Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Back In My Nordic Home

It took eleven hours from the door of my brother's new house in one of Dallas's fanciest neighborhoods to get back to the door of our house in one of the least fancy towns in Vermont. The many pieces of the journey went smoothly and I am grateful for that. The snow is back, all through the northeast, so I am glad I got my travelling done on Sunday. I flew in and out of Montreal, which is about an hour and half from here. Things up there are looking great. Dallas was interesting but Montreal is "my" city, where I spent most of my 20s. We have bonded. Having imprinted on Montreal I don't know that I can ever form a deep feeling for any other. I have a general antipathy to the suburbs, but I'll admit I was beguiled by my brother's neighborhood. It helps that it is close to the core of Dallas.

Interesting to journey through America. Looking out of the window of the plane on my way into Dallas last Tuesday night, and seeing the miles and miles of lights, I was impressed by the power of capital to get things done. A hundred years ago there was nothing down there. Now there is a civilzation unique in world history: one which a humble, poorly compensated state employee (I am a deputy State's attorney here) can gaze down upon from 30,000 feet from the comfort of a jet plane and it's all just la vie quotidien. Amazing.

Also amazing, and somehow depressing, is the fact that my search for some small gifts for my kids took me to the Barnes & Nobel in my brother's neighborhood and to Costco. Both places I can shop at in Burlington or any other place I am likely to go. Part and parcel of the power of our economy is this general sameness in the crap we can buy. Regional differences definitely survive, however, if not in consumables in the general approach to life. I was impressed by the thin, made-up blonde woman who was talking on the cell phone at the ladies room at Home Depo Expo in North Dallas (not a type we see much up here). She was winding up her conversation on the phone and yelled to her little girl in the stall, impatiently, "Are y'all done in there?" Love it.