Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Hooters Not Allowed

Last night I was troubled with stress dreams about the political structure of the south. I'm not bragging, that's just a fact. There was a new sheriff in town, and because some city official was "with the sheriff", we all knew it meant we weren't going to be able to do some fun thing we really wanted to do. The memory of what we wanted escapes me, but that wasn't the point of the dream. The point was that my fears about having my personal freedoms restricted were surfacing. A fear of misuse of government power I have experienced only upon moving here, to the Republican south, to a state that went blue in 2012 but was red this election cycle, that has more laws and restrictions than lately-blue Colorado, for sure. On Sunday Noah and I stood in a brewery discussing the fact that, for all their talk about small government and personal freedoms, I have never felt less free than I do here in the land where Republicans rule. Their laws restrict the simpler things in life, like happy hour and vibrators. Also nipples.

(Never mind that it will probably soon be legal to bring your concealed carry into a bar.)

That was last night, and all this morning, in the dream hour between four and five am, I was harassed with one call after another from the school system letting me know that, because there was some snow and slushy roads, school was cancelled. There is set to be a make up day on Saturday. School on Saturday--if that is not abuse of government  power, I don't know what is. As I said in a rant on facebook, I was born and raised in a state that just legalized recreational use of marijuana, and where, as I told my mom on the phone this Sunday, it feels like you are innocent until proven guilty. Here in the south I feel guilty until proven innocent. Part of me is afraid to even type these coming words, I'll just say I won't go into detail about the constant badgering ALE (Alcohol Law Enforcement) have given Noah and the others at the brewery--a business the community is happy to have, but that the city and county people clearly hate, based on their endless restrictions, taxes, and tyrannical control of things like when and where and in what clothing it is legal for one to drink a beer. I won't tell you about the ALE official who bragged to my husband about their laws being the most restrictive, about their power being the most complete, before going on to make racist remarks that I don't want to recount here on my space. I won't tell you that because my sense of personal freedom here is limited, it sets my pulse raising, it troubles me in my sleep. Is freedom of speech a thing, in Carolina? I roll over in clean sheets and tell myself that the "snow day" is all a ruse, that surely school was cancelled because a gypsy woman gave the school superintendent the evil eye, or because a pregnant woman walked a field west to east at dawn, and that to drink a beer freely all you must do is slay one goat and bury its right eye in a patch of yarrow under a winter moon. In the pale light of dawn, I find myself hilarious.

I'm hoping these are only growing pains. The honeymoon period has worn off. The bonfires have ceased for winter. It is February, after all, and February is difficult anywhere. I won't tell you that Noah says, at work, there is an unspoken rule that no one will talk about their regrets over moving here, because talking won't help. I won't tell you that I told Noah it was time to institute the two-year plan, that in two years all the new hires must be able to run the brewery so we Coloradans can exit en masse. I will just say we are in a rough spot. I want to make it clear that the people and community here are lovely, wonderful, liberally minded people who grow gardens and raise chickens and who have to be really, really careful about getting high, even in the privacy of their own homes, but that sadly the good old boys network has all the power and is running (ruining) everything. I will say that I know these things often look different from a distance, but I wrote this blog because I needed to express what they look like today. Today looks like this: I had plans to work, but the girls are home, the sun is shining, and I need to go look up what mountain loreal rite is required to accomplish anything, because from my point of view it seems like superstition and ritual is just the way things get done around here.


  1. Well, I sure am sorry that the south has hit you like this. You're right. We've got some real assholes making the laws and enforcing them too and of course, we-the-people (not me, not you but still) support them in doing so. I do not know why.
    But I have to tell you that in the years that I lived in Colorado (a long time back) I felt penned in by the rockies and bereft for the lack of trees and green and water and I had no idea that people could be and were prejudiced against Mexicans and Native Americans.
    I was comfortable with what I knew and the new made me distinctly uncomfortable.
    I think you nailed how it is we live here- we form our own communities.
    And spring is coming and you will be amazed at how beautiful it is. I am, here in North Florida, every year despite the fact that I've lived here for almost forty years. Take what you can get and take comfort in that, I guess. And I think that maybe you weren't meant to live in the south. That's okay. Some of us are blessed or cursed with a strong sense of place and we do not thrive when we are removed from where we belong. I do not defend this part of the country. There is much which cannot be defended. And I completely understand why you feel the way you do.

  2. You are right, of course. In Colorado I did hear occasional racism toward Mexicans. Of course these ugly things are everywhere, not just here. And I understand your environment shock, because that is how I've felt here--so penned in by the hills, so desperate for a sprawling view. Isn't that funny. Carolinians tell me the Rockies feel intimidating compared to the gentle Blue Ridge, and meanwhile I'm made claustrophobic by all the trees. But you are right--perhaps I am edging toward ethnocentrism. And the people I've met here are truly wonderful.

  3. Sigh. I wanted to love the south as it's part of my heritage, but the only four years that I actually loved living there was when I lived in Chapel Hill -- and that was, as Jesse Helms once put it, "the zoo" in North Carolina. I adore cities, and I adore liberal communities and I adore sunshine. So I love living here in Los Angeles, truly the only state I've lived in (Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, New York, New Jersey) where February didn't make me want to kill myself. So, there's that. I'm glad you wrote today as I miss your posts. They fortify me -- your writing is sublime.

  4. I am glad you share how it feels to stand in your shoes and look out from your eyes. your writing is just exquisite, such a treat to be able to flow through your stream of consciousness this morning. You're right about February, too. i will try to remember that over here, where february is kicking my a--.

  5. I told Noah he should move here to Portland, we'll grow the pig and hops, he'll run the brewery, you'll be our local community writer. We love boobs here. We have a naked bike ride with 10,000+ boobs (and other parts) that include not just youngin's but Grandpa, Grandma and pregnant families. We have mountains and hills.


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