Dispatch From The Heart Of Dixie

June 18, 2013


I’m in Birmingham, Alabama for the week.  A few thoughts so far…

Had a layover at LAX.  Never been to LAX.  Puts a pretty serious dent in my “Airports get nicer the further west you go” theory.  Yikes.  Horrible airport.  Cranky employees.  In case I doubted I was in LA, though, 2 things happened:

  1. Someone held up a food line because she wanted a different brand of bottled water, and wanted someone to check “in the back” for more.
  2. (minor) Celebrity sighting!  Tommy “Tiny” Lister, from The Dark Knight, Friday and Jackie Brown, was in the waiting area next to us.  I deeply wanted him to be seated in an emergency exit row, so that when the attendant asked him to verbally confirm that he’d open the exit, he could say, “I’ll do what you shoulda done 15 minutes ago.”
This guy.

This guy.

It takes a near heroic force of will not to start talking in a southern accent every time I hear it.  It’s ear-heroin.  And the thicker the accent, the stronger the jones.

I could never live in this heat & humidity.  All I’d ever talk about is that.  “Hi, how are you?” “Hot.  My God, it’s so hot.  I mean, aren’t you hot?  It’s ridiculously, horribly hot.”  “Uh-huh.  Can I take your order?”  “Seriously, it’s like some just keeps laying hot, wet towels on me.  And they won’t stop.”  “Yes, sir.  Can–”  “They just won’t stop, you know?”  “Did you want to order something or not?” “Ice, please.”

The phrase “Sweet Home Alabama” is everywhere. License plates.  Tourist guides.  Billboards.  You can’t go 15 minutes without that song going through your head.

If I lived here I couldn’t make myself care about global warming.  It’s already 800 degrees, what’s a few more?  And I’ll turn off this air conditioner when you pry it from my hot, dead fingers.

Ate at a place called Niki’s West that’s impossibly good.  Macaroni & Cheese was under “vegetables.”  My arteries went in to culture shock, but it’s good for them to try new things.

I’ll post more when I have time, y’all.  Until then, here’s the brilliant Drive-By Truckers’ “The Three Great Alabama Icons.”

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About The Byronic Man

Recently voted "The Best Humor Site in America That I, Personally, Write," The Byronic Man is sometimes fiction, but sometimes autobiography. And sometimes cultural criticism. Oh, and occasionally reviews. Okay, it's all those different things, but always humorous. Except on the occasions that it's not. Ah, geez. Look, it's a lot of things, okay? You might like it, is the point.

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33 Comments on “Dispatch From The Heart Of Dixie”

  1. mistyslaws Says:

    I am currently dealing with that hot soup of weather we like to call “summer in the mid-atlantic.” I need to run out to Walgreens, but then I’d have to go out in the soup and leave the safety of my nice air-conditioned building. Um, no thanks. Maybe I’ll get those greeting cards tomorrow . . .


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Where I live it’s pretty dry, so I don’t think I understand humidity percentages, but I’ve been in weather back there that I was pretty sure should have been what’s known as “water.”


  2. Jackie Cangro Says:

    I lived in Atlanta for years and my parents live in Tennessee so I’m with you on the humidity.
    What did people do before a/c? Seriously. It’s hard to concentrate on anything else.

    Have fun. Indoors.


  3. silkpurseproductions Says:

    You’ve reminded me of my stay in Atlanta a few years ago. I couldn’t breath it was so hot. We walked across the street once and thought we would have a stroke. Wait until August it just gets worse. I’m the same way with the southern accents…just can’t help myself.


  4. Go Jules Go Says:

    I never thought I’d see the day you said “Ya’ll.”

    I’ve been there (metaphorically). Resist. The. Urge. Good God. It’s only Tuesday, Byronic Man!!!!!!

    P.S. – Trade you some “veggies” for this: http://www.waldeneffect.org/20120612solarcoolinghat.jpg


  5. UndercoverL Says:

    I wouldn’t be able to keep myself from squealing ‘you got knocked the f**k out!’ Awesomesauce!


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      I bet you get some interesting things yelled at you when you’re such a niche character actor. Apparently Susan Sarandon (okay, who’s clearly not a niche actress) still gets “Slut!” yelled at her from Rocky Horror Picture Show.


      • UndercoverL Says:

        Janet was a slut. She was iconic, too. I wish I could be famous enough to have people yell “dammit, Janet” at me! And I am sorry, but Rocky beat Brad every day of the week and twice on Sunday. I am sure he could change a flat, too. I would kill for Tim Curry’s heels in that show.


  6. mairedubhtx Says:

    I’m in San Antonio and it’s HOT, but not as humid as it is in Alabama. I could not take the humidity. Houston is humid like Alabama. I don’t know if I could take all the “Sweet Homes” all the time, however. It could be a little grating. (I know what you mean about LAX. It’s not pretty.)


  7. Anka Says:

    You’re spot on about LAX. The woman who held up the line probably wanted a Voss water instead. As for artery clogging bliss, I wonder if they serve fried green tomatoes in Birmingham?


  8. pegoleg Says:

    “ear heroin” – ha ha! I sooooo know what you mean. I have to bite my tongue not to pick up other people’s accents. Kinda embarrassing when I go to the China Palace for lunch.

    We went for a vacation in Charleston, SC in July a couple of years ago. Life on the beach was lovely, but somebody had the bright idea we needed to get cultured so we scheduled a walking tour of the historic downtown. Walking. For 1-1/2 hours. On concrete. In Charleston. In July. Thought I was gonna die, then I was afraid I wasn’t going to.


  9. Blogdramedy Says:

    Order a plate of chicken-fried steak for me. I’ve reached my pasta quota.


  10. BrainRants Says:

    Agree on all here. “They” can have California back, and as for The ‘Bam, well, humidity is something you can actually adapt to, if you believe that. The food, admittedly, is awesome… it’s all cooked in butta or ol (oil). Watch Paula Deen.


  11. Andrea Says:

    The dude from The Fifth Element? Neato. What would posses you to go to the south? 😉


  12. Denise Says:

    …so you probably don’t want to hear about the blissfully cool, fresh air here in Portland today. Gotta love the overcast Pacific NW when you’re down in the armpit of America. 🙂 (speaking strictly about the humidity, not the kind folks of the South) Loved the clip about the Alabama Icons, very educational in a cool kid way, I’ll have to look up Drive-by Truckers to see what else they’ve got.


  13. Teepee12 Says:

    Whenever I get to feeling too bitchy about winter in New England, I remember one summer excursion to Arizona when the daytime temperature was 124 degrees, dropping to a chilly 100 at night. It was NOT a dry heat.


  14. Melanie Says:

    Hi. New caller here.
    I transplanted from the Midwest to the South. I deal with the humidity because the winters fucking rock. Shorts on New Years? Yes, please. Sweet tea takes the sting off the heat, but don’t drink too much because you don’t want to talk too fast down here. I’ve learned to talk Southern now, including going off on someone by saying “bless your heart”. Really, other than the “we lost the war” mentality that is ripe in the backcountry, and, let’s face it, most of here is backcountry, I’m pretty happy in the South.


  15. Michael Says:

    The closest I’ve ever been to a celebrity was standing outside Michael Rosenbaum’s high school. (He was the Flash in Justice League, and Lex Luthor in Smallville). Very impressive. Somehow, though, the name Tiny Lister doesn’t quite seem as intimidating as the guy does in The Dark Knight. Hm.


  16. thesinglecell Says:

    Wait. Is mac & cheese not, in fact, a vegetable?


  17. Sandy Sue Says:

    I would *not* be able to stop myself from slidin’ into the local rhythms. Herculean restraint, my friend.


  18. auraporter Says:

    It’s great when some friends of mine come up from Alabama and they are all like, “Woah…. It’s really cold here!” No, my friends, this is normal.


  19. angeliquejamail Says:

    I’m super-duper impressed you put the apostrophe in the correct place in the word y’all. 😉


  20. Deborah the Closet Monster Says:

    You were in LA! Hurray! I know, I know, barely and it was hardly fantastic, but still. I do love it here. (Less when I’m at LAX, for sure; I go through LGB whenever I can now.)


  21. Southern Sea Muse Says:

    You need to hit the 65 south and catch the sea breeze to avoid the heat shock. Y’all come back now, heeyuh?


  22. reocochran Says:

    I enjoyed this post so much! Yes, the south is quite different and I could not (no offense to those who live there) do anything but VISIT it! It is like culture shock still when I see the Confederate flags and also, weirdly enough, smell the different types of foods they serve and I am not talking mac and cheese! I was happy for you to have your celebrity sighting! I saw a man who looked just like the long haired cute guy in “Leverage” t.v. show in a bait store in Florida last October, but could not get my guy to take a picture of me next to him, slyly or otherwise! Take care and good luck down there! Try to stay yourself but relaxed version!


  23. Marie Says:

    I’ve been in Mexico since November. It was fine then, now it’s like I’m always walking with an invisible heater following me. When the wind picks up it just feels like the fan finally kicked in blasting me with hot air making me turn around to find the source of the AC air output.

    And then it gets hotter.


  24. Arman Says:

    Too funny! Its hot as hell down here and with the humidity to match too but I couldn’t have put a funny spin on that with my brains melting in this heat 🙂


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