Thursday, February 22, 2007

the Penn State of thinking...


...I spent a week in Pennsylvania visiting my daughter and the differences between there and here (California) still has me in haze...

~ As opposed to Cali, you order fast food in the drive-through and people are just so very kind and courteous that it is jarring to the senses. In addition, you don't need a U.N. interpreter to figure out if fries come with the burger.
~ Unlike Cali, there are no culture wars brewing in the streets, at least not apparent. There are few foreign-soil flags visible, regardless of the fact that there are polish, Italians, Jews, Irish and Puerto Ricans there. Most everybody flies the U.S. flag in their front porch, no matter the political ideology. What a novel concept...
~ As economically depressed as the region is, I am amazed at the disposition and can-do spirit of the township. Not a lot of victims here, just ordinary folks born to believe they are not owed anything except a fair shot at happiness; I wish it was contagious...
~ As news spread about the region's first war casualty, all the talk in the town was on how to pull together and make sure the family of the fallen soldier was not in need of anything. Posters, newspaper articles, .... regular conversation at the town diner all centered around helping their own. No anti-war this, or pro-war that,... just men and woman rolling up their sleeves and asking "how can we help?" What a resilient and warm-hearted people.
~ When asked what I was doing visiting a place like their little town, -considering I live in the Golden State-, I answered "well, my daughter lives here, but I am learning to love it here so I hope to be a regular visitor".... At first they looked at me strange,... but then they smiled, and asked about MY life, and is it true about all they say about California,... I tell them they aren't missing anything.

I've been back 14 hours. Already my stress level is back to Defcon 3, I found my car was keyed along the door while I was gone, there was a drive-by shooting at the local high-school and have been told I am going to be going to a "diversity and cultural" training as part of our company's involvement in the community. Funny, I doubt there is little -if any- cultural and diversity training in this little Pennsylvania township. People are just regular Americans, living a hard blue-collar life, ... with very little complaining about it. Is it perfect? no (what is?), are there problems? sure, of course. Can the region use an infusion of capital, and other economic help? Absolutely. But why then, are the people there, much happier than the people that supposedly have it all?... Is it perspective? or is it just me wishing for simpler things?... whatever it is, the American dream is not dead, it has not vanished. It's still there in middle Americana. The big metropolitan areas may have the masses, the glitz, the glamour, the population explosion and the cultural diversity to boast,... but its little towns like this little place in north-west Pennsylvania that has my heart. Beam me up.

12 comments:

Obob said...

did you have any Tastee Cakes? They are the food of the gods. But glad to see you got the QT you needed with you child. It is funny how the backwards people of small towns have the wisdom of Plato and emtional depth of the Great Trench. That's why I love my little spot in central Indiana

Truth-Pain said...

No tastee cakes, Obob. Nowadays my girth is getting girthier by just smelling foods.

I appreciate you metaphors, they are a good reflection of how I feel today. I know I will get one or two social progressives who will imply that I am harkening back to the days of Ozzie and Harriet,... but that was not my point and I think I am intelligent enough to see that I am emotionally skewed at the moment. Having said that, I make no apologies, ... I am about as pure a social libertarian as one can find, ... yet my heart yearns for places were the sands of time has not done too much damage to the veneer of things... Many good and bad things have come to pass in America, and thankfully a grand number have been corrected by the social changes of our country,... but the baby has been, -at times-,thrown out with the bath water.

D.Daddio Al-Ozarka said...

Sounds like home, T-P!

Maybe you should come in from the cold.

Always On Watch Two said...

Truth Pain,
As opposed to Cali, you order fast food in the drive-through and people are just so very kind and courteous that it is jarring to the senses. In addition, you don't need a U.N. interpreter to figure out if fries come with the burger.

In the summer of 2005, my husband and I went on a driving vacation to Kentucky. We saw and heard nothing but English speakers the entire time. How refreshing! I have no regrets that I didn't get to practice my Spanish on that vacation. When we go to CA, however, I NEED that Spanish.

As news spread about the region's first war casualty, all the talk in the town was on how to pull together and make sure the family of the fallen soldier was not in need of anything. Posters, newspaper articles, .... regular conversation at the town diner all centered around helping their own. No anti-war this, or pro-war that,... just men and woman rolling up their sleeves and asking "how can we help?"

Definitely different than from here in the D.C. area! Here, we don't have a word in support of the war.

betmo said...

the grass is always greener tp- it is easy to paint a picture of mayberry when you don't live it all of the time. you see the outside projected to the world- but these places have just as many issues as the big time- even if they are all in english. how do i know? i live here. if you start heading to the south where there has been a surge of population growth- you will hear a similar lament to yours. i have a feeling that population has more to do with your issues than many other things. i could be wrong and often am- i am only familiar with the section of the country i am from.

Brooke said...

I'm glad you had a good time, and I'm sorry things were crappy upon your return.

Here in Ohio we are hearing Spanish more and more. I notice it a lot in Wal-Mart. Heh.

Try not to sever your tongue from all the biting you'll have to do in that damned "diversity" class. What a load.

QuakerDave said...

"I know I will get one or two social progressives who will imply that I am harkening back to the days of Ozzie and Harriet..."

Not from this one, because most of us know that was a fantasy. The real world is a lot more complicated, a lot more "diverse." And that's not a load: that's the truth.

That's also what makes life interesting, IMHO.

Glad you had a safe trip.

Truth-Pain said...

Daddio:
I hear ya,... I've heard your neck of the woods has some of the best little towns in America; and judging from some of the photos i've seen on you blog I can see why.

Truth-Pain said...

AOW2:

Its funny, I was thinking of the term "support of the war". Even in the best of lights, who supports ANY war for that matter? Even "good" wars (if you can identify them as such) are horrific human endeavors that most of us will never imagine being part of...

Having said that, I know the prism in which you say that. It is a vexing thing to me. As a libertarian I don't believe in any use of force save for protection of the motherland, our own soil. But if one is pragmatic, one has to take the idea that if say Canada is invaded, then the U.S. is next...., so do I wait until the enemy is at my border or do I pre-empt (yikes, the "P" word!) to avoid bloodshed in my own country. But who cares? isn't bloodshed the same no matter where it is spilled?

I can fully see how battling terrorism in a far place can stiffle the powers of evil, etc..., but I can see the other side as well. I love my brothers in Arms. I cry for the soldiers and the visions of little girls like mine crying at a grave-site of their fallen Moms and Dads....

I wish there was a better term than just "support".... it does not encompass the complexity of the problem.

Truth-Pain said...

Betmo,
You're right, I know that. I know that just being in a place for a few days does not fully give me a reasonable facsimile of the true nature of anything other than the cosmetics that are readily apparent. Mayberry this is not, that is for sure. In fact this region is far from that,... there is more poverty and people below regular standards of living than anywhere I've ever seen. But the people,... the people I've met are simply the salt of the Earth.

Truth-Pain said...

Brooke,
I am heading your way soon... discovered I have a long lost cousin in Columbus :) so I am coming up to see him in late spring (on my way to PA, of course).

Truth-Pain said...

QD
Ditto on that. All those 50's shows where just "Utopia in a vacuum" to me,...
As to diversity, although I hate anybody trying to funnel diversity down my hatch, I can appreciate the beauty of differences, of angles, of prisms,...
... but like most things in life, accepting diversity in its purest forms should be a choice, not a commandment.

Thanks for the caution flag as to the highways..... you weren't kidding...