I drove eight hours on Sunday to visit my parents (Charlotte to Atlanta and back, including a pit stop at the Waffle House, of all places). I’ve lived in the United States my entire life, but good Lord, it’s an entirely different world. Here are a few things I noticed on my drive:
- Cheap Gasoline: People around here don’t realize how good they’ve got it. The gas is $2.25 per gallon. I see places in the Bay Area that charge twice that much with a straight face.
- Jesus!: Hey, no offense to anyone, I’m a lifelong Christian, so there’s no ax to grind here. But……...sheesh!..……..you could scour the entire greater SF area and you wouldn’t see a single religious sign, whereas there are giant billboards everywhere about Jesus, and how you’re going to Heaven or Hell, and so on. The Bay Area is too secular, but this place more than makes up for it.
- Guns!: Simultaneous with all the Jesus-is-love, and love-thy-neighbor, there are an equal number of billboards with ads for machine guns and target ranges. The only thing I tend to like about these ads is they usually also feature a dog.
- Peaches and Fireworks: This was the strangest one: I passed a building which, on one side, sold peaches, and on the other side, sold huge boxes of fireworks. I thought, hmm, that’s a peculiar combination. I understand liquor stores and cigarettes stores being side-by-side, but this? And then I passed another. And another. And then another. I can only conclude there is some archaic tax forbearance for peach-and-firework combinations.
- Ambulance Chasers: Oh My God, the personal injury attorneys! In California, I think these are in much shorter supply, because the laws make it much more cumbersome (and it’s a no-fault state). But here, there are loads of smarmy-looking men on billboards hawking their we’ll-get-you-rich services. My favorite was one of the few non-white guys whose motto was, “Don’t Scream. Call Akim.”
Anyway, the $3 pecan waffles made it all worthwhile. I’ll also say Charlotte is a lovely city with one of the most beautiful skylines I’ve seen and some absolutely charming neighborhoods.