Tomorrow will be two weeks since we moved to South Carolina. We are still paying two mortgages and utility bills until we sell our home in Harrisburg. Yes, it is worrisome, but South Carolina has more than made up for it with its ambiance and quality of life. Yes, it is blasted hot right now and if you stay out to long without a covering of SPF 50 or a white bedsheet (no, not those people with the hoods) you can really get burnt.
This part of South Carolina is certainly different from many of the rural areas. It is a gathering place for retirees and avid golfers. You can’t drive any distance without coming across a golf course or two. The place that we live in has three golf courses. I have not had the guts or time to go out and hit a few. I am not really a golfer, but I love the scenery.
The landscaping and architecture of the place, both Bluffton and Hilton Head is really amazing and also mystifying. There are no open shopping areas. Unless you have a clever GPS system or have lived here a while, you will not be able to find Lowe’s, Best Buy, Steinmart, PetCo or anything else. The shopping areas are hidden from the roads by trees and other greenery. Yes, there are cutouts that have small signs that tell who what’s there, but you can’t really read them following the speed limit. You really have to have gone there before, or having a talking GPS.
Our experience getting our car registration, which is not a cursory 36 bucks, but rather a tax based on the blue book cost of the car, was very pleasant. I did have my credit card with me, so payment was easy. The driver’s license was something else again. The DMV was constantly packed. As with the deli counter and bakery, you had to take a number. For some reason (later found it was my blended bifocals, I could not read the third column in the eye test. I got a clearance from my Eye Doctor, then found out that it had to be on a certain form. When I went back to fill out the form, the nice lady asked me to take the eye test again. I did pass it this time. When Carol came in the next day, she got the person who had failed me the first time and told Carol that she had failed the eye test. Carol had not taken the test. When she took it, she then passed it and got her license. However, the lady behind the counter really did not believe her.
Many of the people down here come from elsewhere, even from the South. It seems to be the landing place for Northeast people (some are snowbirds who live here half the time) and people from Georgia, Florida, Alabama and other Southern states. They seem to congregate here among the retirement villages and the plush Hilton Head Island. Yup, plenty of really good restaurants, style stores and the regulars. Walmart has also found a haven here. For those old timers who are looking for low cost items and those who cannot afford other stores, Walmart is a place that is constantly crowded. They are also building new stores, along with Krogers and Publix.
The overwhelming people that we have met, excluding the retirees, are pleasant, helpful and slow to burn. They are also slow on the uptake. The nature of the weather and the sociology put no pressure on service folks to do anything quickly or on time. We have been warned by our friends not to expect speedy service at any level. Actually, we have not yet had that experience. The utility companies have been quick to send me a bill, even if it’s only for gas at $1.45.
Now, driving is a different story. My grandchildren and children believe that I am a really slow driver. I disagree with them. I don’t just follow the speed limit. I do drive a bit above. However, down here and especially in Sun City, the speed limits are really low. How about 15 to 35 miles per hour. The major problem for me is the ubiquitous golf carts. There are thousands of them here in Sun City. They seem to believe that they have the right of way, whether on the roads or in the parking lots. Outside, in the real world, there is very little distance between you and the person behind you. I believe that the distance is about half what it was in Harrisburg. The passing lane seems to function properly, but when a person is that close to you on a highway, one would expect them to pass you at some point. No, they don’t . They just follow you until either you and they get off the road.
On the bright side of things,it may be true that this climate and lifestyle is good for me. All of my vitals are lower than they were in Harrisburg, even though my cookie injections have increased.