Thursday, August 5, 2010

Southern Comfort

One comes to a small city in the South working in one of the great companies in the world. But the multinational flavor is misleading. After all it’s a small city, in a laid back state, one without even a football or basketball team to represent itself in the national leagues. But it has its charm though, the lazy slow movement of life that is the epitome of the South. One does have visions of languid afternoons, sipping mint tea, watching the rolling country side where plantations once thrived on the backs of African labor. There are traces of the darkness that brought about a civil war and countless deaths. Strangely, it also resulted in strengthening the union of the greatest realm in the last century.

One works quietly in his cube, blending in with the good old boys, eating barbecue ribs and pulled pork at lunch time. One thinks that he is at the center of the world with the living standards way up in the sky when compared to most Asian cities. But the future is already mortgaged and most folks are in dire financial trouble. The leviathan is no longer what he seems, trying to live with the same bluster and bravado as in the past. Meanwhile the colossus in the East is steadily rising to the throne it once had many centuries ago. But one does not notice its decline amidst the lazy splendor of grand Southern homes with their air conditioning, carpet, dish washers, washing machines and dryers.

The politicians and talking heads keep their mouths open yapping away like wolves, aware of the malaise gripping the nation. Everyone is corrupted with the easy life, alcohol, food, movies and television getting obese with fast food and snacks and living in the couch. But the mind is a strange thing and the level of intelligence is high (i.e. Prozac for depression, Viagra for sex, etc.) despite the delusions and bias and fuzzy thinking. One guesses that it is due to the DNA of their ancestors – hard living pioneers in a rich land, fighting Indians and decimating the pristine countryside.  Today’s pioneers thrive in cyberspace and the whole industrial complex that support this structure. One guesses that it keeps them ahead in the world. Of course, there is the great military and as Southern folks say ‘one can never argue with a man with a shotgun.’

But one is happy and it’s a good life amongst the former confederates, listening to the charming Southern drawl in their accents. Nowadays the hallways are filled with young and smart Indian software engineers while the commercial places with Latinos and their Hispanic speaking Espanol. Many would say the future lies in the melting pot of cultures and ideas but some folks with dark ideas start to believe in exclusivity and elitism and racial supremacy in the twilight of their decline. Soon these folks will be the minority and the diversity seen in the new president will mark the DNA of the future. No more pure blood but the mix of various streams from the East and West, North and South. Well, one could drink to that vision, too.

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