Sunday, January 02, 2005

A New Year, a long walk and some Latin

So, here we are in 2005. Hopefully it will treat us all less like a dog and more like a man (that is the unisex use of man, as in human) — although sometimes I wonder if the dog has the better deal anyhow. I brought the New Year in with a pleasant haze of chemical stimulation. Most of the evening was spent sitting around a couple of apartments, one of them mine, drinking wine, listening to music and talking with a few friends. Of course the evening started and finished downstairs at the Victorian's Midnight Café, after all where else could my last drinking night of 2004 (or maybe that should be my first drinking night of 2005) take place than the one where I've drunk the most, made the most friends and had the most fun in 2004. All in all it was a pretty good night, it had all those necessary

When I eventually got to sleep in the early hours of the morning, I dreamt that I was still downstairs talking to people. Nothing particularly remarkable happened in the dream, it was just people having a good time and enjoying each others conversation. But now I'm very confused, as I don't know which half remembered conversations come from the alcohol induced fuzziness of the end of the evening and which ones are from the fuzzy dream. I don't think that I did anything particularly controversial or contentious either in real life or in the dream, so it probably doesn't matter. But it would be nice to know.

For most of the last week I've had my first house guest staying with me here in Columbus (he had to bring his own mattress and bedding, as my hospitality does not extend that far just yet). One of my old office mates came down to see me, well I imagine he came more to return some DVDs and get out of State College for a while, but you get the point. It's always nice to catch up with an old friend, particularly as I am so bloody useless at emailing people that I only find out what is going on when they email me. Anyway, we had a few good days of doing not very much and hanging out at the bar in the evening. In fact it's been a pretty good week.

What I didn't do very much of while he was here was to walk anywhere, and pathetically enough I missed the walking. So, just after he left yesterday morning I put on my coat and my headphones, and headed out into Columbus. I didn't really have a destination in mind as such, I just started walking. After a little while, I realised I was quite close to where the main downtown library was, so I thought I'd go and have a look at it. Obviously being as it was New Year's day I figured the library would be closed, but I thought it would be interesting to see what it looks like. For the record, it looks quite nice.

After seeing the library I thought I'd wonder along East Main Street until I got to the Drexel cinema. The walk was certainly an eye opening experience, as I got to see a part of Columbus that I haven't really seen before. That is one of the more excessively poor and destitute parts of Columbus. All of sudden I was walking along the street and I started noticing that there were lots of boarded up houses around me, and then I started noticing that I was the only white face I'd seen for a couple of miles — except for the guy in the cowboy hat on a billboard advertising the local country music station (I'm not sure if that is the most optimally placed billboard in Columbus, or maybe I'm just very much mistaken about the demographic that listens to country music stations). The only thing that seemed to be thriving in this area of town, Olde Towne East I believe, were shitty looking rundown churches. Why is it that in the part of town that the all-loving Christian God seems to have forgotten the most, he has the most houses dedicated to his worship? If I have a god that I believe in, and I'm not sure I do, I like to think he'd be the kind of god that didn't prey so much on the hopes of the weakest sections of society.

After trudging through mile after mile of destitution I walked under a railway bridge, there's always has to be a wrong side of the tracks I guess, and into a very nice, very upper class, very expensive neighbourhood. There was no gradual change, there was just a sharp line separating the haves from the have nots. It wasn't an organic and natural change like you get in most older (centuries older) cities, it was cold and harsh and almost clinical. It felt very strange. Of course the film I wanted to see, A Very Long Engagement, started too late for the me to catch the last bus home, and one long walk a day is enough for me. So, I just got a cup of coffee and caught the number 2 bus home.

I was asked on New Year's eve if I'd made any resolutions, and I realised that I hadn't. So now that I've had a chance to think about for a while here are some of my resolutions: be nicer to my body (either through better food, more exercise or some other way), do more work (should be a fairly easy one to achieve), like myself more (and no I don't mean masturbate more) and carpe a few more diems (in many areas of my life, but really in one in particular).


Anonymous said...

Why is it that in the part of town that the all-loving Christian God seems to have forgotten the most, he has the most houses dedicated to his worship?I don't think I know anything about the relative propensity for church-going amongst the rich and poor, but suspect that it's partly to do with the fact that poor, run-down neighbourhoods tend to be older, and have local churches, whereas wealthy suburbanites will happily drive for an hour to get to the church of their choice. Add in a sprinkling of "ethnic groups tend to set up a branch of their own particular variety of church" and a smidge of "Africa and South America tend to be more religious than the decadent West", and you might get somewhere near the mark.

Or I could just be talking nonsense.

Ryan said...

I agree with some of your points, but I'm not sure they add up the total answer. It's certainly true that the older neighbourhoods have more churches, like the one I live in, Victorian Village, has 6-7 churches within a couple of blocks of my place. And when you have different ethnic groups all mixed together, they tend to want to have their own churches, so that can add to the mix a bit.

However, what struck me about the churches I walked past on Saturday was that they were all, more or less, the same place. They'd take a disused shop, or warehouse, or whatever and turn it in to some evangelical or baptist church. There were also a few of the older, grander, more church looking churches, but it was just the sheer number of these 'new' or converted churches which was surprising, to me at least. In places you'd get 3 or 4 of them on a block, normally across the street from one of the older churches. And it was only the churches and the occasional cigarettes and alcohol store, that seemed to be still in business.

All in all not the most inspiring of neighbourhoods to live in, unless, of course, you wanted to be a cigarette selling preacher.