Mondays on Zelda & Scout are all about you! In a series we call “Just Folks,” we talk to Southerners who have found their way to New York about where they’re from, where they are now, and what home means to them. Tell us your story here!
This week we have Patrick Cox. This mathematician, Rubick’s Cube enthusiast, and lover of horses (especially when they’re racing) was born and raised among the hills of Kentucky but has recently gone from Lebanon (Pop. 5,629) to New York City (Pop. 8.4 million).
New York, NY
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m a fellow in the Math for America program, where I’m currently receiving a Master’s Degree in Secondary Mathematics Education while also student teaching. Starting next year, I will teaching in the NYC public schools.
I am passionate about horses/horse racing, math, and solving the Rubik’s Cube.
Time North of the Mason-Dixon line so far?
What brought you to New York?
I have always wanted to live in the city for at least a brief period of time. The Math For America program just ended up being what brought me here.
What’s the most common reaction when people learn where you’re from? What’s something about life in the South that you have to explain to non-Southerners?
The most common reaction is “You don’t have an accent,” to which I say I do, and then people listen closely and point it out every time it occurs. Another is: “You aren’t stupid for being from Kentucky/The South.”
As for something I have to explain about life in the South: horses and horse racing.
Describe life in NYC as people at home picture it. Describe life in NYC as it actually is.
People at home picture it: Everything you would ever want to do, plus more!
How it actually is: A lot of the things you would ever want, but also missing things from your home.
Where do you consider home? Why?
I consider Kentucky my home, because I spent my entire childhood growing up there, and I love the area. My parents still live there, and I feel at home when I go visit them.
Do you miss where you’re from? Do you see yourself going back?
I do miss it a lot; it has been an integral part of the majority of my life thus far. And I would like to go back eventually, maybe when I retire.
Do you consider yourself a Southerner? Do you consider yourself a New Yorker? Why or why not?
I consider myself a Southerner at heart, but I am definitely developing New Yorker tendencies, like walking at a blistering pace and sleeping on the subway. I will always be a Southerner though.
Which food/drink/song/book/movie/artwork/quotation/gif/etc. defines New York for you? (choose as many or as few as you’d like)
Food: Pizza and Halal
Song: “Bright Lights Bigger City” (CeeLo Green)
Artwork: “The Persistence of Memory” by Salvador Dali
Which food/drink/song/book/movie/artwork/quotation/gif/etc. defines where you’re from? (choose as many or as few as you’d like)
Food: Fried Chicken
Drink: Sweet Tea
Song: “Wagon Wheel” (O.C.M.S.)
Movie: “Forrest Gump”
Artwork: “American Gothic” by Grant Wood
What is the best cure for homesickness?
Southern food. Period.