I love the span of time when something just ended and something new is beginning. It’s just about the only time that the grass is not greener on the other other side. I’ve been divorced twice, and the year or so after a divorce is just about the best time for having a balanced perspective of both sides. When I was married, it looked so great to be single. I thought it would be terrific to get up and worry about my own problems, solve my own problems and go on vacation where I wanted to go. When I had been single for a good while – three years or so – being married started to look greener. Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone to help out with things, not have to work so hard for companionship and share expenses with someone? But the three years in between are great for facing reality. It’s early enough to remember the cons of being married, but to enjoy the newness of being single. If there’s ever a sweet spot in life it’s during a transition.
I’m in a sweet spot right now. I haven’t yet experienced the problems of living in Baton Rouge, and it’s exciting to explore the new area and meet new people. I’m close enough to leaving Memphis that I remember that it wasn’t perfect either. I miss my friends there, but my adrenalin is pumping from being on an adventure. This will last probably about 6 months or so, I’m guessing. If I’m lucky, I’ll make it a year before the grass starts looking greener somewhere else.
One of the perks of being in this sweet spot is feeling the newness of it all. Pretty soon, the uniqueness of the culture here will become normal, and I’ll forget how it was different. When I moved to Memphis from Chicago, I was shocked when people would call me Ma’am. I was so used to living in Northern cities and the Pacific Northwest that I forgot about the whole Ma’am/Sir thing. I also noticed how much more overtly friendly people were in Memphis. Midwesterners are friendly, but they don’t talk to strangers at length about themselves without knowing them. If Chicago were a 2 on the friendliness scale, Memphis was a 6. Baton Rouge is a 9 at least. Everybody talks to me here. And, not only do they say yes ma’am, they call me Miss Sharon. It’s considered a sign of respect down here, and I remember I would’ve gotten my ass chewed if I’d called an older woman or man by their first name without the prefix. One of my friend’s daughters is in college. I told her that she could just call me Sharon. The most horrified look came over her face. It was fear mixed with utter confusion. I dropped the subject because I realized that she would have to go back on some very strict values in order to change the way she addressed me.
My friend Jean Ann and I were talking over lunch about men down here. She also lived in the Chicago area for awhile. Men look at you here. I mean they really look at you. There’s no glancing away so they don’t get busted checking you out. They stare at times. It’s a little unnerving at first, but it does give me an opportunity to say hi, and, I must say that I like it. I don’t have to give off as many signals that I’m interested when they are staring at me. I just have to smile. I’ve even had a couple of instances where men have overtly come on to me. It totally shocked me because I’m not used to it yet. Masculine energy is aggressive by nature, and female energy is receptive. I have to say that I like the more aggressive approach. Dating might be interesting here.
Several of the men that I’ve met here have told me that they like heavier women, too. All of my life I’ve been trying to keep my thinnish figure, but I’ve got curves, so I can only take it so far. As I listened to the guys talk in my circle of friends, I’ve heard over and over that they like their women “thick”. They prefer a woman with meat on her bones. One guy said he loved my hips. I’m not sure what that’s about. Generally, sexual attraction has something to do with a subconscious biological need. Maybe it shows good health or something if a woman is heavier. Any ideas?
Jean Ann and I laughed about the things we say down here. We shorten our words. Boil sounds more like ball. Friday sounds more like Fridy. We call shopping carts buggies. Lunch is called dinner, and dinner is called supper. You cook red beans and rice on Mondays because … well…. just because that’s what we do. Legend has it that Mondays were wash day, and the ladies could cook red beans all day while they were doing the wash. Any decent restaurant in town will serve red beans and rice on Mondays. I wanted to make some yesterday, but I was so busy unpacking I didn’t have the time or energy. I’ll make a pot next Monday for supper. Because that’s what we do down here. Right now, it’s all exciting and new again. In a year or two, I’ll probably be bored to tears with red beans and rice. Who knows? I may be starting to think that BBQ sounds pretty darn good again. That darn green grass … it just keeps moving.