Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Strange Parallels

by AJ/Skald

"But now I am condemned to wander, attached to a faraway company, and every day I lose the taste for the climate and the manners of living, and even the language of Europe."
--Arthur Rimbaud

The above quote was taken from this Arthur Rimbaud site .

(Oddly enough, I had never read his poetry before, nor was I familiar with his biography. Needless to say, I'm blown away. Thanks Greg for the recommendation).

That line resonates strongly with me.... just substitute "America" for "Europe". Day by day I lose my taste for the climate, manners, and culture of the United States. However much I may (or may not) struggle abroad, I no longer feel the urge to return to the US. It no longer feels like home to me.

Is this so surprising? America bores the shit out of me. I spent 30 plus years there.... I feel it has little to offer. Even in my short lifespan, it has devolved..... become a bland standardized wasteland. It really hit home one day in the summer of 2002. I was living in my van and roaming the region bounded by Atlanta (GA), Athens(GA), Greenville (SC), and Chapel Hill (NC). One night I camped in a parking lot.

I awoke the next morning, climbed into the front seat, started the van... and headed towards the street. Suddenly I was hit by vertigo. I pulled over and stopped the engine. I couldn't remember which town I was in.

I looked around and saw a Wal-Mart, a McDonalds, and various strip-mall chain stores. My head reeled... "where the fuck am I?".

I restarted the van and pulled onto the highway. Eventually (and it took a few minutes) I saw a distinct landmark of Greenville, SC.

America has become an endless stripmall... every town has the same shops, the same architecture, the same roads. Every town practices slash & burn development. Trees and hills are levelled and colonated with pre-fab boxes. Every town has the same butt-ugly McMansions. The same food. The same Fox-fed people.

Standardization... the businessman's dream. The artist's nightmare.

From that day forward I lost interest in America. It has nothing left to offer me.

I used to get homesick when I was abroad... but now "abroad" IS my home.


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