The farewell tour continues: “Ilmatyynyalukseni on täynnä ankeriaita,” from March 20, 2010.

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As NA Confidential prepares to ride off into the sunset, I’ll be reposting selected bits from the past. This one’s from the spring of 2010. Already I was starting to “know” better, but my daddy raised me stubborn. Too bad for me.  

Ilmatyynyalukseni on täynnä ankeriaita.

Excuse the title. I’ve been looking for an excuse to use obscure linguistics in a title. Basque was my first choice … but …

I can appreciate where you’re coming from. Both of you.

You’ve landed here only recently, and in the course of surveying the landscape, there have been judgments based on first impressions. Some of these will survive scrutiny, others not. That’s the classic, enduring beauty of the learning curve.

I’ve lived here in Floyd County my whole life, and have always had a mailing address within ten or so miles of City-County Building, but because my residency in the city of New Albany only began in 1993, I’m considered an outsider by many (mostly older, mostly bitter) New Albanians. Consequently, I know what it’s like to arrive here and be childishly derided for not being FROM here.

The ones who never accomplished anything will always resent you for your talent, your skill, and most of all, your mobility. If they perceive you being of temporary assistance to them in their goals of universal doltery and egalitarian misery, they’ll lionize you until you think for yourself. Then it will be over, and you’ll feel predictably dirty the next morning.

It’s frustrating, but ultimately, it’s their loss. They can do nothing to improve the planet. You can. The question is: Who wins?

Doers … or delusionals?

My involvement with the eternal morass of New Albanian politics dates back about six years. Before that, I was busy with the original pub and brewery on the north side. When I remarried, we bought a house on Spring Street, and began absorbing contemporary ways of thinking and planning as they pertain to historic urban cores. All I could see was an underutilized, savaged doughnut hole. I had to learn why it had happened, and how best to rectify it.

In the beginning, I looked around and thought I understood the lay of the land. I spoke out accordingly. As I met people who were outside my comfort zone of the Grant Line pub, and who had put much more thought into matters like this than I had, it began to occur to me that my initial snap judgments were utterly and embarrassingly mistaken. Much had been misread on my part, which is understandable given my inexperience.

Too bad I spouted before I grokked, but so it goes. You live, and you learn.

In New Albany, for better or worse, the more one learns, the murkier it gets, and the more affairs become resistant to glib, simple answers of the sort that satisfy the populist in all of us. We want these sort of answers, and badly. It’s easier to believe them and to range outside self-imposed cultural boxes. Unfortunately, they’re seldom true.

Obfuscation, self-destructiveness and perhaps plain ol’ simple insanity are parts of everyday life here, maybe more so than most suspect. So it is that sometimes, you get off on the wrong foot and miss things. It’s difficult to see what’s progressive, and what isn’t. Some times, one must shrug and accept the daily torrential abuse for what it is: Fear, and loathing, and on occasion, chemical imbalance.

In the end, it comes down to this: If you’re smart enough to know better, you’re obliged to … know better. 

To know. 
That’s the key word. In a city that by and large hates knowledge, hates achievement, and hates itself, knowing is the only conceivable coping mechanism.

The dark side in NA? It’s not the place to be. Trust me. The capable mustn’t be divided by pettiness and intemperance, because there are too damned few of us.

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