Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Like MacArthur to the Philippines, The Terminator to the police station, or America to its senses (ok, I'm an optimist), I have returned to The Neighborhood. It'll take me a day to get back into the normal groove of life, catch up on the news, recapture my writing mojo, all that sort of stuff. So nothing new or important to report on.

But, noting that I plan (key word: Plan) to post one piece a day for the next week or so on a particular element of the trip, allow me to briefly chat about our journey. Yes, we sojourned into the heart of our culture, the very roots of much that screams "America": The South. We spent time in, or at least drove through Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.

To repeat, for those of you not all that familiar with me and mine: this New York Jew and his Korean wife spent a week-and-a half driving through Dixie. To find that with the exception of the accents, the weather, and the omnipresence of Jesus Christ, there ain't all that much difference between the North and the South. Metaphorically speaking, the distance from Manhattan to Long Island (or New Jersey) is greater than the distance from Long Island to the outskirts of Atlanta, or Charlotte, or Richmond, or Columbia.

And you know what? I think that disappearing distinction between regions is rather sad. If you're willing to go off the beaten track, to try to meet the people, there are differences: in food, in music, in attitude, in the pace of life. But the world of highway-suburb-shopping center-gas station-fast food outlet employed with Mexican immigrants is all but identical in every corner of the America I've seen over the last half decade or so. California, New York, Washington DC, Texas, the Southeast: if you're not observant as to license plates, topography, small businesses, radio content, number of churches, etc., you won't see any real difference between one region and the next.

Anyhow, enough of that for today. As said, I hope (key word: Hope) to write one short entry a day about some impression of the regions, towns & cities we saw: Roanoke, Richmond & Charlottesville VA; Bristol TN; Asheville, Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill & Fayetteville NC; Greenville & Columbia SC; and Atlanta. A lot of Villes, huh?

Oh, and lest you think I didn't find (and enjoy) some of those distinctions I sought, let me dissuade you from that opinion with three words: Bluegrass, Barbeque, Blondes.

(Not that I "enjoyed" any blondes, per se. Afterall, I was with Mrs. Mike. But you know what I'm saying).


Blogger Alan P. said...

I'm glad you had a nice trip and got back okay. The south is an interesting mix of good and bad. I really enjoy the weather in the winter. Went to Alabama for xmas a few years ago, tee shirt weather.

12:02 PM  
Anonymous waitingforthealiens said...

I could have told you. I've lived in the deep south all my life except for a 2-year sojourn in the middle west. I just hope there will be a little of North Carolina left to move to when we retire in about 15 years (stock market not withstanding.)We love the Asheville area. Here is a webcam located about a mile and a half from a tiny lodge we try to visit at least once a year.

One thing I think we effete, liberal intellectuals fail to appreciate is that these people we dismiss as red staters are capable of much more nuanced thinking than they may let on. Another is that, politics aside, taken in the individual, they often possess the kindness and courage, devotion and fidelity that are surely necessary if this poor, fucked up republic is to be saved .

2:04 PM  
Anonymous waitingforthealiens said...

Sorry. I meant to say welcome back.
I have R&R planned for next week. That is the Redneck Riviera of Perdido Key, FL, just east of the world famous stateline puke-dodge, The FloraBama Lounge, where Alabama quarterbacks of yore studied the playbook by the light of the juke box.

2:12 PM  
Blogger DED said...

Welcome back, Mike. It will be interesting to see how your vacation in the South went. I lived in Atlanta for 2 years and 4 in Florida. It will be interesting to compare.

9:46 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Ded, how'd you like Atlanta?

Or not like it?

11:31 AM  
Blogger DED said...

Atlanta is a long story for only 2 years, but I'll keep it short. On the plus side it was a fun city. On the negative side, I met alot of shitty people (northern transplants and southern natives). So I'd have to say that it's a great place to visit but I wish I hadn't lived there. Of course, I know people who love it. Bad luck on my part I guess.

6:07 PM  

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