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I Voted For Sunshade

Saturday, May 03, 2008 by Michael Reynolds

We voted today at the downtown Durham one-stop early voting center, Katherine, me and the kids. Two hours in the sun. Two hours, for the early voting. People think McCain has a chance? Sorry, no. Democrats were standing in line for hours before election day.

I voted for Barack. And for Jim Neal for whatever the hell he's running for. I'm gonna say US Senate. I've already explained why I support Barack. But my support for Jim Neal was a last minute thing. I don't really care much about state and local politics -- I have one foot out the door. But I am bald. And it was very bright. And of all the politicians whose flyers and handouts I accepted while standing in line for two hours, only Jim Neal's handout was large enough for me to use to shield my giant melon head from the sun.

That's right: I voted for Jim Neal because he provided an effective sunblock. It may be the first time any politician has done anything really useful for me.

Barackis were the ones handing out bottled water. Also bags of peanuts with the Southwest Airlines. My son's mordant comment, "I guess we're voting for Southwest."

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I Don't Hate It

Wednesday, April 30, 2008 by Michael Reynolds

Southpoint Mall. Technically not Chapel Hill.

I’m not leaving in a huff. Just leaving. Chapel Hill was good to us.

Life is easy here. That’s part of the reason we’re leaving. It was too easy. Easy like sinking into quicksand. There was nothing challenging about Chapel Hill. It presented no difficulties. The housing is reasonable, the weather is mostly good, the people are smart, civil, moderate overall. It’s easy to get in to see a doctor or dentist or hairdresser. (That last no longer being a concern of mine.) There’s almost no traffic. There are good public schools and better private schools for the kids. There’s a good mall, a wide array of boring but usable kid-compatible restaurants, and the occasional dash of haute cuisine. There are more coffee shops than even I require.

This place was good to us. It left us alone, didn’t get in our face, didn’t irritate us. It did bore us. But that’s not Chapel Hill’s fault, Chapel Hill never pretended to be New York or Paris. It’s just a little college town in North Carolina. It never claimed to be sexy.

We might come back, a thought that gives us both the willies. Of all the places we’ve lived together, we’ve almost never repeated. We did repeats on Ocean City, I think that was it. Two tours in OC. Every other place — Austin, Annapolis, Alexandria, Orlando, Cape Cod, Richmond, Portland, Sarasota, Johnson City (WTF?), Minneapolis, Chicago — we’ve never moved back. But the ease of life in Chapel Hill might seduce us again, some day, when we’re tired, broke and out of ideas.

Or not.

But either way: Chapel Hill was alright. No hard feelings.

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Monday, April 28, 2008 by Michael Reynolds

So the house is mostly empty and on Thursday it'll be all the way empty and we'll be in one hotel or another for the next ten days. Hotel here, hotel in Richmond, hotel in Frankfurt, and hotel in Florence.

I have hauled probably 12 SUV loads of crap to the dump. We've crammed a 10 by 15 foot storage locker. And we've donated enough stuff to Habitat for Humanity, the library and the PTA thrift shop to trigger an audit: books by the crate, bags and bags of clothing, chairs, stuff. Stuff.

So. Much. Stuff.

And you know what? Life is not really any different. Except I miss the couch and sometimes find I have to lie down on my back on the cold living room floor. But aside from that, the difference in the way we live our lives is so minor as to be nearly invisible. I've just subtracted 75% of everything I own, and it's had almost no effect on my life. Put another way, the net enjoyment value of 75% of my stuff is only slightly greater than zero.

It makes me wish I had all the money I spent on that stuff back. And I'd like it back in euros.

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