Thursday, September 1, 2011

Link of the Day

Off subject? Somewhat. In a post about enjoying college football from an english lit. grad turned college football blogger within a corrupt world of simulacrum, there is this:

Florida. Tennessee. South Carolina. Georgia. The states changed but the houses never did: new, empty houses with unsodded yards and spotted with buckets of paint and spackle. We played in them as children, crawling up new plywood stairs without railings, walking through fiberglass insulation in unfinished walls that left subtle scarlet irritations blooming on the skin. They sat on roads with names saluting fantastical geographies. In one of the subdivisions we lived in had at least three roads titled "Something ridge." The highest point in the subdivision could not have been higher than 50 feet above sea level, and nothing so much as resembled a ridge.

They were fake. Developers imagined them. Builders took the curlicued weavings of road and lots on plans and graded them into existence, pouring concrete flats where orange groves or cattle pastures once stood. They all smelled like drywall, freshly hung drywall shedding motes of powdered gypsum into the air.

They aged poorly. In Georgia, the red clay stained the foundations. In Florida the exteriors grew mold like bread left in a petri dish. Water stains rippled in eccentric brown patterns through the ceiling after heavy rains. The yards became patchwork jungles after the first layer of sod died and the locals moved back in, salting the green with barbed seed pods and lurking hives of yellow jackets.

These places were fabricated, ersatz, unreal. Their roads and names were meaningless, parking places for cars and people surrounding factories, buildings, offices, and schools spilled across unincorporated land like the unwound wiring of a deconstructed motherboard. It was fraud, too. It is where I lived, and slept, and snuck from house to house as a teenager, and threw bricks through windows of homes no one owned when boredom required petty violence. No one would stay here. No one ever did.

Like millions of others, we went where money's currents floated us. Those winds usually died somewhere at the end of a cul-de-sac, in a neighborhood built on nothing and sustained by attachment to a major road. There's one of these in Franklin, Tennessee that I drove past once. It is named Spencer Hall: an expensive, fictional nothing filled with homes sitting on streets named for things that never existed.

Places like this are where I lived, and loved, and slept ignorant sleep without dreams for 18 years of my life.

It's all over, it's all over. It's all over


Ridiculousness looks different from 10,000 feet.

Which I always find interesting to listen or read people not in the background or profession to excoriate such places, but do so with a tinge of fondness while in full knowing of the reality.

And of course, there is this line which like the mark of any great writer, meaning is delivered one sentence at a time:
You have to accept that the only redemption for the large, cheap machinations of life is the redemption of experience, the only thing you can control.
Experience. Genuinely best enjoyed with others. And only you are in charge of that reality.

Come for the writing. Stay for the Cookie Monster singing Tom Waits.