Wednesday, September 26, 2007

"A Love Song for NPR", Or: A Dedication for Delilah

One drawback to living in this very small town I quickly noticed, is that I only receive one television channel and one radio station. The radio station is an easy listening station from Jackson (about 20 miles north). I don't even get the local university station on my radio! Just 107.7 Star FM. It seems like no matter where I move the dial, 107.7 is the only station coming through. 107.7 streams "Delilah" every night, so consequently, she's everywhere coming out of every bandwidth at once! I have never listened to so much Delilah in my life. I realize that many people like Delilah and what she represents on-air. Many people call her and write in with the details of their worst heartbreak, or their happiest moments. How their mothers handled single-parenthood or how their rehab is finally going to stick because they found the Mr. Right or Miss Right that will help them through.

Tonight, I have a dedication for Delilah. (Maybe all this listening is making me a softer person.)

Dear Delilah~Four weeks ago, I moved from Washington, DC to a small town in West Tennessee. Tonight, as I flip stations vainly hoping to find something more my style, it is your voice I hear coming at me on a rainy, lonely night. I turn the dial, listening to your voice fading and rebounding, encouraging people, laughing with them, playing music you think will help them capitalize on the mood they're in. One minute you're laughing, one minute your whispering, and then the next minute...wait...just's. Can it be? Is it? NPR is coming through loud and clear on 90.1, WKNP Jackson? Hell's bells, it is. Finally, finally, I have found my way back through the Interior to the Outer World. I can now wake up to the news of GM and UAW reaching the unthinkable compromise. Of monks burning themselves in the streets of Burma to protest the military junta. To the President vowing to veto a health-insurance-for-children initiative. It fires me up for my day, reminds me that important global and national happenings are out there and making an impact on my life. And at night, I can be soothed to sleep with the sweet strains of "Music through the Night." So, Delilah, I'd like for you play a song for that. A song that capitalizes on my mood--one of relief that I do indeed have options for radio entertainment. I'd like you to play a song for a girl who is a big city girl at heart, trying to be happy with small town life. But if it's by Celine Dion, Nick Lachey, Martina McBride, or Shania Twain, I just don't know if you and I can be friends anymore. I'll try, but I don't know.

Goodnight, Delilah. Goodnight.

Friday, September 21, 2007


Before I get much farther, maybe I should define what I mean by Interior and Exterior so that I have set the standard against which I can be judged.

After the last presidential election, I sat down and cried. My friends, with whom I had been watching the evening's coverage, had created a drinking game to help ease their pain. (It's a similar game to the State of the Union drinking game: . Disclaimer: Drink responsibly as your conscience dictates.) Since each red state represented two shots, by the end of the night the sorrow in the room had reached literary proportions. Cries of "Oh, the humanity" were quickly replaced by howls of "Oh, the Interior." Once everyone had recovered from their respective sorrow or alcohol, we were all of a mind that the interior of the country had sold us out. (Note: at the time, I did not live in W.Tenn.)

This was my first try at assigning geographical boundaries to the differences I perceived. Things are different once you move away from the coast--Atlantic or Pacific. Cultural diversity, a broader world-view, simply an awareness of other things beyond your own immediate geography seemed to prevail on the perimeter of things. Maybe it's environmental influence--the meeting of land and water. Maybe it's the sense of expansion that comes with "where could I go from here". If I was in DC, I could go to Baltimore, Boston, Charleston, France, or any points West. From West Tennessee, I could go a long way before I emerged from the Interior.

Characteristics of the Interior: continuity; tradition; lacksidaisical attention to politics, global OR national affairs; gas-guzzlers; disdainful of people who follow a diet that isn't a meat & three; loud where I don't like loud and quiet where I am not quiet; limited resources; limited influence on the rest of society; not interested in the rest of society; essentially segregated; provincial; lacking in cultural opportunities; less accepting of alternative lifestyles. You see where this is going.

So in making the decision to move back to TN, I had to grapple with what this means. By moving back, am I going to be the girl at whom everyone will roll their eyes when I start talking politics? Am I going to get the Stone Dead Conversation Killer (great phrase from my friend Emily) face because I order a salad at the local greasy spoon? Will people feel the need to pray for my soul when I don't vote Republican? It's what happened when I moved back to TN from the Exterior. Why wouldn't it happen again? And selfishly, am I going to meet Mr. Almost-Right-Except-for-the-Addiction-to-NASCAR-And-Mirror-Sunglasses-And-Gun-Rack-On-His-Ford F150, or am I going to meet Mr. Right?

Three weeks into the move and it has not turned out as frightening as anticipated. (Except for the banking error.) I've noticed some interesting (to me) differences between this move back to the Interior and the last one.

This is very long--Exterior for another time. Thanks to Newscoma, Emily, Holly, and others for the kind welcome into the blogosphere.

Currently listening to Heartbreaker by Ryan Adams.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

On the Road Again

Okay, so having committed a banking error, somewhat along the same lines as my dear Emily, my day is bad. September 11 has a way of being bad everytime it has rolled around since 2001. "Let's roll right on over to September 12," is always my first thought on this auspicious day. But back to the banking error. For many of us, this problem would be solved by simply stopping by the nearest branch and depositing more funds, or claiming our online banking privileges and transferring some funds around. Since I live in the really-Interior, a few more steps are involved.

For me, it involves leaving work early (in a library where the love of my life is looking intense as he studies away, accumulating facts to impress me with), getting a steaming cup of coffee, going home to pick up the last paycheck from my old job, grabbing my CD case, filling up the gas tank and heading on down the road to Memphis and actually depositing funds into the night depository, making a u-turn on Highway 64, and then driving right back here. A round trip total of 3 hours, and that doesn't include bathroom breaks (small bladder and all). You see, I bank with a national--nay, an international--financial institution that I could access from Zimbabwe, but not West Tennessee. (My other option was Nashville, but that makes the trip 5 hours. Seriously.)

Some luxuries of Exterior living I can do without, but not this one. NOT this one. Surely in the internet age, I can rely on deposits and withdrawals to go through as scheduled. Surely I can rely on the direct deposit to do its thing. But when things go wrong...well, then I have to leave work early (away from Beautiful Dream Boy), get a cup of coffee, go home to grab the funds, grab the CD case, fill up the gas tank, head on down the road to Memphis, deposit funds in the night depository, make a u-turn on Hwy 64, and drive home again.

I want to go home.

Currently NOT listening to Happy Woman Blues.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Hello and how are you?

Welcome to the most self-conscious attempt at blogging life in the Interior. Ahhh...the Interior. Land of Parched Corn, as my dear friend at For Lack of a Better Word would say. These are the musings of a native Interion who moved from the mid-Interior to the really-Interior to the Exterior, back to the mid-Interior, back to the Exterior. And finally, yup, back to the Interior.

What is the Interior? What is the Exterior? Despite 28 years of living and experiencing life on many levels and in many places...I find that these two terms are beginning to define my attitude, my perspective on life, and sadly my future and opinion of other people. My life, like my blog, is a rough draft of something more significant.

I put American into the title because I've been reading Hector DeCrevecoeur's "Letters from an American Farmer" recently. I'm a dork. And since I've not lived in any other Interior, you see it is fitting. Or, please don't think I claimed "American" gratuitously like a bad Dave Matthews song.

A vegetarian, non-Republican, architecture-loving history geek in a state of limbo...that's me and I'm trying to find my way to something more significant.

Currently listening to Happy Woman Blues by Lucinda Williams