Ok, I really didn't want to go this route on the blog but this week really laid the final straw. So here goes:
Now, it should be said that I don't hate Charleston out of principle. In fact, I would recommend a visit or even living here to almost everyone I know. I, however, feel like a fish out of water here. There really is no other way to explain it. It is a like being in another country for me. The culture, the social expectations, the dress code all make me feel like a foreigner in my own country. And I think that is what makes it so hard. This should be "home" to me, but it isn't. And I had hoped that maybe we would move here and I would be pleasantly surprised to find that I love it here. That it was simply that our first year of marriage was hard cause it was our first year of marriage. That I was so upset cause I could barely land an interview the first time and when I did the guy interviewing me told me point blank I was going to have a really hard time finding a job cause, "Charleston runs on a good ole' boy system and if you don't know anyone here you are going to have a hard time." (No seriously, that actually happened.) Or that we just didn't make enough money to enjoy ourselves. While all of those things are true, and certainly effected our first year here, I maintain that I am a square peg being hammered into a round hole.
As such, there are a few things I need to get off my chest. First, as crazy as it sounds, I felt more comfortable driving in California than I do here. California drivers are as aggressive as they come but at least they have their head in the game and (for the most part) aren't too thoughtless or inconsiderate cause you never know who might have a serious case of road rage. Not so with Charleston.
Evidently, Charleston has not caught up with this whole "no cell phone while driving" thing cause it is perfectly routine to get caught behind someone exiting onto the interstate 10 miles below the speed limit cause they are texting or have their phone glued to their ear. But that isn't even the worst of it. There is a startling lack of traffic signals in general so it is like vigilante justice on the roads. A couple days ago I went to grab some groceries and got caught in line for a stop light in the right hand lane. Now I drive a Mini Cooper so the front and back end of my car are very short so I usually end up leaving extra room between myself and the car in front of me. Well, during this particular stop the two old bats pulling out of the drive at Walgreens (on my right) decided that there were just enough INCHES to sneak between my car and the SUV in front of me. (So few inches, in fact, that I had to throw the car in reverse.) Then they stopped in front of my car and waited for a window to turn left. Now everyone close your eyes. Imagine you have just caught your child trying to stick a fork in a light socket. Now imagine your face as you yell, "What the hell are you doing?" This was the face and the words I was mouthing at the two old ladies as they passed me. And I know they could see me cause no one had tinted windows and they were close enough I could tell you what prescription glasses they were wearing.
Nick came back from the standard Navy brief outlining the basic tenets of don't drink and drive and don't drive like a moron and was SO creeped by THIS presentation he point blank told me, "Umm so basically don't drive anywhere unless you have to."
Point two: shopping carts. Seems petty, but really is exemplar of attitude toward customer service. This has become a pet peeve of mine within the three weeks we have lived here. Few people put them away. It makes me crazy. Driving through the parking lot at Costco is like taking on an Olympic ski slalom. Carts everywhere. There are cart corrals. They are clearly visible. NO ONE USES THEM. This isn't just a Costco thing either. I went to the grocery store last week and people were just leaving their carts in the middle of the exit, 5 ft away from the cart line up. Really? How hard is it just to slip your cart in with the others. So I took my time while balancing my grocery bags on my arms to put a couple up, audibly huffing and puffing as other people walked through the exit. Yeah, that's right. I have become that chic. Oh, and in the past month I have had to send Nick back to two separate grocery stores to exchange dairy products that had been left on the shelf too long. (After which I deduced that all the employees were too busy putting carts away to take those expired items off the shelf, of course, of course.)
It feels good to get that all said. Phew. And I will admit, maybe...if you get me liquored up and in a really good mood, that I am saying all this out of frustration. Like the kid who hates his math teacher cause he doesn't understand the subject.....Or maybe not.
Despite all my kavetching it shouldn't be said I am not having a good time, cause I totally am. (I just have to shake my fist once and a while.) I have totally retreated into the kitchen. I have been cooking up a storm. In the past few weeks I have made re fried black beans from scratch. Tonight we made deep fried zucchini. I have also started on my quest to learn to bake in a way that would just blow the minds of you and the person sitting next to you. I made cupcakes from scratch and even rocked myself some lavender icing. That's right. I own a mortar and pestle and I kicked some lavender into gear and made some of the most delicious icing you might ever have. Up next, I am tackling home made chocolates. I am just waiting for my molds to come in the mail.
Beyond my own resourcefulness Charleston has more than represented. I have found two really delightful wine shops. One has wine and cheese tasting on Mon and Thur for $5 and the other has wine tasting for $1 on Fri and Sat. (For those of you doing the math that leaves Sun, Tue, & Wed without a cheap tasting.) Remember sometime last month I mentioned the truffled tater tots? Yeah, they were everything I would have hoped for and more. I will be learning to replicate those at home.
Now that I have vented a little off to bed. Tomorrow I run, design some address cards (fingers crossed), do some laundry, plan some meals, then hit Avondale wine & cheese for some wine and fondue...mmm wonderful fondue......