Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ready, Set...Ready Again, Set Again...

I've learned a lot since moving below the Mason-Dixon line. I used to erroneously assume that when Southerners took a long time to respond that they were daydreaming, dozing, or deliberately being rude. But that simply isn't true. I now know that they spend that valuable pre-action time feverishly "getting ready."

For example:

Me:  Jay, could you please pass the salt? 


Me:  Jay?  


Me:  Honey, did you hear me? I'd like the salt. 


He (patiently and with emphasis):  Pamela, I was getting ready to pass the salt.

In my past, I had no idea one had to prepare to pass salt; I'd been passing salt willy-nilly for years! Which was incredibly wrong, not to mention dangerous. I've repented of my folly, and now if I need to pass condiments, I take the time to plan before I act.

He: Pamela, could you please pass the pepper?

Me (beginning my mental preparation): Sooooo, where is that pepper? To my right. Okay, pepper located. Good.

He: Pamela? 

Me (still mired in thought): Jay is sitting to my left, so it makes sense to grab the pepper mill with my left hand. But I already have food balanced on the fork in my left hand. Should I put the bite down or eat it first? 

He: Honey? I'd like some pepper. 

Me (mulling it over): Wait! There's third option. I can still hold the fork in my left hand, grab the pepper with my right hand, and do a crossover hand-off to Jay. Which could get complicated. But I think I'm up for it. 

He: Did you hear me?

Me (still brooding): Now to reach for the pepper with mind-numbing slowness, so I don't startle anyone. (Patiently and with emphasis) Yes, Jay. I'm getting ready to pass the pepper.

By this time, I'm sweating from the mental exertion. And you thought we perspire down here because of the high humidity.

The more I learn about proper mental groundwork, the more impressed I am with those who practice it. Imagine going through such strenuous planning every time you need to do something! 

Me: Jay, my hands are wet; could you get the door?


Me:  Honey? Someone rang the doorbell. Could you answer the door?


Jay (patiently and with emphasis): Pamela, I'm getting ready to stand up. 

Imagine my shock and shame when I realized that I'd been standing without adequate preparation my whole life! Risking mayhem, accident, and/or injury. Because I am still a novice, I can only imagine what these preparations entail:

He (concentrating): I must get ready to stand. Legs, brace yourself because you will soon be bearing the weight of the entire body. Body, you will have to lean forward to shift your center of gravity over the legs. Arms, you may need to pitch in by pushing down on the sofa and lifting. Ready? Okay, rock forward slowly. Aaaaaand stand!

Now I need to get ready to walk towards the door. 

If you're not from the South, at this point you'll think I'm exaggerating for emphasis. I'm not. Since I moved out here, I have seriously watched several people stand and stare at the door while they contemplate walking towards it. It takes tremendous preparation, y'all! This is why most Southern homes have porch swings or rockers; so guests can nap while their hosts "get ready" to answer the door. 

Since we don't have a porch swing, our visitor has driven off, mailed a letter, returned a pair of jeans, watered their lawn, and is now on their couch with a cup of fresh-brewed coffee calling to find out why we didn't respond to the doorbell. 

But since Jay is still focused on his preparation to walk towards the door, I dry my hands and grab the phone myself. Without even "getting ready" to answer it, I'm ashamed to confess. 

Hey, I'm still learning.

Verse of the day: (Romans 8:25) "But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently."


Follow-up: After I wrote the above post, my
mom tried to overnight to us a time-sensitive package. The postal worker looked at the address and said, firmly, "Oh, no, this won't get there overnight."

My mom answered, "Why not? I'm paying for it to be delivered in one day."

"Yes," the woman patiently explained, "but this won't get there until
at least the day after. It's going to
the South."

Worse, it's hunting season. Which means that in a few weeks the package will finally be lobbed onto my porch from the back of a pick-up truck by an unshowered, bearded, tobacco-chewing man in camouflage with a rifle under one arm and a pair of 'coons under the other. 

For more stories about life in the South, check out Bald Peanuts, Preplanned Packing, Dastardly Directions--Southern Style, Going Postal--Southern Style, and The Mysterious Poke Lawn.

Disclaimer: I apologize to all Southerners who are the exception. Jay approved this story, by the way. He hadn't noticed the South's "slow as molasses" ways until I showed up.


  1. Y'all are hilarious!! Thank you SO much for the explanation...now I get it! ;-)

    Your West-Coast Sister

    1. Did you read the comments on FB about this? I'm glad to know that I'm not alone in my confusion at this phenomenon.

  2. Did you know that Texas is worse? Yes, there you not only have to prepare, but you have to wait for a hankerin'. If you are pre-planning to move from one place to another, you have to wait for the hankerin' to mosey. One could wait forever, lost in the planning stage. And don't forget the heat factor and the rational consideration that it may be too hot to mosey! Or even to hanker to mosey! Sometimes they just hanker for a Pearl Beer, or a fountain to jump into. Hey, it's Texas!

  3. Thanks for the good laugh - from one born again southerner to another :)

  4. Hahahhahaha.... Seriously, You should warn others NOT to read this while drinking their morning coffee... :D hahahhaha!!!