I’ve been doing at least two things with my spare time. Firstly, I’ve been listening to Brian Reed’s “Shit Town.” I’m about half way through (I actually stopped and re-listened with my husband, so we could finish the series together.) I know I’m late to the party, but I refuse to listen to or read anything about it until I finish and let my own thoughts settle. For now, I’m caught in it’s trap of eloquence, kindness, shock and humor. As soon as I met John B in the podcast, I wanted to meet him in real life. I thought, a man with a rose garden and hedge maze is worth a drive to Shit Town, Alabama. What’s swapping one Shit Town for another for a few days during a Pandemic?

This train of thought led me to reflect on my own views of where I’m from. I’m guilty of being one of it’s worst critics. It’s normal ’round here, to put down our home towns. We complain about what’s missing, who’s corrupt, who’s ignorant, what’s stupid. We talk about how “if they would just…”

But we don’t let outsiders talk like that. It’s like, I can talk about my family, but you can’t.

I’m curious what kind of psychological explanations have been developed to dissect that mentality? Why is it, we all hate our hometown, for reasons only we could understand? I’d wager the majority of residents of Eastern Kentucky would travel and speak highly of it to outsiders, but when we are on our own porches, we put it down like a Yankee politician.

And yet, we don’t leave. We burrow ourselves in the warmth of it’s woods and hills, and find reasons to attach ourselves – making it harder and harder to leave. We tease ourselves with vacations to other worlds with flat beaches or bigger mountains, or foreign languages, but we always come back.

Back to Shit Town.

I guess I’m just wondering to myself, why aren’t we all building hedge mazes, growing rose gardens and rebuilding clocks?

The second thing, I’ve been doing this week (mostly this weekend) has been diving into the world of Public Domain. I won’t go into the lack of Public Domain since the 1920s, but I will say this: think of the lost century of culture since then? What will the next century have to do, to look at art from this era? Will 2120 have access to our thoughts? aspirations? regrets?

From the safety of my home, I can explore the minds of 19th century french thinkers, and what they thought the 20th century would look like. (see image above.) Like, slow down and think about that. They believed we would be playing croquet, underwater with little submarine masks and pantaloons. Maybe they thought we would like the challenge of underwater sports, but part of me wonders if they thought the surface of the earth would be come so unbearable, we would just take residence in the sea.

Brief aside: I’m thinking of Finding Nemo “Fish are friends, not food.”

Let me add some more images.

A WHALE-BUS

Tell me, where the fuck did we go wrong? Why doesn’t the 21st century have whale-buses???

(Sea)horse back!

***Sigh***

Okay, so I assume there are lots of humane reasons we don’t ride sea horses and attach buses to whales, but I hope you’re getting my point. Outside of some handheld pieces of smart-glass and pictures boxes, are we really living our best life? Okay, existential question: If you could pick, would you choose the phone in your hand or a single ride in a bus attached to a whale?

And that makes me wonder, would seahorses and whales be in any better shape if we integrated them into our lives? What about their habitat? I know if we were playing croquet underwater, we’d put ocean clean-ups a little higher on our priority list. (Last I checked we might loose the Great Barrier Reef? And are there islands floating around the ocean made of trash?)

I guess, it’s no underwater croquet for us.

Just Shit Town.

And on that note, I hope you’re registered to vote.


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