Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Southern Living

I live in New York City because Southern Living -- the magazine that every dedicated Southern woman proudly features on her coffeetable -- turned me down for a job during my junior year in college. Admittedly, the magazine was right for booting me out of the interview, since I hadn't even read the sections for which they were hiring, but it still stung when they smiled sweetly and said, "Thanks for playing, honey."

So after they said no, I went into business journalism, which I thought would bore me to death (what's EBITDA?!) but ended up intriguing me all the way to New York. After a few years of talking earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, I pretty much started thanking God that I didn't get hired on at Southern Living. It's a beautiful magazine, but I think I would have gotten bored quick.

Still, if I'd landed that job, I could have been closer to my roots, some of which I went to visit this last week. A lot of the people I grew up with are still living in the deep South, and this trip allowed me to check in on their lives over frozen daiquiris at Applebees. We talked about minivans and SUVs, softball and dance recitals. Even though they had changed a lot over the years (what's Junior Civitan?!), they were still the same crowd I remember.

My accent slid right back into place after five minutes in the Little Rock airport, and I suddenly wasn't the only one calling people "dear" and "honey." It made me wonder what my life would have been like if I'd stayed closer to home after college.

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