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A ripple on an otherwise flat world

Posted on October 15th, 2007 after 9574 miles by Dean Croshere.

I’ve been lax.

I promised myself (and a few other people) that I would keep this site updated and current. If I got behind, I would start to miss things and lose some readers.

I’ve broken that promise. I’m behind. Way behind. My last update covers up to central Virginia. I didn’t even stay in Virginia; instead I went straight to North Carolina. Then I went to Georgia where I stayed for a couple days. Now I’m in Tennessee.

I stopped a couple times while I was in Georgia to slow down and catch up on what was going on. I just didn’t know where to start. It wasn’t that nothing spectacular had happened. I have had a great time in the south so far. I think it was a combination of two things. I didn’t have any awesome Boxer pictures and I am reticent to talk about my hosts.

I am far more willing to write my impressions about complete strangers who may or may not read my site. I both owe these strangers far less than my hosts, and I have nothing to lose by writing about them. If I write about my hosts, I may inspire some fear (or at least some nervousness) in future hosts that I may write about them in a strange way they don’t like. After all, they consented to let me sleep at their place, they didn’t consent to being written about on the Internet (regardless of the necessity of such consent).

I think this, more than anything else, is why I have refrained, with only one exception, from giving my hosts a name. Of course, simply referring to them as “host” becomes complicated as an update covers multiple sites and hosts, but I think I prefer the anonymity it gives.

Lets see if I can straddle the line between appropriately describing my hosts and providing a good description of my experience.

North Carolina comes first. I showed up in Raleigh, “Carrie” (Carry?) on Friday. There was an unfortunate gap of time where I was unable to meet up with my host because of work schedules. I wandered around town for a bit before holing up in a Starbucks to write up the post about Virginia.

My host in the northern of the two Carolinas was another forumite. All of the people on this forum have one thing in common: They are nerdy enough to post on an Internet forum. How this nerdiness spreads into everyday life is always interesting. There are the book nerds (I hang out in bookstores and have more bookshelves than cupboards), the World of Warcraft nerds (I spend hours playing a single game, the rotation of the earth and the resulting changes in light and “time” mean nothing to me), the Halo nerds (Single handedly lowering the youth pregnancy rate by giving guys something else to do while drinking). Luckily, my host was the perfect kind for a Friday night. The “lets go to the bar and get a few drinks before crashing back here and joking around while playing video games” nerd.

It was a great night wherein we meet up with a few other guys from the forums that we drank with for a while before retiring to the video game console and cheaper beers. To make the night even better, one of the guys snatched the bill from my hand before it got there.

The next day I stuck around in town for lunch before heading out. We hit up a barbeque joint that served the meat rather interestingly. Rather than cook my pulled pork sandwich in the sauce, they simply served it dry and the sauces were on the table. Apparently, the North Carolina sauce is the vinegar based one. I prefer the tomato-based thick sweeter sauce.

I should mention at this point that I have noticed how incredibly flat the world is. I have had very similar experiences at nearly every place I have been so far. The only major differences have been the people I’ve met along the way.

It isn’t that these people are fundamentally different from each other. It isn’t like a northeasterner is any nicer or meaner than a midwesterner. With the exception of the idiots I saw as I was driving into Manhattan, I’ve noticed that people drive the same everywhere. This may come as a shocker to you (and nearly every host has told me about how terrible the drivers are where they live), but people drive the same everywhere.

Now, I realize that a lot of this “flatness” is because I seek the same sort of things no matter where I am. I know what entertains me and I look for that. Further, my hosts are all somewhat likeminded with me. After all, I knew them somehow.

Further, in this age of communication, with the Internet and television, accents are disappearing. Before I came to the south, I only heard a bit of a local accent in a couple of places in Boston. Otherwise everyone just has a “stage” or neutral accent.

That was before I came to the south. It was in North Carolina that I heard three ladies talking in a bar. Every once in a while they said some things that had a bit of an accent, otherwise they sounded like just about everyone else.

It was briefly exciting. Sort of like a little hill on a road that has been perfectly flat for miles. Certainly this little event is more interesting than the NASCAR time trial that was on TV. Watching cars turning left is boring enough. Watching them turn left without any other cars on the track? Dear lord.

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