Sunday, February 13, 2011

Of Friends Old, New and Forgotten

I mentioned in last week's blog about my new tribe for friends here in the ATL. Apparently some of my comments were misconstrued by one of my oldest and closest friends back home in North Carolina. So, I want to clarify things about friendships both current and past. Being 39 years old and having lived in NC and GA (twice now), I've had opportunity to meet and make friends with lots of folks. Some are forgotten (like old friends from high school whom I haven't heard from in two decades) or even some from college. Life moves on, and when someone is no longer directly inside one's sphere of influence, it makes it difficult to remain friends unfortunately. One of the hard things about uprooting myself and moving to Atlanta was leaving not only family and my fiancee, but my friends as well. I tend to choose friends carefully (just look up Scorpio in any online zodiac guide and you'll see that we tend to be like that), but once I've befriended someone, I tend to be very loyal to them. Life in Fayetteville was such that even my closest friends and I were rarely able to get together. There's just something about that town that does that; that sucks life right out of people, not to mention it's over-priced cost of living versus the job market there making it hard for anyone to afford to do much more than work-eat-sleep. The friends I've made here in Atlanta have become like soul-mates. In only five months time we've become close; we hang out together usually once a week, or at least call/text just to say hello. That fact doesn't mean that I'm closer, per se, to my Atlanta friends than my North Carolina friends. It's just something about the Metro-Atlanta area that seems to facilitate being able to spend more time with friends than I was able to in Fayetteville, NC. If I could somehow move everyone important to me from back home to Atlanta, I most assuredly would, for then I'd be able to spend time with all of them (not to mention rescue my NC friends from the life-sucking cesspool that is Fayetteville, NC).

Now, no doubt someone from Fayetteville, NC will become offended that I've called that town (yes town, not city no matter what it's “City” Council thinks) a “life-sucking cesspool.” Well, it is. I've left there twice, and returned once. I do not wish to return a second time. Other than the fact that I never would have met the love of my life, and the aforementioned friends I have there (including the one who is now currently my roommate in Atlanta), the biggest mistake I ever made was moving back there in 2000 from when I lived in Athens, GA. Fayetteville offers nothing in terms of career choices, unless one wishes to slough away in minimum wage retail and restaurant jobs the rest of their lives. My beloved has an MBA and has still had no luck finding anything in Fayetteville outside of the crappy non-profit organizations that don't even come close to paying someone with a Masters Degree what they should be making. Even my buddy Andrew, who is a school teacher, is trying to get out of that burg because NC has the worst teacher salary in the entire nation! So before you go getting upset that I ragging on Fayetteville, consider this – the apartment I'm going to be moving into here in Atlanta in a few weeks goes for $650 per month for two bedrooms and two bathrooms; that same apartment in Fayetteville, NC would either be a really bad neighborhood, or cost $100-200 more per month. With the exception of the place I work now (which hopefully won't be much longer), the average employer in Atlanta (including retail) probably pays $8-9 per hour starting out instead of maybe $7.50-8 per hour like in Fayetteville. So, here the income to cost of living ratio is much more favorable than back home. All that being said, where would you rather live? Somewhere where you not only had a decent income and reasonably priced housing plus lots of places to go do things in your free time? Or, somewhere where the apartments are horribly over-priced for the average income level of the populace and where you can't really tell where the ghetto ends and the “nice” neighborhoods begin? I'll take “Places I Can Live Instead of Withering Away and Dieing” for $1000, Alex!

I miss my friends. I miss my family. I most assuredly miss my fiancee. But I absolutely don't miss Fayetteville, NC... not even a little bit.

~ JC
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