Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Made in China...
I was shopping in the local Wal-Mart a couple of days ago and I noticed something that I had never noticed before, probably because I was in a Urban Hell-induced trance. Almost every item I picked up in that store had a little white label on it, and that little white label invariably said "Made in China".

Which led me to start thinking: are they making EVERYTHING in China these days? I guess since the Chinese government introduced the "One Child" policy and they aren't making Chinese all that much anymore, so they have to direct their energy into something else.

Porcelain coffee cups: Made in China. Lord of the Rings, Part 3 Video tape: Made in China. CD-RW discs: Made in China. Flat screen TV: Made in China. Linen Towels: Made in China. Shopping cart: Made in China.

What was made in America? Doritos, for one thing. And cigarettes.

Which led me to think about something else: What the heck, if anything, DO we make here? I'm going to do some research on this because it's something that quite litterally never occured to me before and I need an edumakashun. If anyone has any actual data on this, I'd like ot hear about it. In the meantime, I'm going to hit the books and the 'net and see what I can find out because I find it not only odd, but ominous.

Initial Impressions...
Well, now that I have finally taken the plunge and moved south of the Mason-Dixon, let me tell you a little bit about the lay of the land.

I have found Southerners, so far, to be polite and courteous. Of course, I'm sure every one of them is thinking they'd like to ship my behind back north while they're being polite and courteous, but that's another story. Open hostility has not been displayed. Here's a major difference between the South and New York: a New Yorker is pretty much ALWAYS openly hostile, even if it's only a flash of the eyes. Nothing may be said, but rest assured, your average New Yorker would love to add an insult paranthetically to anyting they say to you. Some might even harbor visions of smashing your head in with a brick because you made the mistake, either by looking or speaking, of invading his/her personal space. I can already feel the invisible barrier that extends 3" from every New Yorker's nose falling away. I'm finding that a display of good manners and courtesy is infectious, and I think I've already lost some of my edge. That's a good thing.

There is room here. Lot's of it. Charlotte is a relatively small city (only about 600,000 people) but it's very spread out. Distances here to what a Northerner might consider "amenities" like shopping, church, school, etc. Are vaster than we're used to. This has it's down side (you MUST drive here), but on the whole, I believe it's a good thing because I've always harbored a theory on how space affects people. When people have elbow room, they tend to be more relaxed, less hostile and polite. I've seen this in the West and I'm seeing it here too. When you live in a crowded urban enviornment, certainly New York qualifies as a concrete jungle, you're always, even subconsciously, fighting for space.

This is what I have kinda-sorta figured out in my first two weeks. As soon as I can recognize any other major differences, I'll be sure to let you all (I mean, y'all) know.
Movin' On...
I have left the blighted landscape of the People's Republik of Bloombergia, also known as Sodom-on-the-Hudson, for the sunnier pastures of Charlotte, North Carolina. It took a couple of weeks for my stuff to catch up with me, hence the extended abscence and lack of updates.

Moving is almost never an easy experience, especially when one is leaving home, family and everything that is familiar. Not in this case, though. This was an easy choice to make. if I need to list the reasons, here they are:

1. I cut my rent from 1/3 of my monthly income to 1/7.
2. Cigarettes are $5 per pack cheaper here, and there is not a brigade of prissy, mostly-homosexual non-smokers looking to crucify me for lighting up.
3. People will actually say "Good Morning" to you, even if it isn't.
4. These accents are killer.
5. I've gotten more sun in two weeks than I have in 30 years.
6. Where else could you have a pond full of ducks outside your back window?
7. There are trees here.
8. BBQ is a staple food.
9. Wal-Mart.
10. Two swimming pools on the grounds.
11. 700 miles between my mother and myself.
12. It's actually quiet here at night.
13. "The Diversity" behaves itself.
14. Cable TV for less than what you would get for the average, ready-to-transplant kidney.
15. My blood pressure and cholesterol probably dropped significantly as soon as I got on the train.

All in all, while it was a difficult thing to do, in the end it all evens out. In fact, I think I'm going to make out on the deal. And perhaps be a bit happier.