Celia Rivenbark

Easy to tell astronaut not a Southerner

While everybody else was slack-jawed over lovesick astronaut Lisa Nowak's "she's-come-undone" behavior, I just thought to myself: "Isn't that just like a Yankee to think nothing of getting in the car and driving 14 hours straight to Florida?"

Southerners just don't do this.

My whole life, I have realized that one of the key differences between folks from the North and South is that a Southerner would never get in the car and drive more than six or eight hours to get anywhere. We're simply not programmed that way.

A Southerner considers it a huge deal to have to sit in a car longer than four hours, to tell the truth. We see no need to rush.

When I was growing up, if we went to Florida, just three states away after all, it turned into a three-day trip. Yankees don't do this, a fact I learned early on from relatives who lived up north and would brag about how they could drive straight through from Maine to Florida (and this, it should be noted, was without the helpful addition of specially designed NASA diapers).

Lately, I've noticed a shift, though. Two of my Southern friends have installed DVD players in their vans and have openly bragged about how the drive to Disney World is made so much easier by five straight showings of "Monsters Inc." Yes, my hons, Southerners are now driving straight through to Florida and if you look in your Holy Bible, you will note that this is one of the signs of the end times.

Southerners have never traveled in this manner, but what can we expect in a world gone mad? A world where a fair number of people actually believe that it takes exactly 21 days to get un-gay.

I'm just saying.

My heart breaks for the space lady. I mean, this is the most embarrassing romance-related performance since Southern bride-to-be Jennifer Wilbanks (see: "15 minutes of fame-comma-outlived") ran away to New Mexico and told everybody she'd been kidnapped.

Of course, being a Southern girl, she didn't drive straight through to New Mexico like some kind of crazy person. She sort of ambled across the country in a Greyhound bus, which I imagine, stopped in every little town with a gas station/bus station all the way to Albuquerque.

My girl, Lisa Nowak, on the other hand, didn't so much as fall prey to the magnetic pull of the Sombrero Tower at Pedro's South of the Border. Would it be chili today and hot tamale? She cared not.

One woman was running away from her man; the other running to him, but at altogether different speeds.

It's a Southern thing; try to understand