Ajax Bell

Author of the Queen City Boys books

So. Things.

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This weekend Ladybug and I went ten miles out of our way to do our grocery shopping at Publix. Publix is great. Reasonably priced, store brand stuff is awesome and I can get all hippie/natural brands that I’m accustomed to in Seattle and can’t get in my (awesome) ghetto neighborhood in Nashville. And Ladybug and I are always up for cross-cultural experiences. So there we were, in suburbs. It could have been ANYWHERE in middle America. It didn’t feel like Nashville. It didn’t feel like anywhere. It was just a vaguely American place. So we shop. We get our good foods. We marvel at the suburbs and we drive home.

So I’m thinking, here’s all these relatively uniform looking people. All these teenagers who are dressed like Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz. And there’s nothing around that makes think this place is special because… It didn’t even necessarily feel like the South or Nashville or anything.

I bag on Nashville a lot. The grocery stores suck. Public transit is a joke. Decent restaurants must be carefully sought and aren’t just found. But really, I love Nashville. It feels like, well, Nashville. It has character and personality and despite how small it is it’s still genuinely urban. Yes, the racial divide is bad, the poverty is hard to deal with (especially when it’s so close), but I love even those things. It has soul, it is reality. There is more reality here than any American suburb. And it is dark and poor and horrible, but it’s also, arty and bright and amazing and I just love my city.

Sometimes you have to go to the suburbs to remind yourself of why you love the city. Also real urban kids don’t need to try and look like Ashlee Simpson because they have culture and variety and other things in their lives to keep them from becoming plastic parodies of people.

After grocery shopping, Ladybug and I re-arranged the kitchen a bit and it feels much more open and bright and utilitarian. Hurray!

I’ve started training my replacement at the day job. She seems great so far. So that’s good. Can’t wait to get out there.

Have a stack of reference/research books next to me. Should be doing that work. Am instead blogging and contemplating eating cold fried chicken and watching 13 going on 30. Which you know I hate both the leads of that movie, and yet, still enjoy the movie. Weird.

Yes, I had other things to say. Smart, interesting things. Political things. Intelligent things. Who knows now what they were, though, because I’ve forgotten. Maybe I’ll have a beer with that fried chicken.

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