Eastern North Carolina…A Land Where Teeth and Literacy Are Optional #36

You know by now how much I adore living on the Southern Outer Banks of North Carolina; I have written enough words of love on this subject, but, like so many things, there IS a flip side. For those of you old enough to remember records, for every A side that was a hit song, there was a B side, filler, fodder, fluff. So my beloved adopted homeland also has a flip side, an underbelly if you will, a bit less luscious than the beguiling scenery.

Yesterday, The Spousal Unit and I were in line at the grocery store. My having worked as the admin manager of THE cool, hip, local dental practice for 13 years, means there are about  11 folks in the area I do not know personally. We were behind one of these strangers yesterday. The Unit has one of those open, happy faces that never met a stranger; he could strike up a conversation with Sarah Palin and Muammar Gaddafi, and all parties would walk away pleased.

Said female stranger was mumbling to herself, when The Unit accidently made eye contact. All my protective instincts began to set off warning bells, and I sent him cautionary Silent, Secret, Spousal vibrations. “Step away from the crazy lady; do not engage with the crazy lady”. His eye contact immediately convinced her that he liked her, he really, really liked her, and would agree with whatever came out of her mouth. She was gesturing wildly toward a Globe cover showing a photo of President and Mrs. Obama, with a story about their being snubbed for the Royal Wedding. “Communist sumabitch, whadda’s he expect?  You don’t bow to the God damn Queen of England? I’m dummer than dirt and even I KNOW TO BOW TO THE God damn Queen of England, dummm ass sumabitch.You don’t God damn bow and you stooopid enuf to expect a weddin invite?” All this at the top of her voice. All activity at the neighboring registers came to a halt, as people turned to see who was carrying on this brilliant and learned dissertation.

She turned to The Unit and continued to repeat herself, while jabbing a gnarled finger at the Globe. It was then that we saw IT. A huge, black cavernous orb, totally devoid of a single toofer, perched right down on the lower half of her face.  I would like to say this was an anomaly, but around these parts, having all of your natural teeth is as rare as The Donald giving up his comb over. I tell you there is an epidemic of toothless people around here, and the strangest thing is that they are not the least bit embarrassed about it.

Image from hitdanback.com

Image from roadtransport.com

 When I moved here I thought the locals must have a lot of native American blood because they had such pronounced cheekbones; experience has taught me it is simply the missing molars and premolars causing the sunken cheeks.

Image from facebook.com

It isn’t just the tooth thing, either. There’s something strange about the schooling in these parts. Last week, The Unit and I went out to a decent restaurant (they have real silverware and cloth napkins, and something approximating a wine list). I asked the waitress if they had Pinot Noir. She focused intently on my face, looking like the proverbial deer caught in headlights. You could see her mind trying to process my question. To assist in the act of thinking, she slowly pulled the chewed pencil from behind her ear, and oh, so slowly, repeated, “Do we have Peanut Manure wine? Well, Sugar, I surely don’t know about that; I’ll have to check with the bartender. No one’s ever asked for that flavor before”.  After living here 14 years, I should realize that I just need to ask for whatever they have in a purdy red color.

And this one makes me particularly crazy. “I seen it yesterday.” For the 13 years these pint-sized varmints are in public schools, shouldn’t teachers be allowed highly encouraged to whoop any student upside the head caught saying “I seen”? No wonder this country is going to hell in a hand basket! The next time someone tells me ‘they seen’ something, I think I’ll waggle both hands in my ears, and shout at the top of my lungs, “Nah, nah, nah, nah, I can’t heard you”!

Golly, pulling on MY BITCH CAPE AND BECOMING SUPER PISSED WOMAN always makes me feel so much better! Thanks for tuning in to today’s rant!

As a virgin novice blogger, I am fascinated by the incredible amount of talent out there in Blogville. I am in serious danger of spending my entire day reading my subscriptions, while letting the family starve and houseplants wither. Until six months ago, I’d never even read a blog; I’m not sure I even knew precisely what one was, so forgive me for exuding wild enthusiasm for my new finds. I found this week’s infatuation because a picture of Steven Tyler was her feature photo; being a reformed 1970’s wild child, I’ve always had a crush on this crazy man. Imagine my joy when I realized I could see him two nights a week on “American Idol”. It’s like legalized stalking! In ten seasons, I have only missed one episode of “Idol”, and that’s when I was lying in a hospital bed after “dying” in an ambulance. Yes, I am an unapologetic, hard core fan. So you must check out “Steven Tyler Has Gone Bananas” by Mommy Needs a Pinot. And Steven, my buddy, I’m standing by you. Big may be good, but it doesn’t always have to be better!

Now we return to “Texas Toast” and my first day in Milan, Italy. Upon arriving at my new agency, I was given a long list of go-sees for that day, also the address of the hotel where I’d be staying. The hotel was bright and airy, nothing spectacular, but imminently doable for the four weeks I was scheduled to be in Milan. After checking in, the desk clerk provided me with a rudimentary lesson in lire (currency), the underground, and the bus system. Around 9PM I was finally finished with the meetings and greetings, and stopped in a family-owned trattoria for a bite of dinner. After sitting alone at my table for maybe 15 minutes, my waiter inquired if anyone would be joining me. When he found out I was on my own in a strange city, he immediately relocated me to a table set up in the kitchen, where I was joined by all manner of brothers, sisters, and cousins of the owners. I was treated like long-lost family, and spent a marvelous couple of hours getting to know these warm, kindly people. How very different the Italians were from the cold and aloof French. I realized I could learn to love this country quite easily.

When I pushed open the door to my hotel’s lobby around 11PM, I was greeted by the frantic front desk clerk. “Signorina, urgent messages for you. Many times your agency phone here. You MUST NOT go on more appointments tomorrow. You must be at this address instead for an 8AM booking, and at this address by 1PM for another. Also, they said you were booked every day for the next three weeks, so please make no plans to leave town for the weekends.” Certain that, between the language barrier and her charming accent, I had misunderstood, I made her repeat all this three times before it began to sink in. Did Alice just fall down the rabbit hole?

image from openmuseum.org

Emerald Isle NC beaches/Image from city-data.com

Inlet waterways

Historic Swansboro NC

Houseboat/Image from travelstoresales.com

Swansboro NC dock, historic downtown

Sunset over the Intercoastal

3 thoughts on “Eastern North Carolina…A Land Where Teeth and Literacy Are Optional #36

  1. Hahahaa. Seriously, all these small towns must be alike. I kept thinking “Oh ma gawww! That happens here too!”. I think these men need a crash course on spotting crazy folk. My fiance will dive head first into an hour long conversation with a loony even after I’ve pinched his arm and grunted that it is time to leave…now!

  2. Silent, Secret Spousal vibrations and Peanut Manure wine! OMG – LOL! And the road sign photo. You are hilarious, Renee! My son cracks me up because when he returns home from NC, he starts inserting “y’all” in every sentence. But I like that. However, if he comes back missing any teef, I’ll know he’s been there way too long. What if he comes home with a girl with high cheek bones? I’ll make her open wide at the door, and then we’ll talk. Thanks for kick-starting my day with a laugh. Can’t wait to read more about your adventures in Italy!


  3. Hahahahaha, I am from Bogue, North Carolina I have all teeth except those extracted by a dentist for either braces or were wisdom teeth. Cheek bones I have also, they come from my ancestors of Cherokee Indians. My Mother’s maiden name is Barefoot, which I thought gave me all the rights in the world to walk around so, now….I have been inducted into the family of Flatfoot.

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