"Our species needs, and deserves, a citizenry with minds wide awake and a basic understanding of how the world works."
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Following my Songline, a short weekend adventure
(Going over the new Charleston Bridge.)
Had to rush down to Georgetown Saturday morning, my Uncle Maxie was admitted to the hospital earlier in that week and I wanted to spend some time with him. It’s pretty bad but they do expect him to be out by Tuesday or Wednesday. After that, it’s a long recuperation, which will require some very basic changes in lifestyle and habits.
Wiggles didn’t go with me and I was frankly amazed at how fast I was able to travel. Almost too fast, somewhere between Columbia and Charleston a buck with at least a six point rack on its head jumped out on the interstate forcing me to slam on the brakes. I fishtailed coming to a stop leaving a lot of rubber from my tires on the road before the deer decided to leap out of the way. I figure Michelle with her recent and far worse encounter can easily relate. The interstate was empty that moment and if I had been carrying that deer would have had a major reason to really run into the deep dark woods with me scared and pissed to the point I almost stained my underwear. However, even with South Carolina’s disposition toward hunting having a dead buck strapped to the hood of my Corolla in the Georgetown Hospital parking lot would not have flown very well.
Spent the day with my uncle and really felt for him since he could not go ten minutes without someone prodding him taking blood pressure, temperature, checking the flow on his IV, or any number of odd tests. That particular hospital has a special “cat nap” time in the afternoon were they want the patients left alone as much as possible so my cousin Allen, who had joined me, and I left to go see his little girl Anna staying at his grandmother’s house.
(A small garden located on South Battery.)
I admit, I was sort of bummed out after leaving Georgetown a little later and couldn’t fight the urge to see where my songline, as Buffett calls it, wanted to take me. I hit Charleston and decided to ride down to the Battery and stroll a little bit before I drove the rest of the way home. Parked near the corner of East and South Battery and started walking. Went up East Battery past the point it turns into East Bay Street feeling like some ghost weaving through the tourists that were out in force. Seeing Tradd Street and having recently finished Pat Conroy’s “South of Broad” I walked down it to see where the fictional Leo King lives.
It was getting late and I cut my walk down Tradd short by turning south down Meeting Street to make it back to where my car was parked. Still couldn’t make myself leave with the nice breeze blowing off the harbor carrying both the salty smell of the ocean and earthy smell of nearby marshes.
While I was relaxing staring out at the various boats on the water rushing home a couple from New York asked me to take a picture them together. The lady flipped at hearing my Southern accent, something that I am uncomfortable with in the best of times and which gets worse if I am angry.
(Sailboats on Charleston Harbor going home.)
“I’m sure happy to finally meet someone from the South,” she said with her own New York accent, “seems like everyone we’ve meet is from somewhere else. I have always felt myself Southern and a Charlestonian at heart.”
It might seem petty but it felt like the nice lady from New York was taking a hacksaw down the middle of my head with the last part of her statement. I’m proud of many aspects of my Southern Heritage, the food, many parts of the easy-going culture, and the area of South Carolina called the Low Country but the darker side of things is never far away.
(Looking up East Battery Saturday evening right before I meet the couple from New York.)
Even funnier was her including the term “Charlestonian." As much as I love the Holy City I am at best a temporary and envious intruder to its streets being forced to return to the glorified train stop in the Midlands that I feel Sherman should have burned twice. I guess one of the things that bugged me about what the lady said was that I have said the same thing down in Florida many times and it was only then hearing her that I realized how asinine it sounds.
However, I joined them for a couple of drinks after they asked and we spent a couple of hours talking about Charleston. It was a small adventure but if I have learned one thing from Jimmy is that you have to go where the songline takes you. And yes, while I never got drunk my wife was mad when I finally got home. I did have the foresight to buy twenty pecan pralines as a sort of peace offering for both her and my daughter but somehow only five survived the trip back home.
You are a Working Class Warrior, also known as a blue-collar Democrat. You believe that the little guy is getting screwed by conservative greed-mongers and corporate criminals, and you’re not going to take it anymore.