Sunday, November 16, 2008

Reunited (and it feels so good)

I'll just quickly interject a personal post to report that the much-anticipated east coast OG reunion happened this week--albeit without wobs and lil' e., which was a shame but, apparently, wholly unavoidable--and it was lovely! I had the pleasure of socializing with Dave and his lovely wife in my very own home after being separated from his dave-y goodness for five long years. (Almost impossible to believe it's been that long since I left Eugene...) I finally got the chance to introduce my old friend to my, um, high-spirited two-year-old (who was extra-exuberant for the occasion) and Dave and the missus were kind enough to join us for a small birthday celebration on Friday night, where we shared gossip and bbq while toddlers and Duke mathematicians ran amok around us. As always, Dave took the chaos in stride and reminded me why I miss having him around so much. (And no, Dave, that's not sarcasm. We do truly miss you!)

Thanks, guys! It was the best birthday I have had in years. Thanks, too, for the "Baltar is my Homeboy" shirt, which so perfectly showcases my inner geek and which I will treasure, and for quite possibly the rockingest grad union t-shirt around, which arrived in the mail yesterday and which I am wearing as I type this from the Charlotte airport on my way to Minneapolis. Can't wait to see you again--maybe in Miami? maybe back in the 541 some time soon?

(By the way, while I am blogging from the airport and writing about travel, does anyone have any idea why rocking chairs are such a ubiquitous feature in Southern airports? I'm sitting here in Charlotte--on the floor by my gate, not in a rocker--and rocking chairs are everywhere. In fact, the information signs actually highlight this feature, putting it on par with other conveniences such as free wireless internets. I am from here and I still can see how this is a selling point, an amenity, or  a travel essential...)

Anyway, glad everyone made it back safely. I'm sure you'll be hearing more from me once I reach the Twin Cities.


wobblie said...

Color me sad. But I also intend to make a trip down to newly blue NC soon!

lex dexter said...

i, too, have wondered about the rocking chairs in the charlotte airport. it's like the airport version of a fucking cracker barrel over there by the cinnabon, piano bar et. al.

ash said...

i am southern and i am still baffled. does rocking chair = southern hospitality? i've seen them in wilmington (nc), knoxville, and savannah as well.

lex dexter said...

yes, i think the rocking chair is supposed to make up for the absence of more human(e) incarnations of hospitality, which we all know stopped being line items in airport budgets long ago.

wow, i forgot about the wilmington airport rockers. i even sat in one of those joints, too.

wobblie said...

Nashville's airport has comically oversized rocking chairs.

Personally, I'd prefer if southerness were conferred by complimentary sweet tea.

evil r + b guy said...

The miniature landscape at the core of one of the terminals in Denver is perhaps the weirdest airport decision I've encountered.

I've got to admit, guys, that I detect a bit of a strange regional discourse beneath the surface of some of the posts and comments on this blog regarding the south. Not necessarily in this post -- it is innocent enough -- but just in general over a number of past posts, etc. I'm all for discussing identity politics in the south as a real topic with very real and blunt analysis and careful examinations of its history and development, but sometimes I can't tell if some of the content on this blog is as uninformed about the south as it sounds or if it is parodying people who would say such things. If there is a joke there, I am missing it on some of the posts. I also know that sarcasm does not always translate well online. I apologize if I have taken this too seriously.

I'm certainly no apologist or defender of what happened in this region (I was born here, but my parents are from Pennsylvania and NYC) and continues to happen, but I'm not really game to perpetuate reductionist southern stereotypes either. I would hope that all regions and individuals would apply the same rigor to their own regional and personal moral histories.

You see, this topic has become an interest of mine after living for periods of years in Ireland, Belgium, Tennessee, Georgia, and Colorado. When meeting other Americans abroad, I was surprised at the number of times people from other regions than the south would a)quickly express sorrow about my experience of having had to grow up in the south (and this said within the first two or three sentences out of their mouths), or b)appear to be honestly afraid to venture into the south, as if there are dangerous bands of roving Republican KKK members wearing hunting boots and preaching about family values on every street corner. I feel some of these people harbor self-congratulatory impulses for having grown up some place to the left of the spectrum.

I'm not pointing any fingers -- just felt like I should bring this topic up.

wobblie said...

e r&b: Well, obviously you know that lips has spent some time in the south, and both ash and myself grew up in the south (I was raised in east Tennessee, with a brief interlude in middle Tennessee). I haven't lived down south since graduating from college (or high school, if you don't consider St. Pete, FL as truly part of the region), although technically I currently reside below the Mason-Dixon line and currently venture across the river to NoVA every now and again.

I'd describe my relationship with my home as "complicated," and every time I visit my folks it keeps getting more complicated. I have a tremendous affection for where I grew up, including the people and the culture, but every time I go back, it doesn't seem to be the same place that I grew up - the region has obviously changed, and I haven't been around to observe those changes.

Now that I've gone on all long-winded like, I'll say that yeah, most of us have some connection (dave and ez are the odd ducks out), even deep connections, with the south. Any mocking of the region on my part is partially tongue-in-cheek and partially my bitterness that it's not the place I remember from growing up.

evil r + b guy said...

One of the other strange things to experience about this topic for me is that I can enjoy criticism and mockery about the south much more if the person has (or can deliver) a realistic southern accent, not something falsely cartoonish.

ash said...

what's strange for me about this "topic" is that i don't believe anyone has really mocked or "criticized" the south or southerners. unless i missed something, dave pointed out that a bar in raleigh, nc was surprisingly smoky and i asked why various airport planners seem to believe that rocking chairs are some sort of southern icon.

no one is criticizing the south.