America's original sin was slavery. It's second and still ongoing sin is the urge to Do Good. The religious refuse which leached out of Europe and bubbled over onto our shores left a thick pious scum over every ridiculous crusade undertaken by packs of crumb-bums with chips on their shoulders. At home, things once considered normal or even desirable are being stigmatized and illegalized at a frightening clip. Overseas, we thrash wogs who dare to stray from the paths we define (and freely redefine without warning) because of a burning desire to uplift them. What moralicism supposes, an obliging government gleefully imposes in its brutal, blunt-ax fashion.
Me? I just keep wanting to hide.
A ten-month stint in deepest darkest Ohio did not deliver what I was looking for. So I came to the conclusion that it was better to be a frustrated artist than a failed artist. But there wasn't a huge local market for techno-geeks. So, after all the bitching and moaning, I'm back in North Carolina. Specifically Morrisville, where "tarpaper shack" is more than just a colorful turn of phrase. Ever hear of towns where they roll up the sidewalks at night? Ours are permanently packed away.
And that is nothing short of amazing, if you examine where we're located. On our eastern border is Durham, which is ruled by totalitarian Baptists, truculent (Jesse) Jacksonian Panhandlers, and Dookies who squat to the left of Chairman Mao. Not surprisingly, the city usually racks up the highest per capita murder rate in the state.
Engulfing the immediate west is Cary, jam-packed with Northerners forced to pull up stakes after their old employers fled the crippling local taxes . . . ahh, but the transplants fondly remember many of the things that made places like New York so attractive -- with an unswerving focus on those paid for through crippling local taxes. If you wish to get a mob carrying pitchforks and torches straight out of a classic Universal horror flick on your front lawn, just paint your fence a different color without first trotting over to the Zoning Board to fill out the required forty-seven forms. Better yet, the bastards require paperwork for every additional dog you acquire.
Morrisville is a doughnut hole of relative anarchy and sanity. There is no master plan. Neighbors generally take notice of changes in their surroundings without instinctively reaching for a County Commissioner or State Senator who can BEAT them into a more acceptable shape.
Are Morrisvillians morally superior to their grasping neighbors? Probably not. Praising their restraint would be like congratulating kindergartners for not sleeping around. Human nature is pretty much immutable, but paying off politicians comes more naturally to folks who are accustomed to having piles of money to toss around. When all you got in your wallet is a couple of crinkled twenties, and you're competing for expensive goodies against people with tens or hundreds of thousands to sprinkle over the legislature . . .
Right now, right here, it is as good as any other possible place to crash. Outhouses and high-tech industry coexist, just a few miles from Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
. . . . .
On a personal level, I'm on top of my game. Cut back on the drinking, started exercising, and rapidly lost fifteen pounds. I'm working at another telephony-type company, and my shit is fairly wired-together. It's a fish shoot, though, because now I'm surrounded by guys and gals who appear to believe that a computer is just a glorified typewriter. So I come up with new procedures or demonstrate how to write simple scripts and create macros which can automate grunt tasks (sophomore tricks), and some treat me like I invented fire, others like I'm violating God's Own Laws. Sad, really.
Oh, and wimmen still loathe me, but I am really getting in tune with living in Terminal City, and should soon be able to run down an empty-eyed doe.