So, how did a California boy – a Bay Area boy – end up in suburban Atlanta? It wasn’t part of my master plan, I’ll tell you that.
So there I was, minding my own business, living in San Jose and working as a newspaper editor when my ex-wife says she’s moving to Georgia for career advancement and she is taking the kids, who were almost 5 at the time. This left me with two choices: Stay in California, where my friends and family are, and see the kids when I can, which would be two, three, four times a year; or pack up and move to Georgia, too.
I didn’t want to be that far away from the kids. The choice was fairly easy, actually.
Now that I’ve been living in Georgia for nearly four years, I’ve gotten acclimated to my changes in latitude (and longitude). But my attitude– which was galvanized by spending some 12 years living in San Francisco – hasn’t changed. Which makes day-to-day living in conservative suburban Gwinnett County interesting, to say the least.
It’s not like everyone who lives here is determined to keep Georgia a red state; there are many, many progressive-thinking people living here, and I have many several. But the predominate point of view around here is that George W. Bush did nothing wrong, and by golly, wouldn’t it be great if Newt Gingrich would run for president in 2012?
Politics isn’t the only difference between the people who live in city of Lawrenceville (population 22,397 and the county seat; 30 miles to downtown Atlanta, where I work) and the people in the Bay Area. These little cities are only cities because of all the housing that sprouted up over the last 10 years to accommodate the jobs growth in Atlanta proper. The attitude of the local folks is generally the same as it was when the cities were towns and the populations could be counted with four digits: Small town, very religious, not very open to change. Well, yes, they have upgraded their residences (3,000-square-foot houses could be had for less than $250,000 here, even before the housing bubble burst).
I am often finding things that pass for normal in Northern Georgia that makes me stop and scratch my head. I’ll chew on it for a while, trying to figure out if it is normal and if I’m the one who is off base. And then I’ll share it with you.