A Mind That Suits What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

Monday, April 12, 2004 :::
Another week in Wilmington, NC, is drawing to a close, and what a pleasant concantenation of vacation and weather it has been. The first azaleas were poking out just as A Mind That Suits got off the plane, and the dogwoods were quietly colluding. Within two days, the entire region saw an explosion of shrubs in every shade of red, purple, rust, and white covered in a canpoy of white-flowered trees. And the weather hovered at that fleeting state between windy cold and suffocating humidity that constitutes the brief spring down South.

A Mind That Suits found himself very busy this Easter, as he attends all the Liturgies he can during Holy Week. His persistent presence at the largest local parish resulted in his being recruited to run the lights for the Easter Vigil. Having once been a song leader at a church, and recognizing desperation when he sees it, he briefly hesitated but assented, and actually had fun on top of being blessed.

Young friend Brandon (see several posts down) decided to take a break from procrastinating on his homework to grab a beer with his college teacher friend. Said friend Brandon reminds a certain English teacher of himself at 24 (especially the procrastinating part). It turns out he loves to take very long walks downtown at night, as, indeed, A Mind That Suits still does. Indeed, A Mind That Suits does just that for half of nearly every night he spends in wonderful Italy, where they even have a word for it, passagiata. (Roughly translated as "time spent walking.")

Undergrads, of course, take relaxing walks at 12:30 in the morning, which is what friend Brandon proposed to do, and which is what he and the college teacher did. Wilmington is blessed with a gorgeous historic district that rivals the best residential areas of the most beautiful city in America, which is Washington, DC. Friend Brandon loves Wilmington and, having taken many such walks, was a very informative guide as well as being a most companionable one. There is something about the South that makes A Mind That Suits feel at home (probably because that is where he is from) and so it proved a perfectly wonderful way to spend the wee hours. A few blocks over, other undergrads--a fat lot of them, actually--were swarming the streets outside the multitudinous nightclubs of Wilmington, which is one very fun small town. A Mind That Suits packed it in at 1:00, leaving young friend Brandon to whatever else can occupy a young man's time. He went home, it turned out, but not to bed, and so it was hardly surprising to find out next morning at the coffee house that he had reported to work with only two hours' sleep. Ah, youth.

Wilmington itself continues to boom; it is utterly remarkable. What is even more remarkable is that there seem to be no businesses here that can sustain such wealth. Nobody seems to know what anybody does. Although it is the third largest film production center in the US, the film sector is quite small and suffering from "runaway production," mainly to Canada. The loss of Dawson's Creek alone threatened serious damage to the film economy. That prompted the city to bend over backwards to land Dawson's replacement, another teen drama called One Tree Hill. It looked like a winner, and has so proven to be, so everyone breathed a sigh of relief.

But few of the rich people one runs into in the restaurants and bars are in the film business, and quite often it turns out their businesses are elsewhere. So the city is full of service jobs, and while studies have shown that those are not deadend jobs, it is nonetheless true that Wilmington displays clearly the growing gap in wages and social status that marks our economy. Many of those restaurants have prices that are justified solely by the willingness of the super-rich to have restaurants they can call their own. The wage gap is real, and the attendant social stratification cannot be good.

Tomorrow brings a return to DC and normal life, and more blogging from the nation's capital.

Until then...

::: posted by A Mind That Suits at 10:34 AM



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What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

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