Friday, March 17, 2023

Dixie Daze...

 "Let me embrace thee, sour adversity, for wise men say it is the wisest course..." -- William Shakespeare

I write this in a dour mood. The Overlord is displeased and looking to Forcechoke some convenient flunky.

I think I have made two massive mistakes in coming to North Carolina, a place that I reckon God put all of his leftover parts into in something of an afterthought, before finally succumbing to futility and screaming "oh, fuck it!", leaving it half-assed and lopsided.

I want to make the following clear:

The place is fine. Raleigh and Durham suck ass, lacking the charm of Charlotte, but otherwise I cannot complain so much about the location.

Nor can I find anything to denigrate about the people I have met thus far. Sure, they're slower than a constipated government worker, there's always one more bush to beat around before getting to a point, and yes, I realize Mayberry IS a real place (it may actually be the entire state), but everyone has been more than kind, courteous and helpful, so that I can find no personal target for my discontent.

(And the free coffee three times in a single week at the local Sheetz is...well...the Sheetz!)

Contrary to Yankee belief, there is intelligent life here (and some of it even sophisticated), it just doesn't drink faggoty coffee or foo-foo wines, wear Spandex, and believe that something accomplished in haste is somehow better than something accomplished in the name of efficiency -- or even accuracy. They've got their own ways and they're fixed in them, and the result is often just what it is.

Take it or leave it. Just deal, Carpetbagger.

Given those factors, its no wonder that nothing fucking works here.

And what I mean by that is, anything I could have gotten done -- anything I may have needed to get done -- in New York in a matter of minutes or hours is somehow down here a test to see if time really does fly.

Or maybe even exists beyond the merest concept.

I can give you no specific example of what I'm talking about because it happens so frequently that just picking the least case of annoyance and delay would be a chore, in and of itself. You wait -- or jump through hoops -- for everything.

Things have not improved in this regard with either time, the advance of technology, or more Northern arrivals.

(This last may have even served to make it worse; tired of being looked down upon by their self-proclaimed betters from the festering holes of the Northeast, I get the impression that sometimes the delay, the drag, the obfuscation, is intentional, because they know it triggers us).

I was, I thought, prepared for that. I remember this being a thing twenty years ago when I ventured into Charlotte.

I returned determined not to be an asshole and go all full-bore, obnoxious, hyper-critical, condescending, bombastic Yankee because people just don't like it. I didn't want to offend or alienate. I was prepared to rein that in, to exercise something of patience, to try to understand that there are established ways of doing everything from getting a Big Mac to getting fingerprinted in order to fulfill a government security check for work, and there was not going to be any way my big mouth and bad attitude was ever going to speed any of it up.

Well, fuck that shit.

Civility is not working for me.

I'm shocked that I even held out for a month.

Everything here moves at three speeds:


Dead Slow

Dead Slow in Reverse

Surely some of the issues I'm having right now are due to my being too passive, being so afraid to offend someone who is just doing the best they can (or just doing it how they were instructed to do it), that I'm willing to acquire a severe case of agita so as to spare the gentle feelz of some web-footed, inbred albino banjo player who is blissfully unaware of just how close he is to getting a New York Loveletter.

(Which means "a baseball bat across the forehead").

Some gentle prodding (more like "cattle prodding") may just be the ticket to getting at least more-than-glacial action. To that end, I'm working on my dirty and threatening looks.I'm aware there's a lot of armed people here, after all. They get out of their cars on the highway to open fire upon one another.

And the thing is, the bestial response, the impulse to shout, curse and terrorize everyone into doing what I want done as I need it done, cannot peacefully co-exist with the idea that one should have some due consideration for others. It is even more-difficult when the Other is, in all other respects except having annoyed you, totally innocent.

I have to work on this and establish a healthy medium.

Should I fail, you will read all about me in the newspaper, in which case the only question will be how many people I take out before the Raleigh PD riddles me with (probably well-deserved) bullets.

The second mistake is The Job.

It's IBM. And then it's not. And by this, what I mean to say is that I work for a subsidiary of IBM which is in the process of becoming a non-subsidiary of IBM, and it is a seriously messy affair.

Probably because the divorce is being left in the hands of people with MBAs, but no expertise in how mainframe computing works.

And I'm sure some of them are fucking hayseeds, too.

By the way, when I say "work" what I really mean to say is "arrive at the office every morning at 9, leave at 5, and in between, dwell on how much I hate it here, what a hard time adjusting I'm having, and wondering when the fuck they'll start giving me the work they're supposedly paying me to do".

Been here for a month and I've not had a single thing of importance to do; it's all administrative. Although they knew I was coming eight weeks before I got here, payroll wasn't set up. Nor were all the security sign ins I would need. For the first week I couldn't even get a goddamned cardkey to come in and out of the building. I've been told that although I have passed numerous security checks, already, I will need to get fingerprinted for another customer (again? I worked on Wall Street for 25 years. The FBI and SEC between them have more of my fingerprints than they do of Al Capone's), get yet another birth certificate for another, and expect to have federal agents crawl into every nook, cranny and orifice for still others.

There's not anyone actually HERE. This is a multi-billion dollar campus, it covers tens of square acres, and employs thousands.

And if there's 12 people in the building at any given time, that's a crowd.

COVID, you know.

Which is, I fear, a great reason why Problem #1 exists. No one shows up to work. At least not if you're white collar. The blue collar guys have no choice but to go to work, if only because operating a backhoe remotely doesn't work, nor will the hair clog in your bathroom drain get flushed from the plumber's kitchen table.

At present, I'm aggravated beyond belief. And the petty annoyances are piling up and becoming major hemorrhoids.

If I ever write the Great American Novel, I think the title might be something akin to "Durham: City of Hemorrhoids", or maybe even "Raleigh: An Excursion Inside America's Asshole". Neither city has much in the way of charm. From the point of view (and admittedly, it's a biased one) neither actually rates as "a city". 

More like "a refugee camp for hillbillies with supermarkets".

Maybe that's just my Man-strual cycle talking.

Maybe all I need is more time and patience.

(Oral sex* wouldn't hurt, either, but all the gaps and missing teeth leave me wary of acceptance from many of the volunteers. I need to find better company)

I'm sick of hearing "it can only get better" from people who haven't directly experienced the Armpit of the South. Whose idea of "the South" is mainly Disney World. From people who have never been south of Philadelphia (aka, "America's Taint").

There WAS a good thing that happened last week, when a "friend" I had "known" online for about 25 years suddenly became a real person, and we met. It was an even sweeter event because we met up at a local Smithfield's, which, sez me, has the best goddamned fried chicken EVAH.

I will fucking beat the snot out of anyone who says different. See?

In any case, if there's anything the Overlord hates more than discovering grits he did not want, nor order, on his breakfast plate, which is already overflowing with melted lard, it is being uncomfortable. Unreasonably uncomfortable, that is.

A fish out of water is how I would describe myself, at the present, but then again, isn't that how "Science" says something managed to evolve into Jethro and Ellie Mae?

More time needed, more adjustments to come...

* Changed because Blogger put the original term behind a wall for "violating community standards". I have removed the (I think) "offending" term.


Unknown said...

Matt, I'm from the south, albeit south Louisiana. I wasn't impressed with the Raleigh/Durham area either.
A recently retired buddy did it work locally for government agencies, and, even though he had been vetted multiple times and recently, every time he picked up a new account, the same alphabet agencies that did his other checks, had to redo everything again.
Hang in there and good luck.
P. S. The article is still behind a warning page.

Matthew Noto said...

Yeah, then it must be the reference to...ah....shall we say "fruity" coffee?

HMS Defiant said...

47 years ago my family relocated from the Naval War College in Newport, RI to Huntsville Alabama, home of Redstone Arsenal and Marshall Space Flight Center or, as my mother described it, a tiny oasis of civilization in a bleak desert. She was of Pennsylvania stock and while an Army wife had moved and lived in many places, this was our first trip to the South. It was amazingly different from Rhode Island.
I have never been to Raleigh Durham. My sister did it for a year on a Guggenheim grant but she was in to writing books at the time and couldn't care less as long as the coffee was done correctly.

Anonymous said...

IBM was your first mistake. Virginia Rometty’s reign included one stretch of 22 straight quarters of declining revenue.

Anonymous said...

You do realize that Interstate 95 has northbound lanes. Right?

Matthew Noto said...

You do realize that Man no longer lives in caves and drinks from the same pond he pisses in, Right?

SCBen said...

You have the distinct pleasure of the DEMOcrat affect! Those "nice, helpful" people you met are most likely Republicans while the ones who act superior and indifferent are most likely imported Northern DEMOcrats - maybe of the second generation and thus have the "Southern dialect"! I had a Reg. VP from NY and another superior from NJ. The NY guy was extremely vulgar and demanding when all he had to do was simply say "guys, we need to fix this"! The fifteen to twenty minute rants that could have been maybe five without all the expletives did nothing but antagonize our workers. I told him on numerous occasions that you can't tell Southerners "you're not worth a crap at your jobs" because THEY WILL PROVE IT!! He said he didn't understand it because it worked in NY! I had to point out AGAIN that he was no longer in NY but if he missed that enchanted land then he could go home more often! He didn't WANT to go home to his NY wife since he'd hooked up with a blonde haired blue eyed redneck hottie down here! He later told me I was right - all it took was another divorce, marrying the Southern hottie, eating some GOOD food, and then getting ANOTHER divorce! You live and learn - best to do both QUICKLY!