I'm visiting Jessie in Chapel Hill. My first visit of any consequence to the official South and I must say, I'm impressed. People are nice here. I mean really, really nice. Bus drivers smile at me. With teeth. Grocery store clerks ask me how I'm enjoying my stay. Ever the Lone Star apologist, I spend a fair amount of time deflecting California peeps' comments about biogtry and the like to other locales, but so far - people have been both friendly and progessive. Maybe it's a little selection bias w/ Jessie's graduate school colleagues who were all Peace Corps Volunteers and Wilderness Camp leaders before starting here. And in all fairness, last night someone (who attended college at Sewanee - my near miss destiny where I planned to go until the last minute) did say something about a lot of 'conservative' students. "Not like Christian conservative," he qualified, "Just people with solid, Old Southern values. I mean they're not racist or anything either." In the name of diplomacy, I did not ask what these values might be excactly, but returned my attention to the bluegrass group.
One feature of the South that has not failed to disappoint is the mosquito count. At first I thought I'd garnered the Best Souvenir Ever (!) with my little bites. Then I remembered how they itch more later. My right foot/ankle region has no less than 14 bites, the left trailing at a close 11. Awesome.