Stepford…

I can’t speak for anything beyond the field of view that stretches a couple of hundred yards on either side of my own driveway, but from all outward appearances the county has done a respectable job at getting things scrapped down to pavement. The fine exurbanites in the neighborhood have been diligently blowing, plowing, shoveling, and salting for the last three days. The whole place looks about as much like Stepford as anyone could ever want.

Being the hermit I am, hanging out at the house for the last two and a half days hasn’t exactly felt like a burden. It hasn’t actually felt like much more than a normal weekend, really. Now there’s an impromptu three-day weekend and curiosity is getting the better of me. The two winding back roads leading out of my little slice of Americana roll past farms and fields and a few sections of deep woods. In fair weather there’s a decided charm to it.

In the current other-than-fair environment somehow I doubt that they’re quite as inviting. I can think of two or three places on both routes where things are probably still sitting over the side or in the ditch from sometime yesterday. The whole county can’t be Stepford. I forget that sometimes. Maybe this afternoon I’ll fire up the four-wheel drive and have a look at what the rest of this mess looks like from outside the warm and toasty.

A thought about the new year…

I live in a pretty standard subdivision and the houses are probably 15-20 feet apart. Can someone tell me how the hell someone would think that was a good venue to set off bottle rockets? I was out with the pups last night around 11:30 when some jackass up the street started popping those things off. I’m guessing the launch platform was their driveway because the flashes were coming from the front of the house. Sadly, by the time I got the dogs herded into the kitchen and got the garage door up, the brilliant individuals who were doing this were nowhere to be found… Which is too bad, really, I was in just the right mood to raise all kinds of hell.

Everyone things the new year means a new beginning. That’s crap… it’s just another year of tolerating the same morons because it’s illegal to kill them. Happy New Year, friends.

Stupid dichotomy…

There are few things better in life than a full tank of gas, an open road, and new songs on the iPod. Those things are less good when your road trip takes you from Memphis to Mobile, Alabama. My drive today could have been a case study in rural poverty. Almost 400 miles of nothing dotted with trailers, closed storefronts, and the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia fluttering over it all. Having grown up “down the crick,” I thought I knew something about the indigenous redneck subculture of the Eastern United States.

Clearly, I was wrong on that score. Sure, I know intellectually that there are examples of crushing poverty easily within a few miles drive of where I grew up, but I really hadn’t ever given much thought to places like that still existing… but there they are. Right there on the roadside somewhere, almost anywhere, between Memphis and Mobile. Once you manage to overlook the scenery, or the distinct lack of scenery, it was a hell of a drive. I think on my way back to Memphis, I’ll plot an all-interstate course to avoid the unpleasantness on my way back to suburban bliss.

Dear Neighbor (or Another reason why I hate people)…

Dear Neighbor,

They pick up the trash in our subdivision on Wednesday. It’s customary for folks to put their trash out on Tuesday evening and then take their newly emptied trashcan off the curb when they get home Wednesday afternoon. Is it really so hard for you to get with the program? Why is your lovely green can still sitting on the curb on Saturday morning? It’s right there by your mailbox and I’ve seen you picking up your mail in the afternoons when you get home. Is it too hard for you to extend your other hand and drag your can back to the garage like every other damned person in the universe?

And another thing… Why the hell are you watering your lawn? I mean, really, why bother? You clearly hate cutting your grass because you do it so rarely… Not to mention that there are three foot tall weeds growing around every obstruction in your yard… including you house. If you’re not going to do the required maintenance, why do something that actually encourages the stuff to grow in the first place? And really, if you’re too lazy to break out the weedeater once a week, at least invest $5.00 in a bottle of Round-up and kill that shit.

Yours very sincerely,

Jeff

New Place…

OK folks, first, please let me apologize for not staying as current with posting as I would like. As almost everyone knows, I’ve been spending the better part of my life working here in Memphis. While nothing is official and probably won’t be for some time yet, it seems more and more likely to me that this is where I am going to end up when everything at work shakes out. With that in mind, I’ve decided to climb my ass way out on a limb and make an offer on a house down here. To make a long story short, everything is squared away and I should be going to closing before the end of the month.

It’s not the old house that I thought I wanted, but that tiny little rational part of my brain reminded me that at some point I was going to have to sell this place and newer construction will probably sell faster when the time comes. So, with that in mind, after the first of the year, I’ll be the proud owner of a tract house in a new subdivision of Memphis.

There’s something not entirely right about buying a house where you aren’t positive you’ll even be there in six months. It sounds crazy, but you’ll have to trust me that it’s not as far out in left field as you’re probably thinking it is. It’s definitely more of a chance than I’m generally willing to take on things, but I figure nothing ventured, nothing gained. Worst case scenario I have a place to live for a few months while I’m here.

I’ll keep y’all posted, but beg your understanding that the updates won’t be as frequent for the next few weeks.