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Saturday, March 29, 2014

North Carolina is looking better by the day
Posted by Jill | 3:48 PM
So yesterday we heard that our esteemed governor, Chris Christie, had been completely exonerated of any wrongdoing by lawyers who are his political allies, that he paid for with a million dollars of New Jersey taxpayer money. What a surprise. What was at least a little surprising, was the misogynistic viciousness of the report, which blamed the closing of local lanes to the George Washington Bridge last September on Alex Forrest Bridget Kelly, as some sort of irrational, psychotic payback to her alleged former lover, Christie ally Bill Stepien. Or something. And then there's Hoboken mayor Dawn Zimmer, painted by the report as a delusional liar.

Hey 57% of women who voted for this thug last November -- how do you feel about him now?

I've been wanting to move to North Carolina for years. It's not that I love the climate, Goddess knows I don't. But I've been tired of New Jersey for a long time. The road rage. The traffic. The potholes. The big hair and chewing gum and the lack of realization that the characters on "The Sopranos" were NOT people you were supposed to want to emulate. People who say "Down the shore." Springsteen and his ersatz Woody Guthrie schtick composed in his bigass house in Rumson. I've lived here since 1958, and I've had enough.

Back in 2005, I survived a layoff where I was working. In a way, it was the worst thing that could have happened to me. Mr. B. was unemployed at the time, it was the top of the housing market, and we could have sold the house and headed south without looking back. But I did survive, and then he got a job, and so we stayed. He never really wanted to go anyway. He always refused to believe me when I came home from my sister's and talked about all the geeky aging hippies down there who thought the way we did, and about the venues that had more of the music we like than New York City had, and how yes, you could get good Indian food in Durham. He just could never get past Jesse Helms. Now granted, we'd be moving to the Triangle, not to the areas where they still marry their sisters, but even that area was still represented by Jesse Helms.

It's not that it's so much better now, especially since 2010, when disappointed Obama voters stayed home in droves, allowing a wingnut contingent that makes the teabaggers look sane to take over the statehouse in Raleigh and the governorship. They've enacted one of the most restrictive voter registration laws in the country, tried to enact a law that would allow the state to establish a state religion, and introduced legislation to ban making scientific predictions of sea level rise. Governor Pat McCrory is a puppet of Duke Energy. The state is a workshop for the worst kind of retrograde legislation, to the point that a once-hot destination for high-tech companies is in danger of becoming another Alabama.

But not if Moral Mondays has anything to say about it.

Whether the Moral Monday movement, which started in North Carolina but has spread to Atlanta, can be effective or if it is just another bunch of white progressives marching with signs, remains to be seen. If there's a place where even bad Democrats are better than any Republican, it's in North Carolina, where another four years of wingnut rule could very well turn North Carolina into another polluted, ignorant southern cesspool. Maybe the state needs me.

Or maybe I'm just looking for an excuse.

Because right now I feel like an alien in my own life and in my own house. When Mr. B. was here I used to say that the time before I met him felt like someone else's life. Now the thirty years I spent with him feel like someone else's life, and I am trespassing on it. The Job That Ate My Life, the house that's now eighteen years into the five-year remodeling plan and still needs another $40,000 worth of work just to get it ready to sell -- none of it feel like mine anymore. The man-cave still has a fair amount of Mr. B's effluvia in it -- the stuff I didn't donate or toss when I was still numb enough to do it. Nine suits in 42L and 44L waiting to be donated. Dressers that are falling apart and need to be dragged downstairs and put out for pickup day. Three boxes of comic books that need to be triaged to see what's worth selling and what is just junk. Records. CDs. Bits of a life now gone for good. The upstairs bedroom has a bed frame but no bed, the bed having been carted away by ServPro as hazmat nearly five months ago. His size 13 sneakers are still in the hall. In the linen closet are a dozen sand-color towels to be donated because when I have the upstairs bathroom done, it won't go with sand-color towels. So much stuff from a life that is now compleely alien to me. And that's why I feel the pull -- to get off this insane merry-go-round of impossible deadlines and office politics and 7-day work weeks, to head south and find a place that doesn't have three unused rooms -- maybe a house with a front porch and a screened porch in back and a deck and pine trees and a shed where I can set up a commercial kitchen and make 20 flavors of granola to sell. To set up a widows/widowers meetup group for old hippies. To sleep more than five hours a night. To stop and smell the flowers. To breathe. To live.

Because one thing I've learned is that none of us knows what tomorrow will bring. When I stood at my mother's graveside in December of 2012 with Mr. B. at my side, I could not have fathomed that less than a year later he would be gone too. I look through the boxes of photos that I still haven't organized from my mother's house and get smacked in the face at how many of the people in them are gone. Mom. Lionel. Generations of pets. Mr. B. And those of us still left aren't getting any younger. In a way it's a relief that when I'm gone, they can just light a bonfire and burn the whole mess if they want to. Because after a generation or two, who remembers who is whom in family photos? And after that, who even cares? All we have is now. I want to have some contentment in my now. Because EVERYTHING in life is only for now.

Power-mad thugs like Chris Christie should think about this.

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Blogger Patricia said...
I completely understand, you may want to check this out

Blogger Teri said...
If you fill up to it, donate your family photos to the Library of Congress. Some years down the road it will history and having them can help make sense of the "hippie" culture.

Anonymous The WP said...
Mrs. B,

I know _exactly_ how you feel.


Blogger fred of Allen said...
You'd be amazed at what a determined genealogist or historian can figure out, with a few clues, in old photos. And programs will only get better at identifying people in the future. If you want to see what amateurs can do with historical pictures sometime, look at shorpy.com.

Blogger The New York Crank said...
I only hung on to a few tangible souvenirs of the relationship, but even now, three years later, them bring back waves of sadness. We're all different, but my own recommendation is, get rid of as many of the artifacts as you can. The memories are hard enough.

As for moving to North Carolina, you pointed out, "They've enacted one of the most restrictive voter registration laws in the country, tried to enact a law that would allow the state to establish a state religion, and introduced legislation to ban making scientific predictions of sea level rise."

Well heck, who wouldn't want to live there?

Yours very crankily,
The New York Crank

Blogger Mauigirl said...
I can totally relate, as a fellow New Jerseyan (Jerseyite?). I also relate to your feelings of all we have is now... I am lucky enough to still have my husband and his parents (for now) but lost my mom and aunt in the last few years and things are just not the same. I am very ready to leave New Jersey. Let me know where that enclave in North Carolina with the old hippies is...

Blogger Jill said...
Chapel Hill/Carrboro/Pittsboro/Durham area. Check out the Independent newsweekly: http://www.indyweek.com.

Anonymous tata said...
I would be happy to help you organize donation materials and get them out of your house, if that would be good for you.

Anonymous Steve Boone said...
I was forced to move from Monmouth County to Maryland several years ago. It sucks here in the land of neck tattoos. Now my wife and I are contemplating a move to Asheville, NC, not my choice but hers.

I'm sorry, but the NY metropolitan area is civilization. Anywhere south of the Mason-Dixon line is not civilization. In fact, Pennsylvania outside of Philadelphia and *maybe* Pittsburgh is not civilization.

Sure, they tell me that Asheville is cosmopolitan and a swell place to live, but come on, it's in a state governed by assholes. OK, NJ voters have twice elected the world's biggest asshole as governor, the first time when I was there to vote against him. I prefer to think it's an aberration. Soon he will be sent away in ignominy because he is such a transparent liar. Still, even with Governor Cocksucker, NJ isn't a state full of pickup trucks with gun racks.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Do what you have to do, and don't wait too long to do it. Time passes, and it becomes too late far too soon. Good luck to you.

Blogger Mauigirl said...
Thanks Jill, will check it out.