Letters from Home

The South End and The North End

My friend Bonnie wants to know what is wrong with our town. Well, I have an opinion about that. Here it is.

The Pieces

First, there are a bunch of us liberals that live in one area of town, up North here. We are mostly white, Judeo-Christians, or has-beens like me who jumped ship and became a Unitarian. We have a certain amount of money and we live in the neighborhood we live in because, whether we admit it or not, we prefer our houses to NOT be rundown or NOT be nextdoor to the former Mr. Ps shooting gallery and bar.

Second, there are a bunch of conservatives who live in the SAME area of town. In fact, there are MORE of them than there are of us. They live here because they like the school systems, they like their privacy, they like white people like themselves and they will ADMIT that they NEVER wanted to go inside Mr. Ps shooting gallery and bar, not even out of curiosity.

Third, (but not because it’s LESS mind you!) there are the social liberals who ALSO voted for Obama who live at the other (south) end of town. They may or may not work at the former Mr Ps shooting gallery and bar, and they live in whatever type of abode a service wage can afford them (after all, this is Connecticut and us whiteys like to be served).

Which isn’t much. And it IS rundown, because they have NO time to fix it up because they work 70 hours a week and have three kids to take care of. They are exhausted and even if they rent, they can’t be bothered to call the landlord, unless it’s dire. They TOO would like to have time to plan their youngest birthday party, and also have to fill out all those friggin’ kindergarten registration forms that require a PhD that NOBODY has.

The REALLY South End

Fourth, there’s Lordship, which is basically Texas. Everyone (and I mean EVERYONE, including them) secretly wants them to secede and take the airport with them. Only problem is they are attached to our beach rights, which is the only reason any of us live in Stratford.

The REALLY North End

Fifth, Oronoque. OK, everyone has SOMEONE they know and love who lives a-way up there on Assisted Living Island, so it’s hard to say anything bad, right? Respect thine elders, right?

The best solution would be to distract them all with a really great reality television program featured there, because as we know, every vote in town is skewed by the Black Hole District–where voters have all the time to vote and complain, but no time to actually be involved in the town and do anything of use.

Sixth, the big Fat Middle.  These include all of the following:

1. There’s the guys on the couch. The armchair conservative quarterbacks who slam beers and bitch about everything but only vote when one or two issues chap their hides. Like gun control and pencil skirts.

2. High-horse liberals who are busy homeschooling their kids and feel the lousy government doesn’t include them. So they “drop out.”

3. And we all know the people who say “Politicians are all corrupt. I just don’t vote.”

You want to know what’s wrong with our town? We are the perfect image of America. We are plagued with apathy. We reject and disconnect from anyone of another race, culture, or socioeconomic class– even if their values and ideas are the same as ours. We are frozen, because we believe we are right.

We are Narcissus, staring at our lovely selves in the pool that is about to drown us.

We are living on our 1/4 to 3/4 acre islands of anger, frustration and oblivion, texting and messaging only the people who agree with us. And when we disagree, we say:

“People should never talk about politics or religion.”

We talk and we don’t act.  When we act, we are filling out forms for soccer, pouring asphalt in potholes, and driving our cars in traffic.

That’s what’s wrong.

And I know… this is a lot of talking and not acting. I know. But Bonnie asked.

6 thoughts on “The South End and The North End

  1. Because I know you, I don’t get offended when you say certain things because I know you don’t mean them the way they come out sometimes.

    “Second, there are a bunch of conservatives who live in the SAME area of town. In fact, there are MORE of them than there are of us. They live here because they like the school systems, they like their privacy, THEY LIKE WHITE PEOPLE LIKE THEMSELVES…”

    As you know I am somewhat conservative, and many of my friends are very conservative. They are, for the most part, NOT racist as you suggest.

    If you are going to claim to be a liberal, you should be tolerant of others (something I respect in Liberals) and you should be able to respect people who disagree with your politics without painting them all as racists.

    There was probably a good point in this post, as there usually is, but I had trouble getting past being called a racist.

  2. Hi Elizabeth, I wanted to reply to one thing: “texting and messaging only the people who agree with us.” I was thinking about this today, even before I read your post. I do not text, but I do blog, and after five months of blogging five days a week, I’m suddenly realizing I need a fresh perspective, to keep going at that rate. Seems I’ve been blogging with an image of my audience of people just like me. Now that I’ve made that statement, it sounds pretty bad, doesn’t it? Well, I wanted to say that I’ve been following your blog for a few months now, and I think it’s safe to say we’re pretty different. So in that way, you are not “messaging only the people who agree with [you].” That’s a good thing. You’re a great writer (which I don’t know means much coming from a lowly copyeditor). Great writing connects me to people who think differently from me. Now what about the poor souls who don’t write well? Well … I might just have to take a harder look at my neighborhood.

  3. The great things about towns (or cities, or villages, you get the picture) is that they change.
    When we were living in London and my parents visted, Elizabeth took my mom to the market at Portebello Road. When my dad (who grew up in London) heard that they were going to Notting Hill he got this worried look on his face and asked: “Is that safe? That was a pretty rough area of town.” Now you would be hard pressed to find a two bedroom flat for under a million dollars.
    Who knows what Stratford will look like in 10 years, or 20 or 50?

  4. Ever heard the sound of a tree falling in the forest or one hand clapping? Interesting perspective on our town. No mention of the tox dump in the south end, you displayed a lot of restraint.

  5. I LOVE this and i LOVE you!! Can I repost this to my facebook wall too? Ahhh…

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