4/26/2006

 

Betwixt Mayberry and Manhattan

I haven't posted in four days?! I'm really getting slack...

I can't blame it all on my inherent slackness, however. Sleep deprivation and time constraints are beginning to take a heavy toll. And I ain't as young as I used to be.

Still, a few things of note happened over the past few days:

We're currently being hosted by Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church. It's only the second Catholic church I've ever set foot in in my life, and I'm finding I have to shake the TV image of Catholic churches I've been exposed to. I keep expecting to see nuns everywhere, and I know that not every Catholic church has them, since I never saw any at St. Pius X. Still, the members are very nice people (like all the IHN volunteers we've met so far) and the food is very good. The space allotted to u for the week is a detached house owned by the church in the lot next door. In its day, it must've been a very nice house, and even now I like the way it's laid out. I'd very much like to own a similar house one day. Maybe I'll make a sketch of the layout before we leave, and pass it along to an architect someday.

Went to Winston today on some business and to do a little networking. I took Mama along because she enjoys visiting the arts district downtown. It rained the entire time, but I didn't mind; I like rainy days, although they're better suited for sleeping and...ahem...than strolling.

Despite sharing a region (and at the rate they're growing, perhaps in a few years, a common border), Greensboro and Winston-Salem are vastly different cities. Even going beyond the "we're us and they're them" thing. For one thing, Winston takes art and artists very seriously, as evidenced by the murals and other works of art you see all over the city. Winston also has a well-defined and developed arts district and community. Greensboro on the other hand sees art and artists as purely commodities, nothing more than something to show off to other cities and corporations via developers orgasming to build the latest and greatest gaudy gewgaw. Mama and I have observed that Winston is awash in older buildings, most of which are still in general use. As a result, there are all kinds of eclectic little hole-in-the-wall shops tucked away in buildings that range up to a century old. Greensboro tends to sweep away such places as soon as they appear, except for, lately the downtown district, which is coming back to life after lying comatose for years. Winston, although smaller, seems to embrace its own potential and is willing to try all sorts of social and architectural experiments to try and better the quality of life. Greensboro on the other hand, seems to be, well...terrified of its own potential. It desperately wants to be another Charlotte, but doesn't want to give up being another Mayberry. So, we stay sadly stuck somewhere in the middle.

Ah, I hear the inevitable question, one I've asked myself many times: So why not move to Winston? Believe me, I've pondered it long and hard; I may yet at some point, but at this immediate juncture, several things conspire to stop me: lack of money, lack of desire to uproot the children from their schools (where they're doing very well) and the fact that Winston is set in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. We're talkin' some steep streets over there, folks. And ice storms and I (of which North Carolina seems to get more than it's share) don't get along. I've slid down way too many Greensboro hills (which tend to be gentler) -- on foot and in a car -- to not respect Winston's.

I know that's a petty point; obviously Winston's citizens have techniques for dealing with ice. Call it a quirk, I guess.

Besides, as I've pointed out, the way these two cities (and High Point) are trying to grow together, it'll all be one sprawling metroplex soon enough. There's even a local civic effort called "Heart of the Triad" designed to plan the future growth of the region and attract good jobs and industry. They've already make a good start.

Comments:
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Chris McElroy aka NameCritic
 
Uh-oh, the situation has progressed in Magic City.
 
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