Friday, March 1, 2019

An Addendum

Normally this means an item of additional material, typically omissions, added at the end of a book or other publication and at times I think it means a daily blog post. 

I started writing about Construction and Green Building 10 years ago and since that time I have transitioned into writing about Criminal Justice and Medical care largely due to my own experiences with both those industrial complexes.  I have written about Education due to my own involvement with that industrial complex as education is now a business more than it ever was.  What was once a part of the public sphere, free, accessible and owned and managed by the Government the free market's single involvement was via private education and those were largely non-secular and not for profit.   Education like criminal justice and medical care have all evolved into for profit businesses with much of it outsourced, unregulated and at high costs.  Some are obvious and up front and some are more subtle and show up later in secondary affects to the bigger picture or in this case the taxpayer but they all are very connected.

How so?  The school to prison pipeline, the lack of medical care and particularly mental health and addiction issues that lead to higher crime which of course is connected to higher public health costs, legal costs and back to the biggest mental health provider - Jail.

The supposed tool of meritocracy to prevent much of this and in turn flag and tag those who need special accommodations are schools, that for decades have been underfunded and poorly resourced with the idea of providing not equal but definitely not separate education. Again that too has failed as schools are as segregated and as crappy as they were before Brown and there is no imperative nor reason to change this.  Even a blue blue State as California proved that with its recent Teacher strike so it has everything to do with color and the color is green.   Money matters and nowhere does it show it more than the South.

If one wants to understand the South I suggest watching the Real Housewives of Atlanta or the spinoff, Don't be Tardy.  Neither does women of color or not any favors in demonstrating the obsession with money, the lack of education, the violence and the concept of Southern Belles or Hospitality more.  I used to laugh at them now I just watch in horror the few times I do watch as it does nothing to make me feel better about women, about Black women or the South.  The men are not much better from shady businesses to just throwing shade it makes you wonder if any of them had ever been given an education and opportunity to be independent and secure would this be any different?  I cannot live with the constant excuse phrase: This is the South.  No its everywhere it just matters more elsewhere.  They may not be any more successful but at least they acknowledge the problems and try at some level to make change.   Here in the South there is a resignation and acceptance that this is how it is and the attempts to make change usually over the long term fails so I see their point.

As Nashville is on the "rise" the reality is that it has opened the Pandora Box of truths that have been buried for decades, the illiteracy, the racial divides, the insufficient infrastructure including public education, roads and transport.  The political climate has turned even deeper red and the Plumber is sure his self interests are the priority while professing to see the bigger picture. That is the South, say the words, act on some of them and bury the rest with the truth.

I have met FEW and by few I actually mean FEW people who are even remotely intelligent.  And by intelligent I mean well informed, articulate, educated and more importantly polite.  I see that across ages and races and at times exhausted me, angered me and upset me.  I have become much like the people here resigned to that reality and why I count down the days to leave.  I spend a great deal of time validating my beliefs by finding list after list, comment after comment that somehow enables me to find a cold comfort that "its not me" when it comes to the level of rudeness and idiocy I encounter. My least favorite thing to do is speak to Teachers as they make me feel utterly conflicted as to how bad they are and their role in this system that is beyond broken.  In the crime world they would be accomplices.    Yesterday was one such day and I had to remind myself that I did not have to speak to students unless absolutely necessary and that was something I could control. I don't always manage to control my emotions and that pushed the limit with the encounters that I had earlier that lent to another day where I wanted to bury my head in the sand.

Perhaps that is many people's reactions to the world around them and I empathize but I find social media lacking and as without some way to vent I turn to the blog so it has become an addendum to the notes I take as I write the books about living here and the other about education.  I cannot actually sit and compose the formal texts as I am too distracted, to angry, sad, lonely, afraid and bored to truly dedicate the time needed to do so.   Trying to plan my move has lead to more frustrations than I thought even taking clothes or furniture to consignment has turned out to be more complex than it should.  Thankfully the Antique broker is solid and convenient but the rest is more hurdles and bullshit than I would like and that is all on me.  The endless closing of businesses due to bankruptcy, losing leases or simply closing up all seem to be in utter opposition to how the city presents itself but the truth is again buried beneath the dirt and when dug up is promptly shoveled to another pile for another time.

This is the state of our Country with the oddness that defines the Trump Presidency and to wake up to the failed nuclear talks made me laugh out loud and then the rest of the day proved to be its own bomb where I lost it at another coffee shop behind my house when I asked about the closing of our local grocery, Sassafrass.  .  They are a new business and they are worried about making it as anyone should and I expressed concern about the ever changing landscape in local business and restaurants which are not a good sign for supposedly an it city. And with that my building going condo and largely now slowly self evicting with no management in place leaves one wonder what the fuck is going on here in this supposed "it" city.  At that point I turned my back for a moment to pick up my coffee and heard the exchange between the two Barista, what was said I was not sure but I saw through the window glass the faces and eye rolling I have come to learn here as a standard response to me.  I used to think it was just me and then I sat one day an watched person after person do this to another, the staff do this to other customers and in turn I realized I was doing it something I had never done before nor will I now or ever again.  So I did what I have been doing over this confronting them about it.  There is no possibility of shame here it seems to be the new standard and yet I do it regardless to at least educate and inform them that I won't tolerate it and I am aware of it.  They did not apologize nor care to explain this behavior as something passive people do and I said no that it is passive aggressive was when you do it within earshot or sight range it is aggressive and the presumption is that most will respond passively by ignoring it.  Now that seems to be backfiring here as the shootings, the fights and the violence tell otherwise so the purpose has to be what?  Again, no response. So I asked if it was about me as an individual and what it is about me that causes this reaction would it be simpler to simply over a coffee explain why I am laughed at or dismissed as I have been a customer who tries to be polite and respectful and true I am not a big ticket person I do tip and try to come regularly to support my local business so it has to be something I said or did that led to this incident and what can I do to either change my behavior so it does not happen again or chose to not come back again. They simply stared at me.  I sat down for five minutes and the coffee was undrinkable at that point so put in on the bus tray threw out my napkin and as I walked to the door one shouted, "Have a nice evening" all while looking in the other direction. I turned and laughed and said, "It's daylight."  And then I departed and realized that while the charm of Americano is that the coffee is just below average and I was done there is another one just up the street and another around the corner so we went from coffee desert to a virtual tap and I can go anywhere to have a latte and once again I have learned that less is more with Nashville.  You cannot speak to these people as a single individual without a tribe, a posse, a partner whom you can prove you are worthy to be acknowledged and I go back to that night at the Symphony when the woman behind me gesticulated and spoke to her husband clearly directing the comments about me not to me when I sat down alone and that too led to my confronting them that their actions seemed directed about me and since we had two hours confined in a box we need to resolve any issues that they had with my presence.  They denied it but again at times even actions speak louder than words.  No not paranoid but I am very hyper vigilant when I walk into a room and my years of being a Teacher gives one eyes in the back of ones head so it explains why I am also over aware.  But the rudeness and general demeanor of people here belies and anger and pettiness that is something I find all over the landscape and it has made me afraid of living here on a daily basis.

And then add to this the insanity of our branches of Government who seem intentionally to sow divisions the parallel is not lost.  I have long said Trump is a Southern President and his Attorney confirmed that the other day when he described him as a Con Man, a Racist and a Liar.  He is a man in perpetual outrage emphasis on the rage. He tilts at windmills, then falls off his horse as a result and blames naturally Sancho Panza for that failure and in turn is sure that everyone who is not for him is against him.  It is why he adores these odd DICKtators and strong arm theatrics as it comforts him to believe that they get him.  Stupid is as stupid does says another fictional character and that too was another one from the South. The South seems to have an arena of the "type" of idiot brother who is smarter than those around him and is just misunderstood.  Yes that is the ticket!  And the idea of working hard and self made bullshit is another doctrine that fairly composes most of the Southern jet set who have made a name for themselves in either the political or private sector, usually both as they like to cross those lines as an act of self preservation and gratification.  Welcome to Trump Country I have been living in for three years just a year ahead of the nation and no it does not get better. 

I wish I had some wisdom to provide some sense of perspective that enables me to pass along a coping strategy but bitching about this endlessly does not seem to ameliorate my rage or pain. I will go ahead and write the book about living here composing of the essays that began here on the blog but at some point I need to focus on the things that matter but its funny I can't seem to find out what those are anymore.   I can't go to concerts and shows as it puts me in a surrounded environment with the enemy and in turn my fear factor of being harmed by a stranger likely a teenager grows with each and every day.  It is exhausting so I am finding music and books and taken up doing The Artists Way again as a means of keeping me focused on the moment, not the future, not the past but the moment.  I think we all need to live in the moment for that is what matters.  It is not an addendum.

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