When I first moved to Tennessee there were so many things that were different. People spoke differently. People dressed differently. People ate differently. People were just different. Not good or bad, just different. People were definitely more polite. Everyone acknowledges you when you pass them on the street. Young people address you as Ma'am ( not sure how I feel about this one now) In general, people just seem friendlier. This is all really great, but when you first get here it takes awhile to acclimate and lose some of your how shall we say it... brashness. I admit it, I am a bit dramatic at times and tend to fly off the handle. Now in my defense, I may rant and rave, but after I get it all out I can be reasoned with. I am lacking in the impulse control department and God forgot to put one of those filters that helps you keep your mouth shut in me. I have improved over the years (no comments please) but I was pretty much just full of myself when I was 16. I had just started driving to school. Driving my mom's Dodge Aries because I hadn't mastered the stick shift in my Omni yet. I pull into the parking lot and did the classic pull through the parking space. Problem was I didn't see the car coming at the same time. We both slammed on our brakes. No impact, no damage, but I did what every good driver from Northeast Ohio would have done in that situation. I flipped the other driver the bird. If I had been in Ohio I am sure that the other driver would have returned my salute, laughed it off and been on her way, but I was not aware yet that the bird has much more impact here in the South. Nice people just don't flip the bird here. Especially nice young ladies. The other driver did not appreciate my telling her that she was #1 so she promptly jumped out of her car. I have to break here to tell you that the other thing that I had not really learned about the South yet was how to handle the species "Redneck". These Rednecks were different than any other species I had encountered. They generally were not very cerebral, and tended to be very physical. While now I have come to appreciate this species, and even call a few friends, at this time I was way out of my league. I don't remember much about what happened because she was in my face so fast I couldn't even think. And to make matters worse this poor girl was cross-eyed. It is one thing to have somebody in your face screaming they are going to kick your ass, but it was really hard to know which direction I should be looking to face her off. I kept looking over my shoulder to see who she was looking at. Didn't help matters. I remember her saying something about teaching a "preppy" girl a lesson and me spouting something about you don't want to mess with me. We were in a standoff. But wait, who do I see walking up the stairs that could save the day- John Byers. I thought surely my friend who was such a nice young man would come and help me. But alas, John said "Hey Meg" and promptly ran into the school. Apparently this cross-eyed redneck girl was to be avoided at all costs. I tell myself that John chose his future career in law enforcement because he felt so guilty about leaving me there to fend for myself. He swears he didn't know what was going on- whatever.
I would like to say that the story ended there, but it didn't. Redneck Crazy Eyes and her entourage made a game of chasing me around the school all week. I thought it couldn't get any worse, but the enforcer of this group was a huge huge woman. Not a girl, an Amazon woman. I am pretty sure she was about 6'2 and at least 250. I am pretty sure she was a 19 year old Freshman. She could have squashed me. She took the lead in bullying. They were everywhere I went (except my classes of course. does that sound snotty- sorry) Finally I was at my breaking point. I just wanted it over. I saw Amazon down the hall coming at me. I grabbed a hold of the boys arm next to me and said "Todd- whatever you do don't leave me." Todd, was a good friend, but even he wasn't going to stand up to this bunch. He let go. She pushed me up against the locker. I said "you have been chasing me around for a week, if you are going to hit me, hit me now." She pulled her arm back ready to strike and in comes Randall Jones. Vice Principal extraordinaire. He grabbed us both and dragged us to the office. Now that I was safe I spouted off- "if I get kicked out of the National Honor Society for this I am coming after you B*****" I showed her. I got off with a warning and instructions to let a teacher know if I was getting bothered again. I think Amazon ended up in ISS. (note to my kids- getting good grades and having your teachers like you does help in situations like these)
I would like to say that the whole incident taught me to keep my mouth shut, but I think we all know that it didn't.
I don't know what ever came of Redneck Crazy Eyes and Amazon Woman. I hope that they don't remember incident and have gone on to do great things. For my safety and/or their anonymity if they have reinvented themselves- if you know their names, just keep them to yourselves.