Happiness is…

“…two kinds of ice cream…finding your skate key…telling the time! Happiness is learning to whistle, tying your shoe for the very first tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime!”

Sorry! Got a little You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown there, but every time I hear someone say “happiness is,” my brain starts singing. Turns out, according to the CDC, happiness is living in Florida. Or Louisiana, Hawaii, Tennessee, or Arizona, to round out the top five. The research apparently shows that states with a lot of sunshine and a laid-back lifestyle score high on happiness surveys.
The grumpiest? New York. I don’t find that hard to believe. I’ve traveled to NYC several times, and although it’s fascinating and wonderful, I can only take it for short bursts at a time. After a while, I want to see free-range trees instead of ones confined to a park, less traffic, fewer people, and nicer manners.
The thing that finally convinced me that NYC was a place to visit, and not to live, was a casual conversation I had with a group of writers and editors during RWA National several years ago. That week in July had apparently been uncomfortably warm for them (84 degrees and humidity in the high 40s), while I was loving every springlike minute of it (I’d flown up from temps in the mid-90s and a thunderstorm every afternoon, with accompanying humidity). I mentioned that I had been enjoying Central Park’s grass, and how it felt so soft on my bare feet (St. Augustine sod looks nice, but isn’t pleasant underfoot. Too stiff.). Ms. Editor Lady, a born-and-bred NYC girl, actually said, “I walked on grass once. I didn’t like it.” Once? You walked barefoot on grass ONCE??
I don’t know about you, but a life where you have to wear shoes just isn’t one I’m that interested in. Plus, those poor New Yorkers are socked in because of that storm. I’ll be gallivanting about with my top down. Hate to rub it in, Northeasterners, but this truly is the life. And if your latest blizzard convinces you it’s time to think about moving South, a few tips:
  1. Things move a bit more slowly down here. Don’t be rude. Learn to relax and enjoy.
  2. We don’t like living on top of each other, so ease up on all those building permits.
  3. There are bugs here. Large ones. Deal with it.
  4. It’s hot. And humid. Deal with it.
  5. Proximity to lakes and woods does not give you a license to get your wild on. Don’t feed the alligators, morons. Or the bears.
  6. Learn to wave at passing strangers in cars.
  7. Just because we talk more slowly, it doesn’t mean we’re dumb. Check out Faulkner, Welty, Williams, and O’Connor if you doubt me.
  8. Real Southern barbecue is the food of the gods, and soul food truly is food for the soul.
  9. Smile. It won’t hurt anything, and you probably won’t get as many headaches.
  10. Buy the convertible. You won’t regret it.

1 Comment

  1. Anonymous

    “Walked barefoot on grass only once”. Yes, that is weird that she is that uptight. MS Editor must not have been around during the late 1960s and early 1970s, when young people were going barefoot all over NY. Read the NY Times article from Sept 1, 1970, entitled “Shoelessness on the Rise”. And they were not just going barefoot in the park. And it wasn’t only hippies. You did not have to be from down south or from the country then to go barefoot. Young people were pushing the limits of what was considered acceptable all over the nation. Anything to shock and shake up the ‘old’ people of the day.

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