Saturday, August 2, 2008


So I worked on this and that last night until about 1:30 am, woke up at 6:30 am, got my stuff around and made the trip to Fremont, met a friend there and drank Pinot Grigio in the sun (probably won't do that again for a long time) and then came back home and slept for a couple of hours before getting up and reading this month's installment from "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle."

This post isn't really "green", so I had good reason to keep it out of Paved Paradise. The chapter that I read on August in the farming cycle was half crop statements and harvest story and the other half a note on blue and red states, urban and rural places. Like Kingsolver, I was raised in a community that distinguished between country and town folk, and, like Kingsolver, I was raised in a community where the "town" had a number of flashing red lights that you could count on one hand and still have fingers left over. There was a hierarchy to this distinction--town was supposed to be better. Kingsolver points out that philosophy carries over to the country as a whole, when it comes to blue states versus red:

"(T)hat color map comes to us with the suggestion that both coasts are populated by educated civil libertarians, while the vast middle and south are criss-crossed with the studded tracks of ATVs leaving a trail of flying beer cans and rebel yells....I...sense a bit of that when urban friends ask me how I can stand living here, 'so far from everything?'...When I hear this question...I'm usually looking a forest, a running creek, and a vegetable garden, thinking: Define everything."

She goes on to talk about how the coasts look at everything in the middle as the same--comparing cities like Minneapolis to be the same apple and not orange as Atlanta. I get that a lot after I tell people where I am from, this time, here in California. The follow-up relationship is the same confusion as Lt Dan portrayed in the movie "Forrest Gump"--"Minnesota, right?" "No, Missouri." "Ah, what's the difference?"

Other than geography, climate, cuisine, ancestorial background, terrain, and speech patterns, not much, apparently. Shockingly, the native Californian or New Yorker still looks good and superior after this exchange, because they were born and raised in California or New York. They weren't dumb enough to be born and/or raised in the Interior (as some of Kingsolver's friends refer to it) and then aspiring to be Californian or New Yorker. The "friends" that I made upon first arriving called me their "Amish" friend (a rather hilarious distinction since even in my limited technological state I knew more about computers than they did), and Gary always stated that I would never fit in in the City. This used to disappoint me, and now gives me hope. Kingsolver, too, felt this sense of superiority when she enjoyed homemade chutney from her garden or experienced true silence. This superiority, though, quickly floated back to center. Kingsolver, like me, embraces both halves: the exoticness of the coasts and the meditation of the land between.


Last week or the week before (please pardon me as I work so hard I don't know what day it is until someone taps me on the shoulder and tells me it's Friday) DK posted a Twitter entry to read like this, and I quote, if I may:

"between fellow Christians who seem to me they'd rather be Muslim with all their denunciations and seculars who denounce the other way:lonely"

Seems as though Kingsolver and I aren't the only ones awkward in the middle, regardless of topic.

Stay strong, be you, for, as always there are "clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right."

And here we are, stuck in the middle, and trying to stick fast.

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