Friday, February 21, 2020

Sense and Sensibility

The definition of provincial is something related to a specific country or geographic area or someone or something that is small-minded and unsophisticated. An example of provincial is a specific style of French furniture; An example of provincial is a person who has never left his small town.  With that I think it describes two cities in which I lived and while one appears deep blue in color, the other red, they share the idea that they are like rivers that run deep and shallow dependent upon the weather.

Ah the weather in Seattle is always made to be one of endless rain.  I don't recall that in my life as an issue as I remember weather that was full cycle and we had snow, rain, wind, and yes sun but it was just a little off like the people and it may be why the Seattle Freeze became such a popular name that not only described the weather but the residents.

The Seattle Freeze I get, I really do.  I am not sure when that label began but it is an accurate assessment of the nature of the Swedish descendants that found the area.  I found this on Wikipedia and yep it is right on the money:  The term Seattle Freeze refers to a widely held belief that it is especially difficult to make new friends in the city of Seattle, Washington, particularly for transplants from other cities. A 2005 Seattle Times article appears to be the first known use of the term, though a 1946 Seattle Daily Times excerpt also describes the phenomenon.

The Urban Dictionary defines it as such: A social phenomenon commonly found in the Seattle area. It concludes the majority of Seattle residents as snobby, cold, unfriendly people with a fake-polite exterior. Many people move here with the impression that Seattleites are friendly and laid-back but upon moving quickly realizing how superficial and forced that "friendly" exterior really is. There is alot of debate as to where this social dysfunction comes from. Some say it's the nerdy tech population, some say it's the scandinavian culture, some say it's the weather, and some even say it's the transplants fault.

 But is that much different than the concept of
Southern Hospitality?   The difference is in the actual concept of how it is exhibited and I can assure you if you review the six traits from Southern Living that defines this you will note that it is more an ideal than a reality.  Out of the six I experienced only the polite bullshit to an extent that many encounters in the service field were concluded with the "Yes Ma'am" retort.  In the North that is a passive aggressive slur and guess what,  it is in the South as well, along with Bless You're Heart and That is So Precious!   I hear any version of those and I know immediately that I am in conversation with an asshole and somewhere along that dialog will end with me wanting to stab them in the eye as there will be the statement,  "I've never heard of that before" or some other bizarre mindfuck that will make you question your own ability to communicate as well as  sanity before parting ways. I can say with certainty and conviction Seattleites have nowhere near that ability to do as such.  If anything they are sheep and if you fail to agree with the consensus the next step is of course some veiled ad hominem  attack that you are stupid and/or conservative.  Other than that plans made will be canceled if said plans happen at all as like the South, Seattle is very very tribal. 

One distinction is that Southerners like to lie.  I know few Northerners who do so with such rigor,  of course they advocate the Oprah concept of "My Truth" which is probably a version of truth but they are pretty honest when asked.  But no one asks as that is the next concept of truth and again much like the South it is rude to ask.  I often thought Seattle invented Don't ask, don't tell but it had a different context.    They don't lie, they again avoid it by not having any chance to exchange views with others who don't share the same so if you are stupid or unaware of that you walk into that insult factory quickly and they will at least do it with a multisyllabic vocabulary as most are well educated and informed.  That will not happen in Nashville as few to none have any education over 12th grade and even that is at best the worst.  And yet that is the same place that gave us metric measures for testing and evaluating Teachers and in turn is ground zero for Charter education and now Vouchers.  And yet that number that make it onto college (and most of those are non-secular so its not a big step up) don't rock the boat with that schooling thing.  And yet Seattle had two non-secular Colleges in its backyard and another just 45 minutes South but they were surrounded by well funded public institutions and one very experimental one (Evergreen) that have always been well attended and I knew more with degrees than not.  And today a drive to push more into community colleges and other technical schools is a public and political must much like the rest of America.  Tennessee supposedly has that with its Promise but again who counts and actually knows the truth as numbers those lie like the people and remember its only a promise and those can be broken.  Its the South and that is a given.

And here is another number that I had to hear repeatedly when in Nashville - the growth of the city and its 100 people a day moving there.  Right okay that again was the biggest bullshit I ever heard and well today they finally corrected that number.  

The population in Nashville grew faster than any other region of the state during the boom that has made it one of America's fastest-growing cities since 2012. But the pace of expansion has abruptly slowed, the most recent Census data reveals.
Newcomers, drawn by a fast-growing job market, are increasingly settling just outside Davidson County.

The number of new Davidson County residents grew by an average of 15.6 people a day from 2017 to 2018, the most recent year data is available.

That's down from an increase of at least 25 people a day, on average, in the four preceding years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.
Ken Blake, professor at Middle Tennessee State University's School of Journalism and Strategic Media, analyzed the population data by census tract.

"Most of Davidson County, in terms of census tracts, really isn't growing," Blake said. "The growth is mostly in the downtown area and on the eastern border."

The commonly quoted statistic that Nashville is growing by 100 people a day referred to the greater 14-county greater metropolitan area, and that figure dropped to 83 people a day between July 2017 and July 2018. 
The population grew more quickly in Williamson and Rutherford counties, which added an average of 17.7 and 23.8 people a day, respectively, in 2018.

Blake found that the growth was spread more even across the two neighboring counties.
"The growth in Rutherford County is mostly in the half closest to Davidson County," Blake said. "Williamson County has the highest number of growing census tracts of all three." 
Newcomers, drawn by a fast-growing job market, are increasingly settling just outside Davidson County. Large new apartment complexes in downtown Nashville helped the population there jump 40% from 2013 to 2018.

Davidson County areas with the largest increases align with clusters of new apartments and homes in Bellevue, Antioch, Hermitage and much of the area east of the airport, according to Blake.

"If you look at where Rutherford County is building schools, it lines up with where Rutherford is growing," Blake said. "Affordability is probably a factor here as well. People do go where the housing is available and affordable."
Rapid population growth has delivered rapid increases in housing prices.
In 2018, an hourly wage of at least $32.55 was needed to buy a home in Nashville – up from $28.31 in 2017, according to the Tennessee Housing Development Agency's 2019 Housing Market Report. 
Still, Davidson County recorded the largest number of home sales in the state in 2018, selling 14,653 houses. 
But the number of new building permits in the county dropped 7%, in the first decline since the housing market crash.

So now its closer to reality and truth like the budget of the city which is in the toilet and the reality is that the State is a burning red river of hate and bullshit does little to change the truth, mine or anyone else's.  Meanwhile Washington State has a state of divide between East and West; However, the reality is that it largely progressive with a Governor who is focused on Climate Change, Gun Control, Health Care and Transparency. None of that in Tennessee. But hating Gays, Voting, and Women hell yes!   But again I cannot stress the parallels of the two when it comes to Police accountability and of course one of the early cities on watch was Seattle for its Police shooting of a Native American carver in Downtown Seattle. And now with the Macy's closed the Pine/Pike corridor is not much different than half the streets in Nashville as an open shooting gallery and crime central with a recent shooting there causing great distress among the city but again that may be because two Amazon employees were also victims of said shooting.  Seattle has always veered right and left as any city in flux does.  And in turn an attempt to solve their own Police problems with an accountability board at least Nashville did so by having an oversight board that was elected by the people as opposed to it being forced upon them but if it has any purpose or effect that will be something proven over time. But like all things in Nashville it will die on the vine.  But as for Seattle which was the topic of a CNN story, the issues on the streets there had been that way long before I left with an ever increasing homeless population and all that it brings. Boom times brings problems and Seattle has always been a boom and bust town my entire life there.  But the liberal and elite don shirts, bracelets and pins and do what it takes to at least try, they are like herding cats but they do care.  Despite Nashville's supposed Christian leanings and surrogacy through Churches to pick up the social safety net,  they have no solutions for their growing issues in this area; HOWEVER, and there is always this,  much of the displacement comes from the attempt  to relocate the large Black population that live in the Housing projects that encircle the actual city and are in very desirable locations for prospective development.  Seattle had public housing but dead Paul Allen bought much of it and tried before his death to work on that issue.  And since that time Microsoft and even Jeff Bezos are working to find some solutions with their financial largess.  You will not see the rich in Nashville doing any of that as they focus on what is important - sports and building monuments to house them.

Nashville is obsessed with money and while Seattle has tons of it thanks to it being a wealthy city for decades thanks to Bill Gates and now Bezos they forget that there are many many executives of said companies that benefitted from the largess of being involved early on and still reside in the region just less famous names.   The two cities share one common factor that cannot be ignored and that is the lack of a State income tax that enables these wealthy fucks to avoid paying taxes on earnings but if you were to choose where to live in America with said option I would always choose Seattle.  To live in Nashville would be the most idiotic thing you could do, with hot muggy summers, half assed winters, horrific infrastructure and zero to no culture and activities to do that do not include country music.  I have lived in both and they both have much to loathe but Seattle is by far superior and that Nashville wishes to be Seattle falls into the warning: Careful what you wish for.

Both cities grew because of outsiders and that contributes to the tribal mentality and distrust of outsiders but the South specializes in this concept.  In Seattle is mostly a de rigueur mentality that accompanies the Freeze bullshit.  I think there are dozens of articles, blogs, essays,  videos as well as a podcast  on how to adjust, identify and integrate into Seattle.  Basically it is all silly absurd and what? PROVINCIAL.

And both Nashville and Seattle have spent the better part of the last few years humble bragging about growth, the influx of outsiders, the amount of buildings being built via skyscraper watch all while complaining about the traffic, housing costs and other burdens of being an "it" city but Seattle still has an active City Council and Mayor's office that try to consistently put forth concepts and measures that will better the community. The salary tax was a failed attempt to do so but I do give them credit for many others that have bettered the community including sick days, minimum wage laws and being a sanctuary city.   It was that area that hit the airports day one of the first travel ban if there is one part of the country that puts active in activist it is the Northwest.

Cannot say the same in Nashville. Nashville has no interest other than cashing checks and they are even working on allowing those who own property via an LLC or other corporate entity to have voting rights in the state. Well that will get the voting numbers up as they are the bottom of the barrel when it comes to that and I am certain that the individuals have the best interest in the community to engage and participate right?  Election fraud much?  Where have I heard that before? Oh yeah red states.

I actually met people in the South who informed me I was the first Northerner they ever met. Their tribal ties are something they wear proudly.  Everyone is very quick to inform you where they are from and are quite specific in the exact location statewide and specifically county in which they were born.  Even those whose families migrated there when they were children are quick to say they are not from the area despite spending their entire life there.  I see so if you are born in Oregon and move to Seattle at three months old you are an Oregonian?  I never heard that though again Seattle has never had a large population of born and raised individuals for some reason we all leave.. the weather perhaps?  And few in Nashville I met had ever travelled anywhere including those who migrated there as this was the first time away from home and many had hard times managing that much. One asked me how does one travel/? Another lied and said they had and said show me your Passport and failed to produce said document so again what was the purpose other than lie?

And yet these are the same people that ask you insanely personal question and interrogate you as to why you came here to Nashville.  Every conversation is an interrogation and every conversation is a form of pulpit speak where you spoken at or to not with.  Their provinciality is displayed in their overall ignorance and dismissal of anyone being "different."

To be provincial you can travel and immediately you recognize those travelers as they complain endlessly about the food, the people, the sites or well anything.  They are boring and should have saved the money and never left home.  And Seattle has many of those folks as for Nashville I don't think any of them had even been to the States that were adjacent unless family lived in them.  As one said to me: I have everything I need here why would I go anywhere else.  I can say I never met or knew anyone who said that in Seattle. But then again in true Freeze fashion I did not care nor feel compelled to know.

Will I ever set foot in Seattle again? No been there done that and done with it.  Nashville and I part ways on Febuary 28th and it cannot come soon enough. Checks will be written and my hostage days are behind me.  I said to someone I should make the 72 hour countdown without incident as I long as I don't find my rental car mysteriously towed and have to pay cash to spring it, have it vandalized, be defrauded, be hit up for more money than agreed.  Hauled into rooms to be interrogated about my private life, spoken to like shit, have the cops called on me, be evicted and my shit tossed into a parking lot by the moving company and told it was my fault for not packing right or other mindfucking and gas lighting that marked my three years there.  So it should be fine.

And with that I welcome my new home as it is like me an outsider that is tough on the edges but soft in the middle. There is a joy in being the outsider and even the social media messengers for the state are tough broads so I know I fit in without effort.   I wear the moniker Jersey Girl with pride even though I was not born and raised here I suspect that few would disagree and be thrilled that I wish to be called as such.  This is not a place for the soft of mind or of hearts but it is a place that never ends to amaze me and for the last quarter of my life I cannot think of a better home.  Those places that we have lived and lived again (my return to Seattle was bittersweet but it brought me back to realize how much I love teaching and kids so hey something good) are all part of the past and only remind me why the future is bright as the past is a tunnel in which I am emerging from and its called the Lincoln one just up the road.

Seattle will always be the roots in this tree but the branch of Nashville is being removed as a tree needs a good trimming to survive.  The sense and sensibility of those who want to live there I wish them the best but I want no part of either as the pursuit of what drives them is money and that is no a car I wish to enter.  The irony is that once again the wealthier cities are the larger metros and despite a decreasing population they are not decreasing in wealth and Seattle and Nashville are not on that list, go figure.  Why? Well it is not just the weather clearly.  So keep bragging as you both are just very sensible and with that provincial.  And with that I bid you Adieu.

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