do when you brain-fart and need to remind your brain which side is right. Then finally the left turn signal comes on, and all is right in the driving world again.
Like I said, I haven't seen this once or twice. Since December 1st, I have counted approximately thirty seven occurrences. Doesn't sound like much, but before moving here, I can recall seeing such a phenomenon maybe once. Maybe twice. Ever.
It's extra fascinating to me because it seems like those are the only times I've seen turn signals being utilized for an actual turn. Mostly everybody here seems to scorn the noble blinky signal o' impending road leaving. Unless you're a ninety year old woman, then you never EVER turn that blasted thing off.
There are a lot of center turning lanes in G'ville. You know, those really wide strips of road with bright yellow lines on either side? Somehow, SC drivers still manage to make those center lanes narrow. Or at least appear to be. Because it seems that nobody has taught them that the goal is to get your vehicle between both yellow lines. It's not a challenge to see how much of your rear bumper you can stick out into the fast moving lanes of traffic directly next to that center lane. I've yet to see anyone get their car completely centered.
And speaking of crossing traffic, why does nobody understand the benefits of traveling up a few feet to the actual turning-lane-decked-out-with-a-shiny-traffic-signal? There's an epidemic of people trying to cross three lanes of heavy traffic at an unmarked/unsignaled entrance to a shopping center when they are literally ten feet away from a traffic signal that will change to red and then grant them a green-arrowed right of way in about 40 seconds. But no, they will sit there, ten feet short of that light, and remain there for fifteen minutes because dammit, that unmarked entrance is CLOSER.
On The Homefront:
At my apartment complex, the road in front of my building takes a relatively sharp right turn. At the height of that turn? A set of speed bumps. Not the smooth, rolling hills that some neighborhoods feature. These are the bumpy, nailed down, portable variety.
A parking space is to the left of those speed bumps. And when I go out for a breath of fresh carbon-monoxide, I marvel at the number of complex residents who will add two minutes onto their trip through the parking lot to awkwardly angle their car into that parking space, maybe stop and back up a little, and then try it again, all to avoid a nano-second of bumping.
Also, why does every third driver manage to stall out on those things? I see it daily. Dudes, you aren't traversing the Rocky Mountains. It's a speed bump. What the heck does your car do if you travel over a particularly gruesome highway seam?
My mailman. He is a problem. For one, I don't seem to be receiving mail. I've yet to receive an electric bill, and my insurance keeps getting returned as undeliverable. I firmly believe its because my mailman feels the envelope is too large to properly wad into a ball before stuffing it into the box, so he pretends I just don't exist.
He has literally wadded up my mail. I had to unfold an envelope three times to get it into a flat state. It was crammed up in the TOP of my mail slot. It looked like the envelope version of Spiderman, crouching up against a ceiling, waiting to pounce on my Old Navy bill's impersonation of a smushed up Green Goblin.
UPS won't leave a tiny box containing a book I won inside my screen door, but they will smash my neighbor's large order into his entryway and leave his screen door hanging wide open.
I live in a um, cost-effective apartment complex, so going out onto the patio late at night to find a suspicious creeper trying to pretend he isn't looking into cars isn't shocking to me. I just hang out and give 'em the hairy eyeball until they wander off. I noted one such character a bit ago. He was persistent enough that I figured I'd be making my first official police call as a SC resident, but a car pulled into the lot and Mr. Creeper had to hop into action and act like his wandering around a parking lot at 2 am was perfectly natural.
His ploy? He walked in a giant circle. Another car entered, so he walked another circle. Then he went and inspected the car wash center's vacuum machine thinger. Finally, between my hairy eyeball, and the rude residents' insistence on coming home and disrupting his vehicle-casing, he wandered off. Um, after walking in another circle.
On Job Interviews:
Job Interviews feel like blind dates. I get all dressed up, comb my hair for a change, and try to be interesting. And I have no concept if I've made a good impression, because I feel like instead of a notepad and a copy of my resume, my interviewer is staring at me over a plate of osso bucco, wondering why the heck they ever agreed to this mess, but the polite smile and nod mess up my ability to read the date. Err, interview.
And in the end, it all comes down to a phone call. Do they like me? Did I wear the right shoes? Did I have something in my teeth? Are they going to call? Please? Call me? I'm nice! Call me!!!! *insert crying here*
Did I mention I haven't laid down my phone since the interview? It's like fused into the palm of my hand now. I haven't been this bad since the days of dating the Italian Not So Stallion that had me wrapped so tight around his pinkie finger, they had to amputate.
Great. Now I have Mambo Italiano stuck in my head.
Oh! I was in the grocery store the other day and I heard some disembodied voice floating over the shelving. The guy said something about a box of chocolates. And of course, he was sporting a full-blown southern accent, and for like an hour after that I was giggling to myself as half of the Forrest Gump movie played in my head.
I think I've run out of randomness. That might be my cue to go to bed.