Sunday, September 4, 2011

Fake Funk, Nasty Dunk

Beaufort, South Carolina

One of the neat things about riding fifty to seventy miles each day are the perceptable changes in environment between each leg of the trip.  It wouldn't be impossible to see the difference in a car, but it would be diminished.  On a bike you're in the shit and have to deal with the changing humidity and temperature from place to place.  In a car you're in a little hyperbollic chamber of comfort where you rarely have to experience Road Smells.  I think that's the easiest change to notice, the smell.  Hay fields in Georgia smell different from the pine forests and the bogs and beach.  I'm not especially fond of the smell of the bogs.  Methane from anaerobic bacteria breaking down rotting marsh grass, along with the weight of humidity, impresses on you an overwhelming sense of decay.  But, when mixed with the smell of the ocean it becomes less unbearable and more familiar.  Going up the coast I encounter this more and more, and while it's still comfortable, it doesn't hold the same relaxing effects the longer you stay in it.  I need variety to break up the similarity of the coast.  I need the sporadic, tight wooded areas to keep things fresh and from getting bored.


Go Gators!
Orlando's probably a good place to grow up.  It's not completely suburban - save Windermere - and it's not overwhelmingly urban.  It has a bunch of places to take a kid, but lacks culture.  It has a culuture, but no actual culture.  It's a series of tourists and visitors who happen to be staying for a long period, only for another tourist to fill their spot upon their inevitable move back to whatever "better" city they moved from.  No one grows connections to the city.  For Orlando residents, it's a temporary domicile where people get stuck, yet never lose the mentality of  "I wish I was in [previous city]."  When these people have kids it thrusts them into a city without any history or achievements beyond being a successful experiment in family friendly consumerism.  From this are born native Orlandians who develop their entertainment separate from the tourist economy.  They aren't loath to it, just ambivalent.  The majority of these kids become the same outward facing money-hounds as their parents.  They become the UF fans who think showing your devotion means being the loudest.  Maybe that's what this all is about, the noise.  The boisterous hoots and hollers of peers, the constant shuffling of tourists, the precisely timed fireworks.  It doesn't crush spirits, it gives headaches.

Amid evangelical churches and billboards for the newest million dollar attraction are generations of kids doing things identical to kids in every other city.  This shouldn't be seen as a banal acheivement toward some mutual mediocrity.  In spite of the restrictions of being in the cultural epicenter for projecting propaganda for the atomic family, there is a group of normal, nonterrible people who have established a place for themselves.  From this culture of corporatism and apathetic rebellion come some of my favorite people.  I'm probably not a good judge of this, though.  I'm just another person who left and and removed any connection to the city.

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