Posted by: emjb | November 26, 2006

New leaf

leafs.jpg

Starting my new job tomorrow. I bought some grownup work clothes this weekend which I will get to break in, and I’ll have to get up at 6 (ouch) to make the commute. And that’s all ok. I’m ready. I’m just hoping I won’t have to feel too stupid at first, until I know what’s actually going on.

I’ve been thinking a lot about where I am and where I’m liable to be in a few years. I’ve never been at all sure I could stay in Texas forever, even though I hate to be too far from family. And it’s not that I don’t think Texas has beauty and culture–despite all the gay-hating and racism and bungling of educational funding, it does.

Over at Pandagon, Amanda started an interesting discussion about the “creative class”, where they live and where they move. I guess Matt and I count in that; we do creative things and sometimes make money for them. And we think art is important (though we don’t define it the way most people are taught to in school).

New York was not a home for us for very long, and that was supposed to be the place for people like us. But it’s too crowded, too cold, too insular, and too far away from the other things that turned out to matter to us, like big skies and a slower pace. Still, it’s been the only creative game in town for a long time. So when we had to come back here, I was doubtful that we wouldn’t regret it. That we wouldn’t feel stifled and need to move again–to Portland, to England, to somewhere else (I think even New Zealand came up once or twice).

But things aren’t the same as they were four years ago. We’ve started meeting other progressive parenting types, who’ve moved here from elsewhere, who don’t want to give up their ideals for themselves and their families. The influx of Katrina refugees* has had an impact on Dallas that hasn’t been sorted out yet, but an awful lot of Democrats got elected there this year.

Other progressive ideas about the environment have gained some traction. Well, people can see the gridlock and haze for themselves after all. Some local small farmers have capitalized on the subsidy-subscription model, where suburbanites agree to pay for a box of organic produce once a month, which is still a lot cheaper than Whole Foods.

None of this is very evident, but having been away, I can definitely *feel* a difference and shift taking place. Repubs keep a stranglehold on the govt. and they’ll take some dislodging, but some Texans are rubbing their eyes, looking around, and wondering if “God, guns and gays” is really all that their government should be concerned with.

I didn’t expect to find this job in this place, so I don’t know if it’s a fluke or a trend. I’m hoping there’s some change in the air, because honestly, I don’t want to have to move to New Zealand.

*I’ve met a few of them, and can definitely say N.O’s loss has been Texas’ gain; they bring a little touch of N.O.’s love of culture with them, which Lord knows we could use.

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