Friday, February 17, 2006

My Backyard

That's the title of a '90s song by House of Freaks, a band that popped back into my head lately when their singer and his family were found, brutally slain in Richmond. The song was a winsome (and sarcastic) paean to the South -- and good enough, when I heard it on a mix tape, to make me buy the rest of the album under the assumption that it would have at least some of the greatness of that song. (it didn't.)

(an aside here -- that tape, made for me by noted Colorado journalist Jim Sheeler, remains one of the more formidable audio collections I've ever heard. It brought together all of the stuff I'd been missing while trapped in a straight-edge limbo, a mix of similar one-hit wonders (such as my now-fellow-Atlantans Magnapop) and more noted (but then unknown to me) bands like Wilco, and while the tape long ago gave up the ghost, I still keep the track listing. Good memories there, and I'm forever in Jim's debt, aside from the fact that it convinced me to buy the Chris Mars solo CD)

But where was I? Already straying far afield from my intended topic... that song's in my head due to recent contemplation of my place down here in the City Too Busy To Hate -- the prospect (however faint) of perhaps leaving has me wondering how I'll eventually look back on my time here. I've never fully settled in, more than six years on, and never really immersed myself in Atlanta/Georgia/Southern culture -- still haven't been to the World of Coke, still don't eat greens and okra, still don't give a shit about the Civil War. Where HOF seemed at least bemused and tender to the foibles of their neighbors, I'm much more likely to bitch about lousy drivers, crumbling infrastructure and (seven or eight months out of the year, at least) the soul-destroying humidity.

But on the other hand -- I have had a hell of a lot of fun here. Almost all of my friends are similarly transplanted, so maybe we're like... a little community of expatriates? Ok, that's a stretch. But a small group of like-minded restless people, a good living situation (right in the middle of the SoHo of the South), has made for a fun last few years. And as much as we complain about Georgia's cultural bankruptcy, it's not THAT bad, and there's always something to do.

(And the food is great: even the crappiest pub has something at least EDIBLE, something more cosmopolitan cities such as London or Boulder, Colorado, can't promise)

I loved Arizona when I lived there, but since leaving, I've felt greater desire to visit Bangladesh. So maybe the trend will reverse itself and I'll be forever nostalgic for the Perimeter, Buckhead, and the Majestic Grill. Or, third option, I'll be reading this ten years from now and weeping, because I'll still be stuck here.

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