by Noah Lugeons
Heath arrived safely in the bible belt around 10am this past Thursday, only a couple hours after episode 87 announced his trip. He wound up driving overnight as I was editing overnight, so he showed up about three hours after I fell asleep. Lucinda (who beat me to bed by only a few hours) woke to greet him with me following somnambulistically behind.
See, we mentioned on the show that Heath was moving into the same podunk town we’re living in, but I don’t think we mentioned that he would be rooming with Lucinda and me when he got here. We were roommates for almost five years in New York, so it’s not a huge housing transition for us, and any native born New Yorker is used to quarters a hell of a lot more cramped than what we’re dealing with at present.
So he shows up and Lucinda and I rub the sleep out of our eyes long enough to say (and get) “hi,” but all three of us were ready to pass out. In classic moving style, the one thing Heath forgot was the most important… his bag of toiletries… so before we could pass out, he had to make a quick run to the store. Not too much of a problem; there’s a little locally owned (and extremely rednecky) store two minutes from our place, so we hopped in the car and took a quick drive. Along the way I promised Heath a genuine South Georgia experience during his toothpaste purchasing expedition and the hicks in this town were nice enough to oblige.
There were two customers in the store before us, driving a (this is no exaggeration) hand painted, jungle camouflage pickup truck. Between the two of them they had approximately eleven teeth and only slightly more IQ points. We walked in an instant after the older of the two had completed a purchase or about $140 worth of scratch-off tickets. The younger companion (easily fifty years old) was at the counter with a handful of taffy on a stick, suspiciously eyeing the shop-owner, who was counting out his pocket full of change to determine how many of the chewy delights his patron could afford. As I approached the counter he reluctantly returned six of the candies and settled on the nine his finances would allow for.
I picked up a couple packs of cigarettes (because I’m disgusting, apparently) and a Mountain Dew (because I want time to get used to my diabetes before I die of lung cancer). Heath is standing behind me at this point, sure that something is wrong with the cash register. Clearly, I was purchasing more than $35 worth of stuff, so why did the register read “$17.98?”
Needless to say, the weather (about twenty degrees warmer than NYC) and the prices (about 50% lower than NYC) were a bit more striking than the locals. So far he seems to be enjoying the change of pace. New York City, after all, has its own minute, which is considerably shorter than the one the rest of us use. But South Georgia has its own minute as well. In fact, they’ve been working on the same one since late afternoon sometime in June of 1846.
If anybody is keeping a betting pool on how soon he’ll crack, let me know. I want in.