Thursday, September 29, 2011

No, I'm not from here

The occasion: my first visit to a particular North Carolina Courthouse.  Bear in mind, the South does not use the same verbiage as the West so I'm walking around in a bit of a daze.  It's a new courthouse, real fancy.  Up ahead I spot 3 police officers lounging at a security checkpoint and then as I draw closer I see they are chatting with a seated cop.  The instant the notion flash into my brain I acted upon it.  (I was the only civilian in the area.)  Rushing down the hall towards them I leaped onto the mat at the center of the metal detector and tapped the top button on my shirt.  "Scotty, one to beam up!"

You know those officers were real nice.  The seated one appointed me an escort to show me around the courthouse.  I asked if that was Southern for "we're showing you to the parking lot; you're 86'd." 

Hold on, you know it's coming.  Those four officers looked at each other and yep, one asked "you ain't from around here, are you?" 

I love Southerners.  They tell me I talk funny.  If it wasn't for Jeff Foxworthy I wouldn't have a clue what some of them are saying.  For the record, when it comes to the State of Georgia if you're from the West Coast just give up now.  I've actually had a county tax clerk ask what language I was speaking.  At least I think that's what she asked. 

The scene: Domino's Pizza, paying for an order.  I swiped my debit card and the counter person asked for my billing zip code.  I told him it's 97526.  He asked what country that was.  (Read that again. Yep, you read it right the first time.) Then he said could tell from my accent I'm not from here.

The situation: completing a Current Owner [title] Exam for client.  The client had supplied a checklist of required documentation however I had no clue as to one of the items.  I called the county, Registrar of Deeds Office and by the time I got off the phone with them I was even more confused.  So rather than calling the client I hit the phonebook.  A real sweet ReMax agent put me thru to their legal office.  The attorney on the other end of the phone was polite enough to hear me out.  Laughing he asked "you aren't from here, are you?" 

The hair-pulling-I'm-going-to-scream frustration points: Southern courthouses have records dating back to when the king handed out land grants.  But none of them are standardized.  And it's not just a case of from one county to the next they use different terms - it's from one clerk to the next, in the same office and on the same day.  I end up having to ask a lot of questions.  The response always begins with "you aren't from around here, are ya?"

Footnote for those of you either in or acquainted with the title industry: while performing a search I discovered how many ways a reconveyance can be indexed.  Thankfully the guy only owned the one piece of property, bought less than 10 years ago.  Every 18 months or so he took out a Credit Line, small amount and then paid it off before taking out another.  The reconveyances were indexed as: Completion of Note; Cancellation of Lien; Satisfied Note; Cancelled; and Completion Deed.  The heading of each document boldly said "Reconveyance of Deed of Trust".  I love the South.  I had the opportunity to ask one of the clerks "wouldn't it be easier to just index these as Recons?"  She gave me the look; the look that says "you aren't from here, are you?"

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