In the Heart of Dixie

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    Oct 29, 2011 2:19 PM GMT
    Southern Living
    First Days on the Job


    Alabama-fans-with-Constantino-e131970945

    A recurring joke over the course of my walk has been that “if you’re walking like an American, you should be driving!” Well, for the next month I will be doing just that. My ride is an SUV borrowed from my host. Pretty American, right?

    I get up at 6 a.m. to be at work by 7. I’ve discovered at least three country music stations on the dial in Tuscaloosa. I’m totally into it. I alternate between “The Bear” and “The Bull”, but my mind couldn’t be further away from Wall Street and the markets. I stop at a gas station every morning and run in to grab a cup of bad coffee—the awfulness makes me wake me up and utter a four-letter word with the first sip, though, so I guess it’s doing its job.

    I’m working for a roofing company. The crew is pretty cool. Half of them speak English, and the other half Spanish. One of the English-speakers asked me today if I can give him some Spanish lessons after work. I used to moonlight as a tutor, so I’ll be glad to help him out. Since I’m still learning the ropes, I mostly just carry their ladders, help load and unload the truck, and hand them stuff. The boss got insurance for me yesterday, so I’m now allowed to climb up with them. I’m still figuring out how to keep my balance on pitched roofs, but I have thus far avoided ending up like this.

    Tailgating, I've learned, is a lot of fun. And there’s a lot of food. And it’s all so good. This is a bye week for the University of Alabama, but LSU is coming to Tuscaloosa on November 5. That’s going to be a good game, and I hear that Tigers fans are “brazen,” so I’m sure the town will be crazy that weekend. I don’t have tickets to the game, but I have three tailgate parties to attend that day, so all is good.

    I am forced to report that I have gained a couple of pounds in the last 10 days. But worry not, I’ve already found a gym that let me join just for the month. I still fully intend to enjoy everything the South has to offer and leave with a flat stomach.

    On a more serious note, I’ve decided to do a few short road trips to other parts of the state while I’m here. Some Mexican immigrants I met said I must go to a town north of Birmingham called Cullman, where the immigrant population claims the Ku Klux Klan is active, and targeting them. I want to see how much of that is true. I also want to have more conversations with immigrants, legal and illegal, to learn about their lives under the new law.

    In the meantime, I will keep on working, learning, and writing for y’all. Roll Tide!

    Constantino Diaz-Duran is a fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University. He is chronicling his walk from New York to Los Angeles to celebrate his eligibility for American citizenship. Follow Constantino’s progress.
  • masculumpedes

    Posts: 5549

    Oct 29, 2011 2:34 PM GMT
    So far, you have actually walked from NYC to Alabama? icon_confused.gif
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    Oct 29, 2011 2:47 PM GMT
    malefeet saidSo far, you have actually walked from NYC to Alabama? icon_confused.gif

    Yeah... I was thinking of that the other day. It's been 1,200 miles. icon_eek.gificon_cool.gif
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    Oct 29, 2011 2:53 PM GMT
    19c79 said
    I’m working for a roofing company. The crew is pretty cool. Half of them speak English, and the other half Spanish. One of the English-speakers asked me today if I can give him some Spanish lessons after work. I used to moonlight as a tutor, so I’ll be glad to help him out. Since I’m still learning the ropes, I mostly just carry their ladders, help load and unload the truck, and hand them stuff. The boss got insurance for me yesterday, so I’m now allowed to climb up with them. I’m still figuring out how to keep my balance on pitched roofs, but I have thus far avoided ending up like this.

    Roll Tide!



    Keep your center of gravity low, wear sunscreen, and don't get cocky. If you're gonna fall, try to land in the shrubs. icon_razz.gif
    Warrrrrr EAGLE!
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    Oct 29, 2011 3:20 PM GMT
    Great update man. Keep um coming. The pic is awesome. Love it!! You look like a true Bama fan. The Alabama/LSU game will be a classic!
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    Oct 29, 2011 4:08 PM GMT
    Beaux saidWarrrrrr EAGLE!

    Can't wait for the Iron Bowl. We're gonna kick y'all's ass.

    catfish5 saidGreat update man. Keep um coming. The pic is awesome. Love it!! You look like a true Bama fan. The Alabama/LSU game will be a classic!

    Yeah, I'm still trying to get tickets.
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    Oct 29, 2011 4:15 PM GMT
    You're getting to really know parts of the country. I think you will also enjoy the southwest - Texas (especially western part of state) , New Mexico, and Arizona. Then California will have the urban area that you're familiar with in NY, but on a desert next to the ocean. Everything to look forward to.
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    Oct 29, 2011 4:37 PM GMT
    This ought to be fun, working in construction, exhausting sometimes, but fun. I don't know but those construction workers like to play around a bit. I know you wouldn't do that.
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    Oct 29, 2011 4:38 PM GMT
    That was a great read! Thanks for the update. Enjoy the south it's a totally different feel than the East Coast mentality! icon_biggrin.gif
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    Oct 29, 2011 6:07 PM GMT
    vincent7 saidThis ought to be fun, working in construction, exhausting sometimes, but fun. I don't know but those construction workers like to play around a bit. I know you wouldn't do that.

    Yeah, it's tiring... So far no vibes from my coworkers. They said something about going out to "get some pussy"... I'll have to tell them that I'm more of a dog person. icon_wink.gif
  • commoncoll

    Posts: 1222

    Oct 29, 2011 6:30 PM GMT
    Are those men in the picture your hosts? They look pretty cool. How did you end up staying with them?
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    Oct 29, 2011 8:20 PM GMT
    commoncoll saidAre those men in the picture your hosts? They look pretty cool. How did you end up staying with them?
    They are really cool, but not my hosts. I'm staying with a friend's mom and stepdad. The man on the right and his wife are friends of the family--very friendly people.
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    Oct 29, 2011 8:37 PM GMT
    Welcome to the South. It gets a bad rap sometimes, but there's also a lot to like about it. SEC football, as you've no doubt seen, is enormously popular and the tailgating is a fall tradition I couldn't live without.

    How long are you in Tuscaloosa?
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    Oct 29, 2011 9:06 PM GMT
    Global_Citizen saidHow long are you in Tuscaloosa?

    I love SEC football. I'll be in Tuscaloosa until after Thanksgiving.
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    Oct 29, 2011 9:09 PM GMT
    19c79 said We're gonna kick y'all's ass.

    .
    Get out of there! Get out why you still can!

    "y'all's" <--- OMG, they are brainwashing you! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif
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    Oct 29, 2011 9:11 PM GMT
    wow. very impressed. let us know when you shuffle through hattiesburg. icon_smile.gif
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    Oct 29, 2011 9:23 PM GMT
    TropicalMark said
    19c79 said We're gonna kick y'all's ass.

    .
    Get out of there! Get out why you still can!

    "y'all's" <--- OMG, they are brainwashing you! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif


    We'll know the acclimation is complete when he knows the difference between y'all and all y'all.
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    Oct 29, 2011 10:37 PM GMT
    Global_Citizen saidWe'll know the acclimation is complete when he knows the difference between y'all and all y'all.

    Global, y'all come down to Tuscaloosa 'n see me, now, ya' hear? All y'all on RJ come!
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    Oct 29, 2011 11:37 PM GMT
    19c79 said
    Global_Citizen saidWe'll know the acclimation is complete when he knows the difference between y'all and all y'all.

    Global, y'all come down to Tuscaloosa 'n see me, now, ya' hear? All y'all on RJ come!


    TropicalMark, IT'S TOO LATE.

    This Boy's been SOUTHERNFIED !
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    Oct 30, 2011 3:46 AM GMT
    19c79 said
    Global_Citizen saidWe'll know the acclimation is complete when he knows the difference between y'all and all y'all.

    Global, y'all come down to Tuscaloosa 'n see me, now, ya' hear? All y'all on RJ come!

    Well, I'll be. I think you done got it. icon_wink.gif
  • charlieviiper...

    Posts: 328

    Oct 30, 2011 3:55 AM GMT
    So you're not talking about the new Rachel Bilson tv show

    Hart of Dixie?

    hart-of-dixie-480x414.jpg
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    Oct 30, 2011 4:06 AM GMT
    ROLL TIDE!!!!!!!!

    LOL!

    I was born in Tuscaloosa.
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    Oct 30, 2011 6:17 PM GMT
    PresentMind saidTropicalMark, IT'S TOO LATE.

    This Boy's been SOUTHERNFIED !
    LOL. When I first read this I thought it said "southernFRIED"... icon_lol.gif
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    Oct 31, 2011 5:34 AM GMT
    19c79 said
    PresentMind saidTropicalMark, IT'S TOO LATE.

    This Boy's been SOUTHERNFIED !
    LOL. When I first read this I thought it said "southernFRIED"... icon_lol.gif
    Well you ARE tasty lookin!
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    Oct 31, 2011 5:37 AM GMT
    charlieviiperi saidSo you're not talking about the new Rachel Bilson tv show

    Hart of Dixie?

    hart-of-dixie-480x414.jpg


    Yeah, I thought he was talking about the CW show, now I'm confused icon_neutral.gificon_lol.gif