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Southern State of Mind

Upon occasion, there comes a time when I leave the cozy nest I made for myself in Atlanta and venture out of the South. Born and raised in Atlanta, I’ve grown accustomed to the way we do life down here. What’s the old saying? American by birth, Southern by the grace of God. I have traveled frequently in my 26 years of living, yet every time I go beyond the borders of our beloved South, I am reminded what it is about this great place I love so much. Along with my marketing cohort and the editor of this blog, Lauren Patrick, we traveled north to D.C. for work this week. I even voluntarily came up a little earlier to make my rounds to the sights. After six days far away from home, I was eagerly awaiting my flight back to Atlanta at Gate 15 in the Ronald Reagan National Airport when I penned this post.

What is it about the South I missed so much while I was gone? Glad you asked.

1. Sweet Tea
Ah, sweet tea – the champagne of the South. I put this first because it might just be the most important thing on my list. I am an individual who does not enjoy the taste of coffee, has never taken a sip of an energy drink, and gets sick of water after two bottles. I was lucky enough to find a Chick-Fil-A on Monday morning and ordered a giant glass of it, but I didn’t have any sweet tea other than that while I was there. I might need to get an IV of it put in once the wheels hit the ground in Atlanta.

2. Y’all
Why is it that everyone looks at me funny for saying that word? I suppose there is really no way of saying it without my Southern accent. Maybe it’s the tell tale sign that I’m not from ‘round these parts. Either way, I’m pretty sure the word is frowned upon up North. Here is a list of other things Southerners say that get us a few raised eyebrows too.

3. Warm Weather
Yes, I know, Atlanta wasn’t exactly warm this week with its three false alarm snow days. I get it, but hear me out, church. I was wearing my stilettos, a dress, and a jacket without a hood when the snow came pouring down in DC on Saturday. I’m talking snowflakes the size of my palm. After walking in the mess (you try hoofin’ it in snow and ice wearing heals and get back to me), I will gladly welcome what is sure to be our hot and muggy summer with open arms.

4. My Car
It seems like every major Northern city boasts of its great subway system and DC is no exception. I can see the appeal of not having to sit in rush hour traffic or deal with the hassle of parking, but I’m going to have to say I still prefer my car. The crowded Metro filled to the brim with a variety of people quickly became unappealing after being pushed and shoved, not to mention having to sit next to an individual who could’ve used a good long bath. I miss the personal space that comes along with driving a car, especially a Revology Mustang GT, not to mention control over my travel. Late trains and delays are far from convenient – especially when you’re on your way to the airport.

5. Manners
Y’all. This one about sent me over the edge. I do not (nor will I ever) understand what it is about being polite that is so difficult for some people. If you’re like me, you were raised in a household where manners were nonnegotiable and their absence would result in a stern talkin’ to from Momma. It’s just common decency to your fellow man. I realized that I finally had enough just a few moments ago when a passenger needed to get around another at the gate. Missing the opportunity to be polite, he was rude instead: “Uh, are you just going to stand in the way or are you going to move?” I couldn’t help it, y’all. My tolerance level after six days up here had reached its max and the words seemed to just blurt out:

I’m sorry, but I think an ‘excuse me’ would have worked just fine.”

The fool looked at me blankly and boarded the very plane I’m on. I can guarantee you he’s not headed home to the South and can only hope his stay in Atlanta is a short one, bless his little heart.

Not to say that I did not enjoy my time in DC. I was fortunate enough to see the Swiss National Symphony perform at the Kennedy Center. I stood in the same room as some of the greatest artistic masterpieces this world has ever seen at the National Gallery of Art. I had wonderfully pleasant meetings with clients and industry partners. All things I would not have been able to do had I not left the South. But as I look out of the window of my plane, I can’t help but to look forward to coming home.

Kelli Eidson
Kelli Eidson is a true Southern girl hailing from Kennesaw, Ga. She’s an avid reader, cardigan aficionado and Braves fanatic. Y’all can follow her on Twitter, and on Instagram.