Country Guy, City Life

The fact that I cannot occupy two places at once is a disappointing reality that I accept simply because it’s impossible. The next best alternative to my problem is relocating to face extensive travel times and gas prices.

So what problem would one be facing for these to be possible solutions? The problem is not knowing whether you prefer the peacefulness of rural living or the constant and ever-changing days of city life.

I grew up in inner city Atlanta. I went to school in downtown Atlanta. I attended Georgia State in downtown Atlanta. I am currently employed in downtown Atlanta. Atlanta is all I know; and I have loved every moment of it. I can honestly say that there is always something happening, there is always something going on, and there is never a dull moment. Is it a New York City? No, but the city is always buzzing. There is always something to be seen and someone to be heard. Something is always changing, so there is always something new to do. As the city grows, I never feel a need for more. No one I know, not even the most inquisitive and adventurous people have discovered all of Atlanta. No one has done all there is to do. No one has eaten at all the hot spots or relaxed at all the cool spots. Everywhere is within thirty minutes (max) of the next destination and each destination leads to another. The city is small in size, but is condensed with activities, changes and life. It never gets boring.

However, even though is does not get boring, it think it does get tired. There are instances when you need a break from it. For me, that is when I get thrown into a decision of which is better. I am originally from Phenix City, Alabama, where my mothers whole family (for the most part) still reside. My father is from the next town over — Seale, Alabama — where his parents still live. It is quiet and homely. Out-of-towners stick out like sore thumbs and when I have gone to the local grocer, I have been asked, “You must be a Richardson?” There are no strangers except the ones passing through vacationing in Florida. I love it. It’s quiet and quaint. To me, the quality of life now seems to have a direct correlation with the busyness around you and the amount of visible vegetation. The days are brighter and the nights are darker. The clouds are whiter and the stars are brighter. It is a relief every time I go, and every time I go, it gets harder and harder to come back to the city that I have loved my entire life.

After thinking about it for a while, I think I came up with the reason that the city life may be losing its grip on me. I think it is because of the slow but steady loss of culture that is spreading across Atlanta. I’m not saying that there is not a culture here, but it is a new culture that is replacing what the heritage and history of Atlanta. I came to this when I thought about this when I was  considering my favorite part of Atlanta; Historic West End, Cabbagetown, and Little Five Points/Grant Park areas. Even though these are popular areas, they all have historic and symbolic places to offer. These were hubs for Civil Rights movements, places of historic interest and when you are in either, there is a sense of history the rests there. There are stories behind certain buildings and sites that may not mean much to anywhere else, but to Atlanta, it means a great deal.

For example, a few months ago, Friendship Baptist Church and Mt. Vernon Baptist church were both bought by the city so that the land could be used for the building of the new Atlanta Stadium and future home of the Atlanta Falcons. Friendship Baptist Church is the oldest African-American church in Atlanta being organized in 1866. Morehouse and Spelman colleges were both started with some of their first classes being held in the basement of that church. That is the type of culture that I am talking about. Whether the city forced them to sell or they did on their own, the deal is done now. Cities attract money; money is capital; and in capitalism, everything has a price tag — even history. As different historical sites are lost amidst the city growing in entertainment and cosmopolitan attractions, more of the original feel of what Atlanta used to be is being lost.

The parts of me that enjoy naps on the porch surrounded by quiet greeneries grow more and more every time I think about where I intend to live out the rest of my life. The commutes do not seems as long. The loss of urban adventures do not seem that great. The beckonings of my family to move “closer to home” does not help either. Lord knows I love the country life and everything about it, but I never thought it could compete with living in Atlanta.

Welcome to Social Media!

My time of living outside of the virtual world has come to an end. It was a slow transition, but I was still astounded when the realization completely set in. It was the means by which it happened though. I knew it was coming; I just had not anticipated how it was coming. I am having to learn to use and incorporate social media in my day-to-day living.

Background

I am a reader/writer. I like my books with paper, not on screens. I prefer to buy them from stores, not online. My DVDs are on a shelf, not in a cloud. I will admit to purchasing most of my music from iTunes, but that is because I am not much of a music person. I usually text, but that’s because I like to speak on the phone alone and not in grocery stores or riding with friends or among any other people all together. I feel that the person in my physical presence takes precedence over a line of communication happening via a tech device (this is generally; there are exceptions). I usually hold on to conversational topics if I know I’m going to see a person, rather than call or text them at that moment. I am highly inquisitive and have to get to the bottom of any questions that gives the slightest tug at my curiosity. I drive to random places to witness random things. If an interesting story breaks the local news, I’m going to see. I’ll make a purchase on one solid word-of-mouth over five consumer reviews. I will take GPS getting somewhere, but I usually get lost on the way back. I enjoy legwork.

So when I started blogging a month ago, I felt as though I had finally found a social media platform for me. I discovered WordPress was offering writers a place to meet, greet and share all types of writings; some who are very well known; like my favorite, Writemeg! and a lot of beginners, like myself. I should have started years ago, but because of my old-school way of thinking, I just kept putting it off to the side.

The writing has definitely put me on tiny quests throughout my beautiful city of Atlanta, finding and meeting people that I never would have otherwise; and I’m loving it! However, this is when I realized that the means of sharing and spreading your writing has to expand outside of WordPress. You have to have some means of getting readers to your blog. So I reluctantly created a Twitter account. After a coupe days, it started to pay off, a few visitors here and a couple views there. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” So I stuck with it.

One Saturday morning, I was walking through Cabbagetown, a quaint liberal neighborhood network hidden within East Atlanta, and covered in graffiti. There I met @laurenpallotta, @joekingatl, and @stephenstumberg88. I was surprised and excited to actually meet the artists in the beginning stages of their work. They welcomed questions, suggested ideas, and were very very cool laid back people. (I guess that’s to be expected from graffiti artists, but I hadn’t ever met any. As far as I was concerned, you go to sleep and wake up to a painted city while the everyone tries to figure out when the did the Paint Fairies come.) Anyway, things got real when we started to trade contact information. “What’s the name of your blog?” Stephen asked. I told him and asked if I could follow any of them on Twitter and keep up with the progression of their work having seen it in its infancy.

“TWITTER?!? Welcome to 2014! INSTAGRAM, SUCKA!!!”

It actually happened nothing like that, but that’s how I heard it. They all gave me their Instagram names. I had only just created one the night before, not knowing I would be confronted with it in a little less that eight hours.

I have come to the place where I see that in networking, social media has become just as important as legwork and face-to-face interaction. I mean, this may sound ridiculous coming from a city dweller in his mid-twenties who has spent the last nine years working in IT, but I didn’t know it applied all over. I thought Skype has replaced a small percentage of business meetings… But that’s about it.

The fact of the matter is that I just had not found a good enough reason to connect through the social media world. Now that I have, I look forward to using my computer for things besides working and gaming. I can tweet and follow and share now. I know how to do it from my previous Facebook usage; which is basically the other internet. Everyone uses Facebook. I just have to learn what is post worthy, make sure it’s relevant to my topics and all of that good stuff. I’ll iron out those details as I continue learning how to cope with integrating with the modern world.