Monday, December 15, 2008

How The Hell Did I Get Here?

I'll never forget Reggie.

Reggie was the first black man I ever saw in Jackson Hole. Ironic, because Reggie was from Jacksonville, not Jackson Hole.

I did not see a black person during my first six days in Jackson Hole. Not bad considering Jackson Hole's population is 0.21-percent black. That's less than a quarter of one-percent black. The 90210 kids at West Beverly High likely experienced more diversity than this.

Anyway, Reggie from Jacksonville made me smile. He stepped out of an Atlas Van Lines rig on a chilly September morning in Jackson Hole, rubbed his hands up and down his arms and said something I'll never forget:

"Damn. It's colda than a mutha fucka out here."

I laughed. After a week in Jackson Hole, I was a little homesick. And Reggie provided a quick remedy. Not only did he bring me all of my furniture, he also brought some diversity. A little Southern flavor.

I will never forget Reggie.

So, what the fuck am I doing here? What idiot, at age 32, leaves behind dozens of friends he loves and moves to Jackson Hole, Wyoming by himself without knowing anybody here?

The change in lifestyle was beyond my comprehension. It was like going from dating a 20-year-old stripper to a 40-year-old nun.

I think I completely underestimated the complexity of this move. For two days along this journey out West, I did not actually have a home or own a car. I was like a vagabond, but with good credit and married friends who own homes with guest rooms.

See, I came here after a lifetime in the south. I grew up in Atlanta and spent the last 14 years living in Southern college towns: Five years in Athens, Ga., nine years in Gainesville, Fla.

My entire life was soaked in Southern culture. College football. Chick-fil-A. Hootie and the Blowfish. Jean shorts. Trucks. The state of Tennessee. Overalls. Fat people. Sweet tea. The Waffle House. Ignorance. Confederate flags. Dollywood. Bama bangs.

I fucking loved it all. Mostly, I just enjoyed standing in the shadows and observing the circus unfolding around me. I mean, when you live in the south your whole life (but are not a Southerner at heart), you find complete humor in shit like knowing they sell giant beers at the Alligator Farm in St. Augustine, or being told the Troy University football team's media luncheon is at the Barnhill's Country Buffet.

However, what would happen if I left the South? What if I lived somewhere where people were interesting, women relied on their personality rather than their looks, and there was no crime, anger, hostility, ignorance, fake tits, make-up or short guys with huge muscles? What then? Would it be uninteresting?

I could spend a lifetime being entertained by all the ironic humor of the south. But what I was curious to discover whether or not a place with dignity would be interesting.


At 11:52 PM, Blogger Pops said...

Glad to see the blog is back! Hope all is well and sorry I haven't been in touch. My world is super hectic right now.


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