The right-side of the country

I’m traveling this week, so I’m going to inflict observations about where I am upon the unexpectant and imaginary readers of this site.

If Austin is a slightly-too-hairy, likable, well intentioned hippy with a cowboy hat, then Dallas is a corporate executive in boots, with a sushi menu under one arm, and dual republican party/NRA membership card in the back-pocket of his Armani pants. I hate this town. Even A brief visit to the airport in enough send me into fits. A Starbucks on every corner, even in the airport, that sheen of false glitz every where you look. Even in the older parts of the airport it’s like they took the brown-crappy-70’s style, rolled high-gloss-shellack over the whole thing, and then applied the same strategy to the city as a whole.

It trys to be cosmopolitan and succeeds only in disappointing us with the way it strains to be more than it is. A city without soul, lacking lay-line and epicenter. There’s no draw for us, no cultural, instinctual reason to be here and the faster we put the oh-so-forced skyline in the rearview mirror (both physically and metaphorically), the better off we’ll all be for it.
Ft. Worth’s a nice place though.

Williamsburg, VA

The trees here are tall. The rivers are wider and yet there’s less sky. It’s bigger and smaller. Give and take, I guess. At home you drive through the hill-country and at times you fell like you’re flying. Here you feel small, in your place. It’s interesting the first folks (the first white guys anyway) to come here made their way up these tidewater peninsulas. You can kind of see how intimidating it must have been, (and they didn’t know the damn forest went all the way from Maine to Florida. ) I wonder how or if that experience affected the end-product that ended up out country.

It is beautiful though. There’s dogwoods in bloom and ornamental plums and all sorts of other flowery bits i have no damn clue about. Here you drive through tunnels of trees past really cool costal marshes on one side and picturesque brick colonials on the other. I saw the Yorktown battlefield, where the British surrendered in 1781 and where my dad hung out while cutting class in 1968. I wonder which event had more relevance to me.

It feels older here and younger at the same time. I feel like I’ve come back to the ‘old country’ or the civilized capitol after a stint in the hinterlands. At the same time it’s forced: that rushed youth of our country trying to be just as much of a player as all the other kids in the playground, without really knowing how.

I would say this part of the country is trying harder to be american (maybe the proximity to D.C.) where as the west, it just is. We’re not there because its where the ships landed and we have to shout ‘we’re here and we’re just as good as you are.’ We’re there because the ships landed and we started walking. We needed some more sky, I think.

Yeah, this is a bit much, but I’ve been reading M. John Harrison lately and apparently it’s rubbing off.