Wednesday, January 31, 2007

 

The other crabs pull them down...

Over the summer, I taught a film about some impoverished families living in Mississippi. And I always taught what I read on the forum section of the IMDB (Internet movie database). When discussing the "Cinderella" of the film, a girl who desperately desired to get out, many viewers asked about her. Where was she? What was she doing?

Unsurprisingly, she was living about a mile away and had a couple kids. She was 18 and hadn't finished high school. Someone actually posted, "One crab tries to get out of the bucket and the rest pull him back down."

Victim blaming tendencies notwithstanding, the sense that the other crabs were responsible for Cinderella's predictable ending saddens me to no end.

Florida is reminding me of the crab story.

It's been weird here.

A silly choice to move, a gamble. Not paid off, and we're moving on. Northeasterners send job offers. With DP benefits or insured companies (as opposed to self-insured companies) in marriage or civil union states. Then send the hundred bucks or whatever it costs already married folks to get civil-unioned. By the way, how must THOSE test cases be coming, I mean, you can't deny gay couples the benefits of marriage, but aren't there a ton of gay married couples living there that don't want to get remarried or get whatever state peice of paper they're giving out these days?

I enjoy the swamp, but I get the creeping suspicion that no one understands a word I say. And not in an unedcated, "my oh my does she have a full set of hair" kind of way. Though I admit I'm fascinated by the local ambulance chasing lawyers' tv commercials..."we was in trouble. if it weren't for Axe Gary we was going to lose everything!"

It's more than that...though on some level grammar issues do hinder most conversations that I have, making me double take what a lot of people are saying. It's something more...some sort of Southern "problem that has no name." I say something. It misfires. Someone looks back at me with deer/headlights innocence. And usually responds with some remedial advice, a subtle suggestion that *I* am the moron in the room. The constant assertion that I'm the one with a problem is disconcerting, but especially scary when I think about what Mel must have felt like leaving her and showing up in the frou frou suburb of Chicago as a teenager where no doubt her way of dealing with people was taken as a sign of severe mental deficiency, much as I'm starting to see it in most people from around here.

Mel tells me that everyone in the medical industry and the school board and what not are just used to people having no idea what's going on. Therefore calls to confirm fax numbers often turn into, "Did you press the 'send' button?"

Discussions of meta-issues are personalized and the big picture missed: "At my work affirmative action means we get these people who can't do their jobs. Why do you vote for something with quotas and want me to not hire the best man for the job?" (a misunderstanding of the program as well as an attempt to gear the argument toward something that only they know anything about...like I give a crap about their company's problems).

I don't know to what extent this issue is regional, or classed. It's both, yet...not. How does it work?

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