Saturday, November 04, 2006

Life on the Island

I never thought I'd live where we are now, but here we are at our 3 year anniversary of moving here. Though I grew up in Florida, I am not a GRITS (Girl Raised in the South). Florida may be geographically south, but Central Florida is not really like the rest of the south. I have, at times of frustration with this area, called it the Slowcountry, for things happen much more slowly around here and it just seems hard to get things done. At times of extreme frustration with this area, I've even been known to call it the armpit of America, but I know that's not really very kind. We have no mall, and the nearest decent shopping besides Walmart, is about one and a half hour away, unless you count the outlets, which I don't. We have a few nice restaurants, but, for the most part, the service is poor to say the least. And need I say it, slow. Last night, Hubby and I got to go out BY OURSELVES for the first time in a long time. My in-laws have recently moved to the area, so they came over and watched the kids so we could have dinner together. Well, we went to the new restaurant in town. It was very crowded, but that would have been ok if the hostesses had not been clueless. My husband dropped me off and I went in to get our name on the list for a table. When I walked in, there was a woman at the front desk complaining about her take-out order while one hostess talked to her and one hostess seemed flustered about a patron that was not answering their page. I waited patiently for them to acknowledge me. While waiting, another woman walked in and kind of edged her way to my right, glancing at me then moving past me. The hostess immediately looked up and asked her, "How many?" I turned around and walked out, found my husband and told him we needed to go somewhere else. For one thing, the wait was going to be LONG, and for another, I didn't appreciate being totally ignored while being polite, while the rude customer got their attention. Ok, rant over, I know that the hostesses were flustered and that I wasn't purposely snubbed. I also know I'm not the most important person in the room. I just wish customer service would come back, and I'm tired of rude people. The next restaurant we chose was much better, and the service was excellent, so we had a nice time. The problem I have is, most restaurants and stores I've had experience with here either do not have good service or they are extremely slow. The last time we ate at that same restaurant, we were with a very large group, so we were careful to cut the wait staff a lot of slack and made sure we tipped well. We had the kids with us that time and the baby was beginning to get fussy and the checks had still not been brought out. My husband politely got the waitress' attention and asked if she could bring our check out when she got the chance because the baby was getting fussy and we wanted to go ahead and leave so we could take her out and not disturb anyone else. Well, we waited and waited, and I finally took Boo out to the car and waited there. When Hubby and the boys finally came out, he told me that his was the very last check she brought out. She gave everyone else theirs first. ugh. That's the island mentality for you. And have I mentioned the stinging marsh gnats recently???

Another gripe. Monk went on a carriage ride in the historic downtown area for a friend's birthday party and came home telling me that the South were the good guys in the war. We had an immediate impromptu history lesson to set him straight on that one. I don't go for that whole "War of Northern Aggression," "the South will rise again," tripe. I guess from their perspective, the North were the bad guys. But it's been over 140 years. Let it go! Then, Mr. Concrete Mind asked me if they were all bad. I had to explain that I'm sure there were good and bad people on both sides, but that it is good the Union won. In fact, I told him that really we are all bad - we're all sinners in need of a Savior ultimately.

So, with that in mind, I need to end my rant and say that there are good things about living here, too. It is a mild climate, and we're not too far from a pretty beach. There are benefits to a slower pace of life like running into people I know all over town. Hubby has a great job and is very happy there. That in itself is worth dealing with lots of environmental nags. If we hadn't moved here, I wouldn't have had my faith stretched in certain areas and learned to see the benefit of a small church. I would have just continued to shuffle along in the Purpose Driven mega church mentality. So, really, I can thank God for moving us here. It really is growing on me. I just have to learn to be patient. Looking back at the restaurant incident, nothing really worth bothering about really happened anyway. Who knows, those hostesses and that other guest may have had a rough day, and if I had been ugly to them, it would have made it worse. I hope that woman got to have a nice, relaxing dinner, and I'm glad I'm not dealing with guilt today for pitching the fit I was tempted to.

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