Monday, October 24, 2011

You Can't Go Home Again - Part 1

...and...we're back!  It's been a good few weeks.

For the past 10 or so days I've been in North Carolina; tying up loose ends, reconnecting with old friends, re-establishing residency - and it's been quite interesting on a few levels.

The series of posts beginning today are primarily reflective on the whole experience of moving from one place to another and drawing comparisons and contrasts between the two locations.  I hope everyone enjoys it, but particularly Ohioans and North Carolinians.


They say, “You can’t go home again.”  I reckon that’s true to a point.

When I first moved to Columbus I almost immediately began drawing comparisons and contrasts between the ways of life in Ohio and North Carolina.  Everyone around Columbus seemed to be more cynical, morose, in a generally fouler mood than the folks in good ol’ NC.  Traffic seemed to be much more manic, crazy, insane than what it was like in the Raleigh area.  In Columbus, pretty much everyone – and I mean everyone – obsesses over the Buckeyes.  Yet, I moved there for love so I would endure and search for bright points in the environment and locals and see what Southern Cheer I could bring to the wayward Midwest.

Well, all of that got turned on its head when Reality socked me with a left jab and then a mean right hook, crushing the metaphorical bridge of my nose along with the rose-colored glasses I had been unwittingly sporting for quite some time.  It took a month and a half or so to get over that and then my vision started coming into focus.  After reflecting on the experiences I had had after a couple visits back to NC during my time in Ohio I arrived at some interesting conclusions.

It just so happened that people I normally rolled with in NC versus the folks I initially rolled with in Ohio were different kinds of people.  And then I realized, “Oh yeah – I know plenty of cynical, morose and generally foully-mooded people in North Carolina.”  It doesn’t matter where you are, there are always crowds of optimistic people and cynical people – and that’s okay.  But I’m not here to talk about the dynamics which exist in the balance of optimism and cynicism though I think that’s a very interesting topic to explore – so, Back To the Point!  (Heheh, “Points?  Where we’re going we don’t need…points.”)

Another conclusion, or rather, realization I arrived at in my ruminations and observations is that I-40 traffic is awful!!  Traffic in Apex, of all places, is awful!  …during the right time of day, of course; and so it is in Columbus – some times of day traffic is delightful; other times it’s a nightmare.  On the road, people in NC can be just as rude as they are in Ohio; on the road, people in Ohio can be just as polite and accommodating as they are in NC.

In Ohio, everyone’s obsessed with Buckeye football.  In the Triangle area, everyone is obsessed with basketball – be it NC State, ECU, Wake Forest, UNC, Duke, etc.  And therein lies really the only difference: there’s only one team in Ohio, so naturally all the sports nuts gravitate towards that.  There’s some diversification in NC, but essentially it’s the same thing: something I just don’t understand as I don’t go cuckoo for sports like Sonny goes cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.

As all this began dawning on me I started arriving at new conclusions: there are nerds in Ohio, there are nerds in North Carolina.  There are Browncoats in NC and there are Browncoats in Ohio.  What was most comforting, though, is that God is just as much in Ohio as He is in NC.  From that truth has sprung the security and assurance that Ohio is now another place I can call “home.”  Indeed, “Home is where the heart of Carolina is,” but I know there’s more than one place I “belong.”

To be continued…

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