Sunday, February 27, 2011

Where the Pavement Ends in "Real" America

There is an episode of 30 Rock where Alec Baldwin's character wants to hire a new actor for TGS. The catch is that he wants to hire someone from "real" America. Liz Lemon (Tina Fey's character) point out that there is no part of America that is more American than any other. Any person who lives in America is American.

I travel a great deal for work. In the course of these travels, I often go to places that are not normal tourist attractions. This has given me a unique view of how people are living around the country.

I was driving across South Carolina yesterday and thinking about how lucky I am to get to see lots of different facets of America.

Savannah, GA

I saw a sign reading "Joe the Plumber lives here" and I realized that it is a pretty common misconception to think that where we live and who we are is "real". Who really sees themselves as an elitist?

Hovenweep National Monument

Maybe if everyone could see that across the country we are all basically the same, life would be a little less contentious?

Sort of near Truth or Consequences, NM

We are all Homo sapiens, after all. There is no such thing as biological race, right?

Chaco Canyon, NM

Well, everywhere I have gone people are basically the same.

Sorry for the rambling. I had a long drive and bike ride this morning, so I lots of quiet time to think. This is what you get...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Where in the Southeast is Sarah?

Okay, sorry for the blog silence. I was sent to South Carolina for work on really short notice. In fact, I am still in SC during the week and will be there for awhile now. I am about to start my third week in the middle of nowhere. Have you ever heard of Camden, SC? Lake Wateree?

I really can't talk about the project I am working on. It is not really top secret, just proprietary information. Plus, it is fun to say I can't talk about my work. It makes me feel important.

I do want to talk about South Carolina. We are living in rented vacation homes on Lake Wateree, which is a dammed river (hehe "damn" river). The closest town is about 30 minutes away and the closest bar is about 10 minutes away. This basically means we spend a lot of time entertaining ourselves at home.

For archaeologists this means lots of beer.

Every young professional (or graduate student) I know says their profession/field of study is full of intense drinkers. Perhaps there are lots of people out there that regularly drink more than archaeologists, in fact, I am sure there are. But, the people I work with drink a lot of beer.

It makes sense, we are away from our homes and families. We are usually in towns that have small populations and limited evening activities. So what is there to do?

Lake Wateree is beautiful though. While we drink this beer we watch herons perched on the dock, ospreys fish in the lake, and even bald eagles soaring above.

We can also see the stars and bars (Confederate Flag) flying proudly from a sailboat docked nearby.

Begin rant:

That particular flag epitomizes the inherent contridiction that is the state of South Carolina. Beautiful state, some really nice individuals, but some real jerks too. This just might be my crazy "northerner" background talking and I might open a can of worms by saying this, but the Confederate flag is a symbol of modern racism. I know people talk about it being a heritage symbol. If you consider defending the oppression of a group of humans based on their skin color, "heritage" maybe you are right. If was truly a "heritage" symbol it would not just be white southerners flying it.

End rant.

Well, at least we can drink beer and watch the birds. Sorry for the long disorganized post...