All sorts of shit going down since I’ve been back in TN… Sorry to those owed a return message. I’m not ignoring you, just trying to keep my ass from getting burned by all the irons in the fire. Stick with me and I’ll be back to regular posting and actually returning messages pretty soon.
I now return you to your regular web browsing. Carry on.
To be perfectly honest with you, I’m just killing a few hours before I need to head to the airport this morning. I’m back in the home of the blues for a few more weeks before Christmas. In retrospect, I wish I would have driven down again this time. I would have been just getting to Harrisonburg if I would have left at my normal time. One of the great annoyances of flying is having absolutely no control of your schedule. That annoys me almost as much as not being able to see out the front of the airplane. They should put in some kind of monitors on the bulkheads and simulate a “windshield” view, but I digress.
I’m leaving a half packed apartment and I can’t say that it upsets me all that much. I need a reprieve from packing for a while. I am always surprised that the sheer amount of junk one person is able to accumulate in a small space over the course of three or four years. As much fun as the great purge has been, I’m ready for a few days of something more normal… And yes, I do note that I am talking about living in a hotel for three weeks as “more normal” without a hint of irony.
It’s time for a fresh cup of coffee and a smoke, so the next time ya’ll hear from me, I should be safely delivered. See you all then.
While I enjoy writing, I have been hesitant to write when I really have nothing to say. My best writing seems to be tied to those times when I am busiest… Over a holiday weekend is not one of those times. Even with the stack of boxes that is sitting here in the middle of my living room, I can’t say that I’ve really been busy. More like packing a little… eating a turkey sandwich… having a smoke… packing a little… napping… having a smoke… packing a little… ad infinitum.
A few days off was great… Now it’s time to get back in the game. Having too much free time makes me nervous… and means I’m going to spend too much time trolling for internet porn. Boredom and streaming porn at the speed of light are rarely a good combination… No, wait… nevermind.
I don’t quite know why our generation is so down on heroes. Culturally, we use to celebrate those who did great things… Armstrong walking on the moon, Patton racing across Europe, MacArthur wading ashore in his return to the Philippines, Washington as father of his country, Jefferson for the brilliant ideals of the Declaration. These were Americans who were held up to be admired and emulated along with the ideals of strength, personal courage, and duty. Today’s heroes are grown men who are paid millions of dollars to play games we all played as kids (and yes I know baseball players were always “heroes,” but until recently they behaved more or less like respectable members of society) or singers pretending to know how hard it is to “live on the streets.” Better yet is the celebrities who are famous, apparently, for being famous. I’ve never been really in touch with pop culture, but I don’t understand how we are expecting these individuals to fill in a role that had been occupied by the best and the most brilliant American’s of past generations. Good lord, what does it say about us as a nation?
Today, we celebrate Thanksgiving and it’s a holiday not only of celebration for the bounty of our land, but also of the Pilgrim Fathers who helped settle that land. These men and women crossed an ocean in the age of sail. They sacrificed their homes, left their families, and everything they had known in order to possibly carve out a better life in the Wilderness. Somehow we have demonized these heroes as well… We’ve called them ethnocentric (code for racist), we’ve accused them of being the first to breach the line of church and state… Incidentally, they were here before anyone had thought of separating church and state in case you were interested in putting in on a timeline.
Thanksgiving isn’t really a celebration commemorating some old guys hitting a rock. It’s a celebration of a people who gave up their safe (if religiously persecuted) lives to become among the first Americans. As we are all gorging this afternoon, I hope we’ll all take a few seconds and remember what an incredible privilege it is to be American and the opportunities it has afforded every one of us. Celebrate our history and don’t, don’t under any circumstances, let the veil of political correctness close your eyes to the heroes of our common past.
The fact that I will soon be closing out the current chapter of my life is been something of an academic exercise up to this point. Even house hunting, as damned frustrating as it can be at times, can be reduced to cold logic. The packing process is something, however, that is altogether different. It requires you to take account each individual item and make a conscious decision of what to keep, what to lose, and what needs to be kept available to the very last minute. I’ve never been accused of being a minimalist and it’s no surprise that what I absolutely need to survive is apparently a considerable amount of “stuff.” Although I suspect that if in a pinch, I could get by with the coffee pot, cigarettes, and the laptop.
At any rate, I’m in the throws of packing these last few days with plans to have everything moved by the end of the year. If actually working, living on the road, squeezing in grad school and occasionally trying to go do something fun isn’t sufficient, I suppose moving is something small to add into the mix for a little flavor. It’s a lot of things around here, but it’s never slow.
I’m not going to lie… My little apartment here in the EC use to be a pretty nice place to live. Nice enough people, good maintenance, and that tell-tale sign of how decent an apartment complex is, nice cars in the parking lot. I guess I hadn’t really noticed it while it was happening, sort of like how you never actually remember when your puppy actually turned into a full-grown dog, but this place has gone down hill.
It’s the little things I notice, like trash in the common areas, patios and balconies jammed with unidentifiable “stuff,” a significant decrease in the quality of vehicles being parked outside. I guess it took a few weeks away to re-sensitize me. Now that I have a fresh look at the place, one way or another, it’s time for me to go. I realized yesterday that the two neighbors who were actually decent had pulled up stakes while I was gone. Guess it’s time to move along myself.
I’m happy to report that I survived the 14-hour drive from Memphis yesterday and while perhaps not quite in fighting trim, I’m not that much the worse for wear. I don’t actually remember much specifically about the trip other than noting how early it got dark. “Falling back” a few weeks ago plus the late time of year conspired to put the lion’s share of the drive well past dark. Not a trek I would recommend to those who dislike driving or night or both, but if you’re good with a pack of smokes, a thermos of coffee, and XM radio it can be a good time… At a minimum, you are bound to meet some interesting people when you roll into a truck stop for gas in south-western Virginia just after midnight… I can almost guarantee it.
I wish I had something more interesting or even a soul searching missive to post tonight, but that’s all there is at the moment.
Oh, and in case you are wondering, it has taken less that 24 hours to get back to my jaded and thoroughly annoyed self… There is just something about driving around Columbia on a Saturday afternoon that seems to being out my best qualities.
I’m taking a house-hunting holiday. I think I sort of overdosed yesterday and will spend this afternoon recuperating somewhere dark and smoky, hopefully in the presence of some type of malted alcoholic beverage.
Unlike the DC suburbs, the problem here isn’t really finding a house at the price you are willing to pay, but rather narrowing down the selection of the 5,000 or so that are in your price range. It’s a good position to be in as a buyer, but it’s also a damned frustrating position to be in because after about three weeks of being in and out of places, they all sort of run together.
There are so many places I have liked, so many features I want, and such good deals, it may just be better for me to build the damned place from scratch and make sure I get exactly what I want. Sure, it doesn’t have the cache of being in an old neighborhood, but then again it doesn’t have hundred-year-old pipes and electric system installed by a company owned by Thomas Edison.
At some point I’ll figure out exactly WFT I’m doing… and when I do, y’all will be the first to know. In the meantime, I think it’s beer-o’clock.
Suffice to say that I have decided not to peruse the house in rural Tennessee that I had been drooling over last weekend. Upon further reflection, I determined that I was not quite willing to give up the comforts of Starbucks, $.99 dry cleaning, dining, and other options that are available living closer to the a major urban center. I think I liked the idea of living in the country more than I liked the actual prospect of doing it.
Houses are a little like women in that you never really seem to forget your first love. So, my friends, we’re going back to the beginning of this little saga… to the little house, on a tree-lined street, that started it all. After further review, I need to disregard the god-awful paint that the current owner has inflicted on the place and marvel instead at the original woodwork. The place apparently comes complete with individual and neighborhood listing on the National Register and is about as respectable an area in Memphis as you’re going to find… You can make you jokes about Memphis being the 2nd (or 4th) most dangerous city in America, but this is an area of college professors and white collar “old house people.” The first time I saw the place, I was bowled over by how much hadn’t been changed. Tomorrow I’m going in to find the warts.
Wish me luck.
The old saw of the real estate trade is that the only three things that really matter are location, location, and location. Not surprisingly, it’s the issue that my own decision has come to hinge upon.
Houses in the town of Covington can be divided roughly equally into two groups… those that have been either refinished and maintained over the years and those that are about to fall down. The line of demarcation between the two is stark and you will know immediately when you’ve passed over it. The house I’ve been toying with is close to that line… very close. The house I have been looking at is on a corner lot on one of the town’s main thoroughfares… make a turn onto one of the side streets and by the time you reach the end of the block, you’ve crossed the line… That’s how close it is.
Plenty of people, especially here in the south are going to say it’s a racial thing, but you’re going to have to take my word for it that it’s really not. Living in Howard County for so long has basically given me a level of ambivalence about who or what lives beside me as long as they leave me the hell alone. The reality is, however, this is still the South and that is a consideration I need to make when thinking in terms of ease of resale when the time comes to move on or up…
I suppose I could always build a giant privacy fence, put in a top-notch security system, ignore the neighbors down the block, and just pay attention to the amazing Georgian across the street…