Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Remember That One Time I Went Slummin...

Now that I've returned to the real world, I feel its my duty to report on all the strange sightings and encounters from Memphis, as if the pictures didn't say enough. I should preface this account by saying how much I loved the south and its natives, because without them, I'd have nothing to blog about.

We knew our trip would be interesting when we entered southern Virginia and saw the confederate flags waving freely and proudly. We stopped off at a roadside souveneir stand which was not unlike a broke down shack complete with hillbilly in overalls on the front porch. We politely poked around the junk outside (your usual garden-variety gnomes and bird feeders), and were about to sneak away unscathed when the hillbilly yelled to us, "AY! Ya'll ever seen a live bobcat??" After much persuasion - ok, not that much persuasion, after all, I hadn't seen a bobcat - we went into the store to see the hillbilly's bobcat.

We followed the hillbilly through stacks of rattlesnake skins and "Virginia is for Lovers" t-shirts until we found ourselves in a back room, with the hillbilly yelling out "BOBBY!!!!! BOBBY!!!!" This was a clever hillbilly - naming his pet Bobby the Bobcat.

Now, I know you're thinking that we must've been some kind of stupid to follow the hillbilly into the back room of his store (I've seen Deliverance), but I ask you, when was the last time you had the opportunity to see a real live bobcat up close and personal? Besides, the hillbilly (named George) assured me that he was no perv, and warned me not to soil myself on his linoleum.

At this point in the story, while George searched for his bobcat, I turned to Johanna and said, "If his 'bobcat' looks like a penis, I'm out of here..." because I had no idea what I'd see coming out of that room. My heart was thumping and I really did pee a little when a tiny, striped, baby kitty came bounding into the room. The only bobcat-like thing about it was that it had no tail. I knew then that I was dealing with a whole nother kind of crazy down in the south.

After escaping with our lives and carnal treasures intact, we listened to some banjo music on the porch with George, afterwhich he showed off his prized rattlesnake skins and shoved their fangs into our faces - afterwhich I had a brief panic attack and told him that I really didn't want those things in my face. We left with gifts of cheap paper fans, Virginia key chains, yellow tomatoes, and a new found resolve to walk away the next time someone asks if we want to see their bobcat.

And that was just the first few hours of our trip. The folks in the south proved to be every bit as entertaining as I'd hoped. Some of my favorite sound bites:

When I asked the redneck from St. Louis about why he had a tattoo of a hammerhead shark, he said, "Cause its kewl." Enough said.

The cashier at a gas station in Tennessee, after Johanna purchased ephedra: "Ya'll be careful with that, it landed me in the hospital. I have a heart murmer, and my daddy's had fiiiiive heart attacks, and TWO triple-bypass surgeries. We just found out he's got the syphallis - ya'll heard of that? That STD? He caught it from my mama - she's been sleepin around on him for some time."

At which point Johanna asked, "Is it treatable?"

To which the cashier replied, "Oh yeah! They can treat everything cept the herpes and AIDS nowadays. So ya'll be careful if ya ain't married, cause you can catch the syphallis."

The woman behind me in line at Graceland, picking up bits of trash, "What is with all this traysh? Show some respect! This is ELVIS HOUSE!"

And my personal favorite: A redneck at a Waffle House in Mississippi, on his cell phone having an argument with his girlfriend: "I didn't call you FAT, I just said I like fat chicks!"

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