My mother once referred to a North Carolina friend of mine who had been raised Jewish and Christian as “spiritually bi-lingual.” After "Mama Jo"'s passing in 2006, I now live in Greensboro and New York. I guess that makes me "geographically bi-lingual." It also gives me a continuous stream of very different stories, as you will read, and I am a certified Story Junkie.
The disadvantages to living in two places are easy to name: spending an entire day packing, another day driving, another day getting settled. Having mail forwarded, internet put on hold, hiring a house sitter. Always needing something that’s in the other location. Always missing an exciting event in one location while I’m doing nothing in the other.
The plus column is less tangible. I simply enjoy being in both places for extended periods of time. I have two sets of friends and don’t want to give up either of them. In the North, I do things like go to Manhattan and enjoy its singular energy and intensity. I shop at Trader Joe’s. I watch a lot of PBS with my nonagenarian aunt and cherish every moment with her. In the South I play Bunco with my women friends (a socially acceptable way for us to drink and gamble), go to family gatherings where everyone speaks with an adorable Southern accent and no one ever curse, and watch “The Hour of Power” on TV every Sunday morning.
Right now, I’m in New York. Today I was working out at my Classercise (similar to Curves) when I overheard another woman (who was also jiggling and jerking around the room to a Sixties soundtrack) say that she worked for Metro-North, the commuter line to New York City.
“I bet you’ve seen a lot of wild stuff,” I said, and regaled her with a story I’d heard about a man trying to beat up another rider with a baguette.
“Move to your next station!” said a disembodied male voice.
“We had an incident recently that was much worse than that,” she said. “A woman was talking real loud on her cell and the man next to her asked her if she could lower her voice. She started swearing at him. He said, ‘Did your mother teach you language like that?’ and she said, ‘I’m talking to my mother!’”
I laughed thinking this Only-in-New York tale was over.
She went on. “They both got off at the last stop. Turned out the woman had called her husband and he was there waiting for the guy. They start having a fist fight right there on the platform! Then the husband looks at his watch and says ‘I have to go back to work.’”
I never would have heard that one in North Carolina.
“Move to your next station!”
No, I think I’ll stay at this one a little longer.
Causes Jo Maeder Supports