Immediately I am going to come out with and tell you I feel a need to complain. Well, give credence to an issue that I am frustrated about since moving back to B’ham. In my living in NYC and Austin Emily and I found a group of people that liked to hang out with each other and do similar things together. From within the 1st 6 months in Austin we had a dinner group that met every Sunday night and the group size ranged from 6- 30. It all depended on the night and what was going on in people’s lives. We used that base of people to go do other things around Austin: bike nights from bar to bar, caroling on bikes with kazoos, going to Art Walks, seeing concerts, playing in the parks, frisbee golf, eating at good restaurants, having a bonfire in the backyard and playing music all night, and camping trips or traveling trips. We wanted to create something that we could all claim as our own. I can tell you that Emily and I still keep in touch with almost everyone that was a regular in the dinner group even though we live throughout the United States now. Moving back to Alabama I have instantly become aware that community is not a word that is a descriptive word for this place in which I live, or I am just not getting the communities that I hoped for.
Emily and I have 2 friends that have our mindset and they moved from Austin within the same week that we moved. We met them a week before we moved from Austin. They have seen more of B’ham than I have seen and they have been here since August. They lived in NYC, San Fran, and Austin, as I know it. The thing that I am making an assumption about is that I grew up with people that were content. If you have every talked to me, content is another adjective that is not normally used around me. A couple that normally fit are talkative, loud, and excitable. Since my wife has 1st starting talking to me she has always heard me complain about how the people that I grew up with and shaped the way I am today never wanted to really do anything. Traveling, seeing things, and just a lust for life was never in their vocabulary. In the past I felt bad for being so thirsty for something different. For wanting to see and know EVERYTHING. Now I just know that I am the freak and I
My big problem, and yes I understand the irony while I am typing, is that religion is no longer the opiate of the masses. Technology is the opiate of the masses. We no longer interact except through screens. How many times have you said, “I do not want to talk to that person, I will just text them.” I know the feeling, but more and more I just call someone and if they want to screen my calls, go for it I will leave a message. We are making human interaction secondary. This is why I want to start all these things in my community, to see real people and not just look at pictures of them on a screen. Facebook is a great and terrible at the same time. If you follow me on Facebook and if you are reading this you most likely are, I have taken on another philosophy about the social media juggernaut: I try like hell not to post pictures of me. Now every now and then one comes up, but overall it is picture of my view of life, not a view of me. There are many reasons that I do that, 1st and most important is I want people that I know and like to see me on a regular basis. I understand this is hard for some of my friends because we live so far apart, but the ones within a 6 hour drive should see me at least once a year and if not I am sorry for being a terrible friend. We are making life binary rather than tactile. My favorite book on the planet is “1984” by the wonderful Mr. George Orwell and it frightens me more each time I read the book to realize that the man really saw what was happening and knew we were heading down a certain path. All these things help us everyday and I love having this much information at my fingertips at every moment. But, the human element is why we are here and we are moving farther and farther from those ideas. Okay, enough of that lets think about rainbows and unicorns. Yeah, that doesn’t work for me either.
I know at the very essence of my being you cannot change people. The realization has become all to clear to me; do what makes you happy and those that like that will come and do it with you. Good times almost always ensue and if they don’t you at least have a story to tell. So B’ham, please let us retake our city and make it great. It is a beautiful place that we have let the people that want to settle and never change take over. Let’s take it back! We have a jewel that is buried and I for one want to start digging.