Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Polite conversation

I would like to point out that my rather newsy post below, only two lines of which actually drew any attention at all, has devolved into a discussion about the proper way to eat grits. I, being from Missouri, was under the impression that it is right and good to put sugar on grits. I would add that I learned this from my southern mom, though I can't honestly say that she is a grits purist herself. It's entirely possible that she learned this from my step-dad, a Missourian to the core, who corrupted her with his conviction that no cornbread is worth eating unless it has sugar in it. Blech!

The comments below are not dispassionate on the subject and that raises an interesting point for me. I've reached the conclusion that, in addition to religion and politics, grits should probably be added to the list of things never to be brought up in polite conversation. I have been accused of heresy for eating my grits with sugar. You know what they do to heretics. They stone them, burn them at the stake, banish them to dungeons of torture. People need to be warned.

I'm a little nervous now. I'll be spending a few days on vacation with JM who is rather sure of herself about the proper way to eat grits. I unwittingly stumbled into this new awareness that I was not properly raised. Wow! Grits, not safe! Who knew? I'm now wondering what other shortcomings I have that have yet to be revealed, which I will clumsily introduce in the course of conversation while we're driving to and from Yosemite. Politics will probably be a safe subject. I don't get the impression that JM is into religion that much, but anyone as steeped in Emerson and Thoreau and Muir as she is really very likely a Unitarian Universalist at heart, so we're probably okay there too.

So I need a little help knowing safe topics of conversation for that long car ride. I do need this help, because she thinks it will be fun to quiz me on all these dating scenarios that leave me baffled. This is vacation. I don't need to be a nervous wreck on vacation! Or, maybe you all can give me some ideas of things I can quiz her on. Yeah. That's a good idea....


SpookyRach said...

If you must discuss grits, pick and side and then get all adamant and fundamentalistic about it. The object being to overwhelm the other side with your verbosity and fervor, not neccessarily with content. I think that works in lots of situations.

Listing Straight said...

Here's what I love:
politics=safe conversation
grits=off limits.

That's a beautiful thing.

JM said...

My father's family has been Catholic for centuries and my mother's family was Lutheran for centuries and then became generic fundamentalist baptisty people. I went to Catholic school until I was 12, and did two of the big three things Catholic kids do. After a struggle with our parish for several years, mostly having to do with a lack of support and a pissing contest over who was going to say mass at my brother's funeral, my family gave the church a big FU and walked away. I then became a godless heathen. But I think I am a UU at heart.

The better question is where I learned the right way to eat grits, given that I'm from Pennsylvania and my family is Italian -- neither known for their grit-eating.

jo(e) said...

You know, from reading JM's blog, I have the impression she hasn't gotten any sleep in the last two years. I don't know how she possibly could have. So don't worry about conversation topics -- just take the wheel and let her sleep.

jo(e) said...

I want to say, too, for the record that I've never eaten grits -- or even seen them.

They don't sound appealing. I don't know if I could eat something with a name that makes it sound, well, gritty ....

Linda (FM) said...

Rach- I think you're right. That's a good point.

LS- Exactly my point!

JM- Yeah. That's what so surprising to me...I'm thinking she's Italian, from Pennsylvania. They eat grits?

Jo(e)- You make an excellent point about the sleep. I hadn't thought about the fact that I might need to drive. Hmmm... And as for the grits, I don't really think you've missed much.

Seeker- NOT YOU TOO!

JM said...

I went to college in virginia, some grad school in kentucky, and spent a couple years hanging around north carolina. I learned the native food right quick. ask me about collard greens!

New Kid on the Hallway said...

I sort of don't get sugar on grits, either, but then, I'm a complete northern Yankee heathen. We totally put sugar in our cornbread and THAT'S THE WAY IT SHOULD BE.

But we don't eat the grits so much. I'll still with hash browns.

And I realize that I'm completely behind the times and you're off gallivanting in Yosemite with JM, so I wish you both a good time!