With the lingering winter and the never-ending school year, I'm spending a fair amount of time waiting. For consistently warm weather. For good tomatoes. For the constant press of work to abate. For so many things.
While I wait, I find myself thinking along obscure and not-terribly-intellectually-rigorous lines. For instance, this weekend I pondered the difference between modes of argumentation above and below the Mason-Dixon. I wouldn't share this nascent theory with just anyone, dear readers, though I can't for the life of me decide what you've done to deserve this.
First, let's talk about the weather. When you think about the North, you think about winter; it is cold-as-f*ck and unrelenting. One uses such a season to contemplate neuronal function and read Proust. The South's most Southern season is Summer, which is a long, humid, sapping affair. When n.o.c. spent two weeks in Georgia before our wedding, his prevailing impression of a Southern August was one of being slowly steamed to death. "How do you people get anything done?" he would wail, futilely wiping his brow as the air dripped on him. It's a valid question.
During a Northern winter, the sun shines for approximately 2.5 hours per day. This gives even the most apathetic Northerner an abundance of time to sit, pale and hunched, wondering how best to articulate his or her unique perspective on any number of abstruse topics. Since the winter is nearly interminable, people feel compelled to scurry madly through the month of summer, aware that at any moment the first snow could fall and the ground could freeze. You might have from the lilacs to Labor Day, but you might not.
The four-month Southern summer, on the other hand, generally thwarts all efforts, both mental and physical. You could mix a cocktail, yes, or lie profitably in the shade for several hours, but it is not the time to engage in strenuous activities, such as thinking or laying brick. (Summer-time brick laying, by the by, was the pound of flesh The Rog demanded from n.o.c. for the hand of his only daughter. You may think it sounds like I came cheap, but I believe n.o.c. would beg to differ. The poor dear was also required to slaughter a goat, but that's a different story for another, hopefully better, post.)
If I have a disagreement with someone in the North, we might go several blistering rounds before one of us (me, naturally) is declared the victor. Raised voices and gesticulation will no doubt ensue, and even when it seems the skirmish is passed, it's actually just waiting below the surface, ready to bubble up should either party have need or occasion to become incensed and create some body heat. Have an argument with a Southerner, and you might witness one of three responses:
- Your Southerner, let's call her Savannah, may sip thoughtfully from her icy beverage, straighten her pearls, and simply walk away. That the authorities will never find your body on her family's kudzu-covered 80 acres may never cross your mind, but you can bet that it does hers.
- You may not realize that Savannah disagrees with you, so kind and polite are her responses to your every notion. Let's be clear: Savannah does not agree with you. She is simply saving her energy until the weather cools (Savannah is a patient woman by necessity).
- If Savannah is feeling decidedly frisky, she may actually engage you in debate and return your parries. However, unless you are Southern, you will not understand that Savannah reamed you a new *sshole until hours later. That's what folks are doing while they're sipping iced beverages and lying profitably in the shade; they're practicing withering, languorous, rigorously polite insults.
So, according to my exceedingly in-depth and clearly indisputable analysis, the weather is largely responsible. What happens in odd, middling states like Maryland has yet to be determined.
In other news, I made some pepita granola, which is so good I can hardly stand it. I omitted the coconut and used 2 cups of excellent dried figs and a raisin medley. Der-lish-us on greek yogurt in the morning. Or in the afternoon.