miss the pace of it
the sheer multicultural
wonder of it all
We recently made a weekend trip to see the kids and grands.
For us, this means a return to the ATL.
While we were stopped in traffic on the connector in downtown, I turned to my wife and said, “You realize there are more people stuck around us then live where we live?”
My wife says she loves where we live but she misses the energy of Atlanta.
I understand what she is saying.
But for me, I don’t miss it one bit.
Recently in the Guardian, a Ms. Laura Barton wrote an article titled, “I moved to the coast for a better life – now I’m back in London where I belong.”
In this article, Ms. Barton recounts how she had left London in 2014, “ … looking for something that felt more like a community, close enough for creativity to mingle. Somewhere, perhaps, to finally feel settled.“
Ms. Barton says that while she found something close to this on the Kent Coast near Dover, she ” ... thought about the city and all the things I missed – galleries and gigs and theatres, city parks, city trees, architecture, friends, restaurants, 24-hour grocery shops stocked with everything from za’atar to rambutan, the pace of it, the constant evolution, the sheer multicultural wonder of it all. More than anything I missed people who talked about things other than themselves. The possibility it offered. The quiet, beautiful anonymity.”
Her article ends, “At last, I thought, I have escaped back to the city.“
First off, let me point out that Ms. Barton’s life out of London took seven years to reach the breaking point.
We have been here on the coast or the low country, country under 20 feet above sea level, for just over a year.
Maybe I will get there in a few more years but for now …
With that understood, let me take a look at what she says she missed and what we had in the ATL.
Galleries and gigs and theatres.
We were not much into the arts in ATL.
And the age of COVID didn’t help much with getting out and about to see shows.
We went to the Art Museum [sic] and we had tickets to the ATL symphony that got cancelled due to covid.
There were lots of community art fairs and shows and such that we liked but a good number of those take place here in the low country as well.
ATL wins this hands down.
When you live in a hurricane zone, not much thought is put into structures that might need to be rebuilt every couple of years.
This one is a toss up right now.
ATL was so big and changed so often, friends were not something we made a lot of.
We are working at that here but, well, anyone who has moved has lived this part of the story.
If this includes family and our kids and grand kids, ATL wins easily.
On the other hand, our family loves to come to the coast.
One grand daughter got out of the car, run for hugs and then said, “Can we go to the beach now?”
There are about 300 restaurants here in our immediate area but its pretty much seafood.
This might be a down side but I love how it worked out.
Still I wish there was a decent pho shop or Indian place.
When you come right down to it, Fat Matt’s may be what I miss the most about ATL.
24-hour grocery shops stocked with everything from za’atar to rambutan.
ATL wins this one.
There are NO 24 hour grocery shops in the Low Country and I am pretty sure you could decide to go shopping for almost anything, anytime in ATL.
Published or online listed hours for places of business here in the Low Country are like , you know, suggestions?
The pace of it, the constant evolution.
Again ATL wins this hands down.
There is a pulse to the air in ATL.
There is a smell in the air here in the Low Country.
(It’s the pluff mud.)
The sheer multicultural wonder of it all.
ATL in this respect, is almost beyond belief.
I would watch the news and see video of a crowd of people and I would say it was either a UN Refuge Camp or a Gwinnett County Park on Sunday Afternoon.
The low country, especially the resort area where we live, is a lot of things, but multicultural is not one of them.
Add on that most folks are vacationers here for a week and the faces constantly change but the people don’t.
(Or is the other way ’round?)
More than anything I missed people who talked about things other than themselves.
This line bothers me a bit.
Is Ms. Barton complaining that no one wanted to hear about her?
I read somewhere once that to be interesting, be interested.
For me, I feel I AM interesting because everyone is so interested in me.
I have to tell myself to listen at least once in a while.
The possibility it offered.
ATL is all about the possibilities it offers.
If you are young and live in America today and you do not live in ATL, I feel sorry for you.
I like to joke that suppose if for a social experiment, we identified everyone with ideas, get-up-and-go, gumption and the like and took them out of the mix.
What would be left?
After 20 years in the TV News Business, working with TV stations across the country, I feel I can say the same thing about the United States.
If its happening in America, it’s happening in ATL.
That leaves us with The quiet, beautiful anonymity.
Here is the head scratcher.
I know what Ms. Barton means but it seems to fly in the face of all else that she has written.
She wants the hustle and bustle … without the hustle and bustle?
In college I tried to describe days filled with an overwhelming desire to be alone coupled with the overwhelming sense of loneliness.
If there is anything I have found a lot of here in the Low Country along the Atlantic coast it is a quiet, beautiful anonymity.
In the essay, Cape Cod, Henry Thoreau writes about the coast that, “A man may stand there and put all America behind him.”
And that is the slam dunk for me.
As I said, I spent the last 20 years in online news.
The urgency of news and the immediacy of online meant that for me, when I started in the year 2000, I worked, I was on, I was wired in, 24×7 365 until I was told my services were no longer needed.
Maybe I got some form of PTSD.
Today I seek a quiet, beautiful anonymity.
I like to stand on the coast.
I like stand on the coast with my feet in the ocean.
I like to stand on the coast with my feet in the ocean with all America behind me.