Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Just Can't Stop Being Southern

It seems as I move into my second decade on this side of the Mason-Dixon line, I seem to unconsciously be gaining Southern traits instead of shedding them.  For example, I just got myself a coon hound.  Yep, and that totally wasn't on purpose and given what I've since learned, probably wouldn't have been my first choice for suburban living, but there it is.  I thought about taking him back,but he really hasn't given me any good reason.  Sure he's had some indoor accidents but only two so far and these were liquid not substance.  Otherwise, he's been shockingly easy.  He picks up something to chew, I say, "No!" and he drops it and walks away.   I even managed to teach him how to sit and stay within the first 24 hours we had him.  And he adores me, following me all over the house and watching every move I make with those intelligent copper eyes of his.  What's more important is that Darren likes him, liked him right off the bat, and what's even more important is that Nila loves him...Especially after we watched the movie, Hachi, for family movie night, which is a sob-inducing movie about a man and his dog and the lengths the dog went for love of his master.  I think the movie layered fantasy onto the reality of having a dog.  This one doesn't even fetch.  So far, we can't figure out how he likes to play.

Mainly he likes to lie around, preferably in my lap, and gently chew my arm.  It may be because he just got neutered a few days ago and I have no idea how that would effect a dog nor for how long. Who knows, once fully recovered he may have more play in him than even Nila can handle.  Fingers crossed that some of this gentle, sleepy little gentleman remains.

His ideal life, at least for the plott hound side of him--we have no idea what the rest of him is--includes tracking and hunting large animals.  I'm pleased as punch if that's the case, but so far his reactions to other dogs are less than courageous.  He tucks his tail, growls and backs away, but to be fair, he's still a puppy and he just got his little balls chopped off.  When I'm feeling poorly sometimes my reaction to anything scary is to cower, too.  Who knows who he'll be.  What's so Southern about getting a dog, you ask?  Well, again, he's not just a dog.  He's a Coon-Hound!  And he's not just a Coon-Hound, he's a Plott Coon Hound which is one of the few breeds of American Hound Dog and this particular breed originated in the hill country of North Carolina.  Now as I say this next sentence, I want you to imagine that I'm saying it with a slow, soft Southern drawl:  He's a coon hound from North Carolina.  Can't get more Southern than that.

And speaking of Southern accents, mine seems to be coming back.  When I first came to Colorado, I was teased about my Southern accent by nearly everyone and this bothered me considerably, especially when it was in a setting like a college debate about a subject for which I felt strongly, argued hard and what I thought logically, but the logic was lost in the Southern accent.  Dolly Parton is all anyone heard.  Instead of hearing my points, they heard a sweet, twangy Southern accent and they'd chuckle at how cute was the fuss I was making.  You may say, quite kindly I'm sure, that perhaps those points I so painstakingly made weren't quite as logical as i'd hoped they'd be and that may have been the reason for the chuckles, and I have to admit, there was a part of me that feared the same.  Or perhaps it was the Southern accent combined with my 18 year old, 95 lb., 5 foot 3 frame capped with two big blue eyes and a crazy amount of curly blond hair.  But then I pulled a pygmalion.  I wrestled my accent and slowly began reshaping the way I pronounced words until I could argue points in something that hearkened Boston more than Dixie and something miraculous happened.  Suddenly, what I said seemed to start having merit and instead of looks of amusement when I argued, people actually putting on their thinking faces and considered what I had to say. Even my grades went up!  Now I did cut my hair and started dressing a bit more grown up, too, so I have to concede that there may have been an overall metamorphosis aimed at being taken more seriously, but nonetheless, what had changed wasn't my mind or my beliefs.  Only my appearance had changed.

Recently we moved from the Southern Rockies to the Northern Rockies, and something seems to have triggered almost a regression, though I hope not.  I hope it's more of a drive for full authenticity, but accent seems to be making a comeback...And I'm letting my hair go a little wild again.  Yet, my intelligence, I hope, has grown.  As I struggle to elbow my way into graduate school I've actually considered a more serious haircut and to trample that Southern accent back down, but the idea kind of pisses me off, at the same time.

 Back when I was 18 and struggling to survive in the world, revamping my persona for the sake of better school grades and life-sustaining jobs was definitely the right call, but what of now?  This article doesn't have a conclusion.  It was done stream of conscious style, as are all of these entries.  It's what I use this blog for, what i call High Stakes Blogging, because I don't rewrite anything and it's actually out there in the event that anyone ever reads it.  Somehow I feel this public exhibitionism spurs a more satisfying writing experience.  At any rate, this is the time allotted for writing today.  If you'll excuse me, now I have to go home and take my dog for a walk.

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