Yesterday the Eclipse crossed Middle Tennessee and here in Nashville it was as anticipated as the Baby Jesus only with more a monetary aspect.
I live a few blocks away from the Adventure Science Center and designated zone by NASA. Irony that it is adjacent to one of Nashville's most neglected park, Fort Negley. The debate about the ground is that it was a fort built by "free" blacks with Soldiers who were seemingly pro Union and fought off the Confederates during what was called, The Battle of Nashville.
The Fort Center has this to say about this park:
Visitors can read about the roles of the conscript laborers, the United States Colored Troops, and ordinary citizens. Learn about the design and construction of the fort through interactive exhibits. See the effects of a sudden occupation on Nashville’s citizens. Hear about the strength and bravery of the men who built the fort, hear stories and see photos of life in the occupied city, and experience the heartbreak of the Battle of Nashville.
The center is intended to serve as a hub for Civil War heritage tourism in Middle Tennessee. Rather than competing with other historic sites, the intent is to develop partnerships with other agencies to enhance and expand the educational and economic benefits of heritage tourism in the area. In addition, programs and events offered by a full time staff at the center will provide students and the public at large new opportunities to understand Nashville’s fascinating Civil War past.
As of now the site is also adjacent to a now abandoned Baseball Park, Greer Park, that has some of course historical markers (what doesn't here?) and is of course in the prime location of another upcoming and gentrifying area of Wedgewood Houston. The land is now being debated on how to appropriately use it and retain the significance of the Fort. Well here in the City of Now what matters is the money Developers have to rip anything and everything down to build more expensive units for rent or sale that are oddly in conflict with the actual neighborhood and in turn the economics that supports the community. Apparently in Nashville all of us are wealthy and have amazing jobs that can support this lifestyle. And for the economists that is 75K annually when in reality the average income is 45K but that 30K is a song for the dreamers in the Honky Tonks as you need a moonlight gig in order to pay the rent.
So the current flavor du jour group have hired/partnered with T. Boone Pickens as a front man, sort of like a band, to sing to the Council about their plans and ideas on making this an affordable artist haven. Funny the May Hosiery Company and Houston Station just south of the same site sits largely vacant after kicking out Artists from the affordable spaces they used to rent as the new owners too want to hit the big time as in big money. It has been proposed to be a New Orleans style market, a Tech center and then news hub. I walk by daily and see dust and cobwebs. Maybe that is an art form? Ah Nashville it is about who is currently on the Top 10 list of money makers and that has little to do with music.
What happens to the Stadium is yet unknown as again another adjacent site since purchased and abandoned warehouse and silo site also sits there with big plans and zero to show for it. And as we move along towards Nolensville Pike the aging Fairgrounds are being planned for a future Soccer stadium in lines with the Tennessee Park that houses the regional baseball team built all over budget and it too hosted the Eclipse viewing that as the Mayor noted, puts Nashville in the middle of it all.
The inflated self view of Nashville is charming and its not. It is as if I am listening to a constant fish tale. If one needs to try to understand the method of communication I suggest reading quotes by our Senator Bob Corker on Donald Trump or look to our other aging Senator Alexander who when he ran for President of the United States demanded the Department of Education be shuttered only to run it when he was appointed under the H.W. Bush. And he and Corker voted for the nut case DeVos and support the agenda of the Trump Administration while simultaneously criticizing it. Alexander and Corker are two hot messes when it comes to health care voting against it despite the fact that now Alexander wants to fix the ACA. And here in Nashville, capital of Medical and Insurance providers approximately 40% have no insurance and in turn we have a serious wellness issue with over 30% of the population seriously ill. Welcome to Tennessee where talking why lying is an art form.
So when the Eclipse happened yesterday and right at the moment of totality there was cloud cover and remained for the entire 1 minute 29 seconds but the city from the top of the hill in Ft. Negley looked amazing and so I instead focused on the lights and the sky as it was now twilight in the middle of the day. The temps dropped and it was silent for that as we all just were in awe and then it was over and the march down the hill. Of course the news failed to report it and people claimed they saw the total eclipse and I thought well maybe in their minds eye as in the South that is what matters most.
But rather than life changing I found it rather affirming as this is what Nashville has become to me, cloudy with some light somewhere behind it. I have to believe that something that will come good out of this as any journey worth having is one that has been a bit bumpy to get there as you appreciate arrival even more so. And this is what I hold onto as I have little else.
My efforts to integrate are stalling. But admittedly joining a writing class right during my surgical recovery was idiotic but I thought it would propel me out and about and into something positive that would have less to do with illness and more about wellness. But missing that first class I think led to me feeling more like the outsider I already do feel and the inability to speak and just feel good did not help. So with two classes in out of six I am bailing for the last as there is nothing I can offer nor get from this other than some insight and some feedback that was more akin to drop the mic than anything of relevance. Ah well best excuse oneself with dignity than try to pretend I give a shit and let them think whatever they wish than confirm their worst.
Again I do come to these with baggage and walls built and in every encounter I feel defensive and frustrated. Today in a school I came to a class where the Teacher was there, I met her, and she promptly informed me my job is to help the Volunteer who would do the work. Okay great and then I met the Volunteer. A former Teacher who managed to teach for one year in Tennessee then bagging it and becoming a Sub (which did not shock me but she failed to clarify why and I went well I am the same I just never got that far) then becoming Sub which then allowed her license to end but then also falling off the Sub roster as she did not meet the minimum of working the sole requirement of one day a month. Okay so instead of remaining as an unlicensed sub making $3/hr less (yes that is right unlicensed subs make about 15 bucks less a day than I make - WHOOA) she is volunteering for zero. Really?
It was after I informed her that yes I was a Sub and while I had a license and was still working as such I would never set foot in these schools for free and when my license does expire in a year or so I will think about other options or just being an aid as at least I get benefits. But that was the extent as the next question was the standard, "What brought you to Nashville?" Which I responded, "That is my business." And then she informed me that she would close out the classroom and I should report to the office to see where I am needed for the next and last hour of the school day. Right I said that I would and promptly walked out the door, down the stairs and out into the pouring rain. And that is what the people are like here - rude, arrogant and self involved. And yes stupid as I watched her teach a lesson and do so poorly and so over taught that I once again thought I see why she chucked it in after a year, she is shitty at it.
So when I came home and found some yard ornaments stolen, a plant taken and once again the reality is that we have a real problem in Nashville with crime as it is as petty as the people who live here. So another day and another coffee as that is my solace to not cry but laugh as what else can you do? Can I make another two years? I doubt it but I have to be patient and I will have much to write about and that cannot be a bad thing. Well living here is bad enough.