Monday, August 31, 2009

Random observations from the road

I just returned from a trip to South Carolina for a family event and - although I don't generally blog about personal things - had two experiences that I wanted to share.

First, if you happen to be in Ashville, North Carolina for any reason, definitely check out Luella's barbeque. It was terrific! Not only did they have excellent side dishes, but they actually had bbq tempeh. (And it was really good!) This may not sound like a big deal to folks who live on either coast or even some of the more metropolitan cities elsewhere. But, imho, it is.

I used to live in Georgia in the early 90's. Let me tell you, even in Atlanta where I lived, if you tried to explain to a waitress that you just wanted to order the sides, at best you'd get a lot of confused looks. Frequently, you'd get a lot of disdainful look. And occasionally you'd get some sort of comment that was either so rude or so uneducated that it had you re-thinking your whole restaurant choice.

So I was a little hesitant to go to a bbq restaurant while we were down south last week (flashbacks, you know), but my southside Chicago boyfriend is a bbq fan. He's generally adapted to my food preferences much more than I ever would have expected, so if once in a while he wants bbq, it's ok with me. It was an unexpected pleasure to go into Luella's and be able to order a dish off the menu and not feel marginalized. Hopefully, a lot of other bbq places in the South are trending that way too.

Second, I unexpectedly met an attorney and a judge near the Appalachian region of Tennessee. The attorney was polite, but elderly - and clearly an old-school in his thinking. At one point, he asked me in what area I practiced. When I responded that I have a niche in animal law, I got the usual snarky jokes (ie: he called over his Beagle mix and told the dog if he gets in trouble to call me...).

The judge, though probably 20 or 30 years younger, wasn't a spring chicken (sorry, bad pun intended) either. But - much to my surprise - rather than a second helping of snark, he seemed genuinely interested in my description and even asked some thoughtful questions. Now, if you're not a litigator, again, this may not seem like a big deal. But imho, it is.

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