Friday, December 24, 2004

Holiday Cheer ... ala Deliverance?

I am just about at my wits end. Who wouldn't be. This area of the country is uber draining for anyone with a conscience. Orchestrate my surroundings with the holiday season and you've a wonderful recipe for adding years, prematurely. I can't decide if this just makes you older, or speeds up the process to whatever final end. Moreover, the holidays are so entwined with family it's like this whole mess is out of the twilight zone or something ... seriously!

I can't get through one day without thinking, "You sure got a purty mouth," about 3 times. I thought I was doing okay last night, but then I heard a local DJ on the radio. So much for the WT effect not inundating media. Everyone here looks the same. You can pick out 'new comers' by their lack of congruity with the rest of the population. Granted, some people take a bit longer to adjust, but all will aclimatize ... or you move. It's realy scary. I keep wondering how people get by, and if they consider what they jeopardize by living the lifestyles they choose. I mentioned narrowmindedness yesterday, but I think that's only a small portion. Everyone here carries 50 - 75 lbs (per person) more than they should. This is not just a superficial survey, obesity prevails across the population here. There are the few who are really skinny, but I even heard someone 'teased' last night for being so thin ... The kid clearly couldn't help it. He scoffed at everyone and said he was just lucky, as he porked on french fries and chicken wings. Of course he washed it down with sweet tea (at least so sweet I convulse when I get near it). Sadly, the kid will have a child, and gain 50 lbs. It's predictable here. The grotesque thing is that children are relatively fat as well. They all look so sedentary. It appauls me to no end that parents go around with enough weight to threaten their long-term livelihood. I'm talking YOUNG parents, 25 - 30. I joke that I could take 25 people and lose a total of 2000 lbs in 6 months. I'd choose 20 - 35 year olds with families. I'd probably beat my goal, but damn if these people aren't in need ... at least for their kids' sake.

Clearly an issue for me, but only a side dish to the more interesting family dynamics currently undergoing. Everyone's family is dysfunctional. If they aren't, there is something wrong. Splitting time between families seems appropriate, particularly when the families live in close proximity. My family takes the splitting of time to an extreme. On the 23rd we had one xmas. We got the 24th off, more or less -- we ended up getting together with everyone for 'lunch'. I was thoroughly nauseous from my diet-deviating activities. No surprise there. In any event, I requested a lunch with salad. Any salad. Just big, green, leafy thingies, with a GRILLED chicken breast. Of course the only place to go like that in town is over at the delapidated 'mall.' It took us 10 minutes just to get in. Luckily that wasn't too bad. The place seated us promptly. A table of 6, pieced together slowly as family members trickle in through the challenge better known as Christmas traffic. Some people came late. I stewed in my juices. Got pissed. My lunch was decidedly mediocre. How can you mess up greens? I didn't even put dressing on them. Anyways. Tomorrow we have our second xmas. I'm REALLY not looking forward to that process. We've a lunch at 2 (fun time to have lunch if you can plan accordingly) and a family 'gift exchange' later that night. I am taking baked apples in an attempt to curb my persistent nausea, but it probably won't go well. Who knows. I think the food here slowly poisons me ... I can't wait to get back and attempt to get healthy again. I'm so far removed from my element at this point my legs've started to atrophe ... no joke. Hopefully I'll come back sated and tanned though. I'm excited to see everyone. More tomorrow hopefully!

Sending my warmest holiday wishes to all reading these morose pages,


Thursday, December 23, 2004

Holiday Posting

And you all thought I forgot how to login? Not at all, though I've been decidedly negligent in my postings, it has not been my intent to wholly abandon the notion of puting my thoughts online. I think it's been over a month since my last post. Blog spot, I'm certain, considered closing my account to make space for other people ... luckily they didn't. I DID have a time logging in though -- toward the end of the semester I started forgetting things. No suprise there.

I intended to write throughout my holiday in the States. Clearly, that did not happen. Intentions are nice and everything, but I'm not going to lose sleep over my obvious lack of dedication. While making a mends may seem most appropriate, I will just settle on doing my best and consider the last month irretrievably broken. There are worse things, I guess, but let's get into it.

I flew from Stockholm to Chicago. Customs is always an adventure. There is really no other way to describe customs, it is obligatory and discriminatory. You have to do it at port of entry. Otherwise you don't get your checked bags. Well, most people who travel put clothes and stuff in checked bags, so they are somewhat essential. Maybe customs is more appropriate when named Travel Nazis. They are purists. They hold your valuables until you submit to the system. And if they don't 'like' you, you can end up in Guantanamo. They ask you questions a reasonably jet lagged person will not be able to answer without some repetition. You have to fill out stupid forms that say do this, but don't do this, and if you filled that out maybe you should not have. It's very confusing, even for an over educated, American, native in the language. I wonder if that's legal ... Let's be honest, for just a second, if you are dark skinned and not clearly of 'race'+ American lineage, you may be in for an interesting time. While my hair gives me SOME superficial trouble, I just engage in some compaintive, or courteous, repartee and it's fine. I shudder at the thought of entering the US without the luxury of the American background. It really has come to US (pun intended) vs. them and I really don't like it. At all. It's no wonder people don't like Americans ... we don't even like each other half the time.

Stayed in Dallas for a few days. Yeah, so after going through the rigormorall in Chicago, I flew to Dallas. My sister picked me up. I was thoroughly jetlagged. It was just getting dark when I got to Dallas, which makes it that much harder, and I hadn't eaten in what seemed like days. Wait, no that was just the time change. Of course I landed during rush hour, so the ride home exceded 1.5 hours. Ridiculous. As soon as I got in though, we hit a texmex place, filled up on chips and margaritas, and everything seemed okay. I slept on the floor for the next few days. I managed to catch up with some friends and even squeezed in a night out resulting in a 'date'ish kind of thing. There was an extraneous entanglement I won't mention here. Those interested can ask me in person, unless you are of immediate relation ... Suffice to say, Dallas was eventful, but a good means of adjusting timezones. Then of course I continued my trip.

I am finally with my family in North Carolina. North Carolina is definitely a different place. I can't decide if this is going to make two paragraphs ... I'm thinking it should. Anyways, you'll see as you read on. So, we flew into Raleigh. Raleigh is a relatively nice city. They people are a little agressive, but the genuine southern character prevails. It's the inundation of yankee society that's diluted the otherwise puritan southern society in the retirement mecca of the East Coast. ( I consider Florida a totally different thing ... NC is known for it's bluehair's). My dad joined us at the Airport there in Raleigh. Dad's age directly impacts his ability to overcome jetlag. Needless to say, he rang my room at 5:45 am to invite me to breakfast. I accommodated the best I could, but I a) don't remember the conversation and b) doubt it was very good anyways: a jet lagged dad and a sleep deprived son conversing before the sunrises ... hmmm, que obvio. We all hit the mall after a series of breakfasts. I stuck to my diet, mostly in preparation for the coming onslaught of carb-rich-meals that abound during our holidays. Eggs and Sausage; mmm, sausage. The mall remained somewhat uneventful. Around lunchtime we began our journey east. To the coast, and New Bern, the home of Pepsi and the largest small town congregation of retired people coupled with wt. (for a definition of WT use your imagination or consider a google approach. Hint: it is not weight, without thinking, or wavelength ... keep going, be creative. think the south, or west virginia).

Interestingly, my family seemed accepting of my 'hair' situation. I'm somewhat conscious about it to say the least. In fact, my consciencious attending of the situitation verges on obsession. We don't talk about it. The town, and people, in the area seem to take a somewhat different approach. Everyone knows everyone here. When they see someone with long hair, they think, omg a) who is that and b) why do they have long hair. I made a faux pas by listing them a, b; for the people here, the thought process will not probably occur in said order. The immediate reaction is, 'don't look at them until you know who they are.' The problem with this my general awareness of my surroundings. Typically, when you want to hide something, people will find out. Anyways, it is terribly obvious. Another approach, typically taken by WT teens/20 somethings, has to been to stare, a metal and physical gaffaw akin to absolute, mindless prejudice. As you know, I've no problem with eye contact, so they recieve a most bold look in the eye. I'm silently glad that Niklas took me to boxing classes. while I don't anticipate any confrontational activities, it's always good to remain confident in your purported laurels.

So, I should get off of here. Everyone seems prone to sleep but me. I guess they've all an excuse: R is sick, mom sick, dad jet lagged, grandma sick and 81. Go figure. Oh well. Just being here makes me feel old. In new Bern that is. This place reeks of geriatric hell. There'd be no way you could get me back here for more than a temporary stay. More on that later.

Sending my best wishes for the Holiday across spaces uncountable,


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