The Southern Expat Communique: New York observations of a displaced belle

What can a Happiness Index teach us?

Alexa von Tobel is at it again. This time, she is helping us determine whether wealth is tantamount to happiness. What do we learn from her today? In short,

1.   Money doesn’t necessarily make you happy. Duh.

2.   The wealth gap in our country is extraordinary: the top 20% of the country earns 8 times as much as the bottom 20%.

3.   There exists something called the Gross National Happiness (GNH) Index. By god, I think the Bhutanese are on to something by quantifying happiness as a kind of national commodity. Happy people are more productive, right?

Alright, kids, what are you going to do today to improve the GNH of your country, state, city, home? I might just schedule a field trip to Bhutan, Denmark, or Norway to learn from a happy example, you know? Let me know if you want to sign up! In the meantime, I am going to listen to some blues music (which I think is downright inspirational) and pick up a copy of The Geography of Bliss.

Have a beautiful day even if the sun isn’t shining above you!


30 March 10, 12:58 pm
Filed under: subway | Tags: , , , , ,

Well, I think the midwest (or Oklahoma, I’m not sure which), has us beat, Southerners…at least this morning. 

On this very rainy morning, I hopped on the train and headed uptown with the rest of the soggy masses.  There was even less talking, soliciting, and music making activity than usual. 

At the 42nd Street stop, a very loud family entered the train close to where I was seated, unfortunately.  The very smiley couple sat and looked at their surroundings as though they had never entered such a vessel before.   The mom had a big Aqua Net helmet, and the dad proudly displayed a Nazarene University ball cap.  Kids (3) were dressed appropriately as kids. 

Mom begins by greeting the car with a billowing “well, hello, New York!”  It caught me off guard, and I mistook her for a beggar, announcing to the car that he had a story to share, as often happens.  I was mistaken.  The woman then turns to the Asian man sitting next to her, touches him on the arm, and says very slowly, very loudly “ko-mee-chee-wooo.”  Now, I suppose she was trying to say “konnichiwa,” and I suppose she was just doing what seemed friendly, but I also suppose she determined that was not enough.  She then asked her family members, “can you all say ‘ko-mee-chee-woo’ to the nice gentleman?”  All of them, responding in kind, greeted the man who looked more Korean than Japanese with a rousing “ko-mee-chee-woo!”  This awkward chorus resounded (in unison) about 4 times before I left the train. 

The poor man was probably subjected to more malapropisms and corresponding sympathetic looks before his stop.  I’m happy to say I left the train unscathed.  I’m also happy to report there was no southern drawl in her voice.  It may be a small victory, or not a victory at all, for my native land not to count her as one of our own.  I am always glad to learn there are other regional groups that make asses of themselves. 

In other news, it looks like NYC will break its March rainfall record in the next 36 hours.  The entire city looks like the Hendrix campus after 3 inches of rain.  I have to remember this is an island, after all.

Umbrella #1
13 March 10, 7:02 pm
Filed under: weather | Tags: , , ,

A wise woman and great friend told me just yesterday, “you are going to break a lot of umbrellas in NYC, and it’s OKAY.”  Boy was that wise woman right.  Yesterday I bought my first New York umbrella, all cute and purple, at the Duane Reed.  Today, I thought a quick walk to Brooklyn Heights for some thrift store perusing would be a good idea.  “It was not,” said the purple umbrella.  I’m going to pour a little out for the first umbrella casualty of many to come.  See below for photographic evidence.