Strangers in a strange land
Want to know why biscuits in North Carolina are so much better than they are in the rest of the world?
I did, which was why I interrupted a woman who was loading her groceries at a Harris Teeter supermarket and chatting with the cashier.
One word: love.
“Well, it’s love and a lot of butter,” she said. “You can’t be afraid of the butter.”
She suggested that biscuits were invented in North Carolina and that everyone’s grandmother has a recipe for them. They all taste somewhat different, but they’re all so much better than everywhere else.
That was just one of the many stories we’ve overheard ever since we picked up our two high-school-aged kids, threw our unwitting and desperately frustrated cats into their carriers, and relocated to the Tar Heel State.
Putting the cats in the carriers is always challenging, but it was as if they recognized that the trip would
be especially difficult for them. The older one, who is cautious and only likes members of our family, stuck his paws out as we tried to lower him into the case.
It reminded me of all the times our children used to arch their backs as we tried to put them in the car seat. Reasoning with the cats didn’t work, but eventually we won the battle.
We arrived here during a heat wave in the Northeast. As it turns out, our first few days have been a few degrees cooler than what we left behind. Our son observed on the way to the airport that we used to make this drive when we were leaving home, but we were now taking the drive toward a plane that would take us to our new home.
Our interactions with people here have been remarkable. For starters, it really is challenging to find someone who is originally from Charlotte. We have met people from Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey.
The Northeasterners have universally described how much they enjoy living here. Some of their own complaints are the lack of bagels and authentic Chinese food.
People, wherever they are from when they’re here, have been noticeably courteous, even before they read our Yankees shirts, our Brooklyn Cyclones hats and the names of Northeastern schools on our attire. I was pulling out of a store with an enormous rental car. The drivers from two lanes in front of me stopped to let me go.
The North Carolinians are also more than ready to share their stories. Randal, the driver who delivered our cars, gave us advice about where to go for mechanical and auto-body needs. He also shared a few harrowing
anecdotes from his days driving a truck and responding to various emergency calls.
On my trip to the grocery store, where I met the woman who was so proud of her biscuits, I also noticed how people violate the typical New York peripheral vision rule. You know how when you’re in the city and you’re walking down the street, you’re supposed to notice people without staring at them or looking them directly in the eye? The opposite was true among the people I saw in the supermarket. They not only look you in the eye, but they greet you with a “hello” and “how are you doing?”
While I will never be able to test the North Carolina biscuit theory because of my lactose intolerance, I would have to say that, so far, our first impressions of our new state have been remarkably positive.