21st Century Dad
One Dad's Thoughts, Ideas, and Feelings.
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The Tennessee Transition

June 5th, 2009 . by 21st Century Dad

When we last left off here, I was preparing to move to Tennessee. A master of the obvious will tell you that I’m already here.

It has been a mostly painless transition. Taking care of things like getting a Tennessee driver’s license, registering my car (yes, I have a car now!), and getting administrivia taken care of is much easier in The Volunteer State.

You Live Where?

If you tell anyone who doesn’t live in Tennessee that you live anywhere else but Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville, and maybe Chatanooga, they think you live way out in the middle of nowhere.

The Job Market

Knox County has about 1/3rd of the population of Broward County and an even smaller fraction of what’s considered South Florida. One would think jobs would be even more scarce. It’s not the case. Take all the available jobs in South Florida. Subtract the ones that require you to speak Spanish. Now compare the job markets in Knoxville and South Florida. 1-0 Knoxville! If you include Oak Ridge, then prospects start looking better.

I wouldn’t mind having a regular job here. The pay is much more in line with the cost of housing here. With the pay scale being very close and a lower overall cost of living, it’s Knoxville 2, South Florida 0.

I could always use another freelance client. Know anyone who needs help with PowerPoint?

Culture Shock

I never knew customer service could be so good! Add a little southern charm and a smile, and your trip to Starbucks is just that much more pleasant. They say the pace of life is slower in the South. It has to be. The first 3 minutes of every conversation is almost always jockeying back and forth with different ways to say “how are you?” and “I’m doing fine, thank you!”

I stopped by Target in Clinton last week. (Again, Clinton sounds like it’s way out there. In reality, it’s only about 10 miles from Knoxville). I was looking around and Marisa Tomei’s voice spoke one of the many memorable lines from My Cousin Vinny. “Oh, you blend!” Within seconds of having that thought, I spy an entire Asian family. There’s a stronger Asian presence here than you would think!

I Don’t Need no Stinkin’ GPS

If I get a GPS, I’ll never learn my way around! I am a bit of a throwback. As connected to technology and web 2.0 as I am, the inner curmudgeon sits on my shoulder and speaks very loudly when I pass by the GPS units at the Super WalMart.

South Florida is laid out like a grid. Knoxville looks like what would happen if your toddler played Sim City. Planning ahead, Google Maps, maps of Oak Ridge and Knoxville, and I’m doing just fine.

Bad Drivers Are Everywhere

Ask anyone where the worst drivers are. They will invariably tell you it’s where they live. I’m disguised as a local, complete with a Tennessee license plate on a Jeep Grand Cherokee. You probably think that bad driver is a local. It’s really me – a recent transplant. I still have to say, South Florida wins this nefarious honor by a landslide. I turn on my blinker and in Tennessee, that means, “the car with the blinker on wants to turn or change lanes.” In Florida it means, “Let me finish typing this text message while I juggle my coffee and Mapquest printout.”

Making the Big Move

May 1st, 2009 . by 21st Century Dad