Friday, May 16, 2014

Tyler Blake:

It was either gonna be Portland, Oregon or Portland, Maine. Either way I had to get out of the south, by as far as I could go.

That's a pretty good opening line, if I do say so. Sorry, I just spent a really long time thinking about it. It's true, too. I have some complicated feelings about the South. The land that raised me. A land that, right now, I wouldn't mind never going back to. I never felt like I belonged in Mobile, Alabama. Beautiful city, underrated Mardi Gras, great people... well, goodhearted people. They mean well. I didn't always feel like I fit in there, even though it was my hometown. I ignored it as long as I could, but I couldn't help fighting with my father, my brothers, my neighbors, my superiors in the National Guard.

About that: I was getting out of high school 10 years ago and I wanted to serve but I didn't believe in anything we were doing overseas, so I joined the NG. At 6' tall and relatively athletic, I was physically suited for it. I liked the routine, the regiment, the sense of purpose, and I probably needed the discipline... until I didn't like it. Counted the days until I could walk away. And now here I am.

I don't mean to make this a rant against the south or the military for that matter. It's basically all I've ever known, and that starts to wear on you after a while, you know? The differences between me and my surroundings started to become too difficult to ignore.

Call me a romantic, or a wannabe poet, but I had this elevated view of the Northeast. The center of culture. Camelot, Harvard, Robert Frost... Stephen King, maybe? Some vague interest in this place. I was working as a short order cook in Mississippi when a last-minute opportunity presented itself to fill a vacant room here (what, you don't search CraigsList for cheap travel deals?) and I quit basically on the spot to go. It's not that I really wanted to be here, but... where the hell else was I gonna go?

So now I'm here and I only kind of regret it. On the way up, I saw a lot of pasture, cows, some maple trees... I think I may have missed the boat not going for New York, or Chicago or something, somewhere with a lot of culture and constant activity.

Instead, I traded one sleepy coastal town for another one on the other corner of the country. The Inn I'm staying at is rustic, very turn-of-the-century and I'm not talking 2000. Stiff beds, drafty, creaky rooms in the cool, rainy Maine air... and only the faintest whiff of WiFi coming in from a nearby establishment. Which is odd. Think about it. The first thing I found in my room was a card inviting me to blog my "entire experience" on this "online guestbook" (really just a blog from the look of things) for some kind of ongoing art project or whatever but there isn't even any on-site web access besides an old dialup modem. Still, it's something to pass the time, even if I end up just blogging about blogging. They recommended starting with a bit about who I am and what brought me here, so here you are.

At least here I'm far enough from family that they can't stop by to check on me if I haven't answered my phone.

Speaking of which... a few messages from dad already. Love the guy, but, ah, I'll have to get back to him.

Once I've decided whether to tell my family where I am.

But first... drinks.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Yup. You're probably going to need a few.