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Places of Displacement

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Places of Displacement

Couple interesting bits I came across this morning before starting work.  I mean, actual "work," like the kind where I get paid, as opposed to writing, which is more of a hobby these days.

I don't actively seek out the news.  I used to care about what was going on in the world.  I wanted Mumia freed.  I thought starting wars was bad.  That kind of stuff. But now news only depresses me.  I can go long periods without reading a single bit of news.

I remember back in 2004, after the Yankees lost four straight to the Red Sox in October, shutting off all news, so much so that when in, like, March of 2005 a friend commented on the tsunami that had laid waste to Thailand, I was, like, "What tsunami?"  Though that may have had more to do with avoiding ESPN and CNN Sports than any need to hermit.

Still, I don't like the news.  Because it's sucks and is sad.  I'll read the sports sections if my team wins or I need to get fantasy football tips, and I still read the newspaper if I am on the exercise bike, but even then I only glom onto the oddball stories, with characters and plot lines I can later cull for my own work.  Air strikes and NATO and global warming?  Not so much.

But I like Yahoo News.  'Cause it's dumbed down, simple, not depressing, and if something "big" is happening, they'll have it, and I won't feel like a fucktard not knowing an asteroid is slated for impact in two days.

This morning, two things caught my eye.  One, Florida has the highest rate of vacancies.  And, two, the US has some castles for sale, all of which are in New England (or upstate NY) where I grew up.  Starting with this second one first, I don't know why I find it funny, except if you live(d) in New England, it makes perfect sense that this is where the castles would be.  I've been around a lot, and you don't see many castles these days.  Not too many in Texas or Minnesota, but, boy, New England sure has a bunch.  Fuck, we had one almost in our backyard, and there is even a little one on I-84 on the side of the road as you head south.  We had Castle Craig and Gillette Castle.  I mean, you grow up seeing castles everywhere, you sort of develop a skewed worldview.  What isn't a disappointment after that?  You pack your bags, set out for adventures across America, but there are no more castles.  I figured by this age, I'd have at least a decent moat and drawbridge.  But I can't complain.  I do have a high hill and Justine, who is sort of a princess.  I also have her mother, who is a dragon lady, so maybe it all breaks even.

The other bit, Florida.

I fucking hated my time in Florida.  It's a suckball state--hot, sweaty, filled with incompetence and stupid fucking poems about abuelas.  It's not just that I got divorced there and almost died.  It really is a shitty place to live.  It's not only the people and culture--and here I should clarify that I actually had a lot of friends and people I really liked in Florida, but even they didn't seem to "like" where they were living; it was more like they were stuck there, sucked down and trapped in the tight clamp of America's asshole.

So it's never a surprise when I read articles (on Yahoo) that feature the wretchedness of Florida, and in particular Miami.  The article this morning talked about all the cranes and unfinished buildings along Collins and A1A, and I could see the bums again sleeping besides the Lamborghinis, could feel the heat cooking my skin at 7am, could smell that awful food (seriously, a fucking ham sandwich with a goddamn pickle and mustard?  This--this--this is your signature food.  SF has the Mission burrito.  NY has pizza.  Miami has a fucking ham sandwich), but then...

I am on my bike again, heading to C-Love's, and I have so much possibility, and the sky is cloudless and blue, and I've got some big ideas for books that will change the world, and I can still smoke, and I am getting stronger...

Holden Caufield was right.  Don't ever start writing about the people and places you used to know.  If you do, you start missing goddamn everyone.


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