November 29, 2003

it's dark and cold and precipitating; sometimes snow, sometimes rain.
this is erie. the lake saturates the air with moisture that just must come down. we should get 1-3" of snow overnight and an additional 1-3" tomorrow, or so they say in local meteorological circles.

it's not nice snow though, it's just going to be enough to make roads slippery (for a while) and give the lawn over to cold mud.

while there is an attempt to revitalize the bayfront and downtown here, this town still feels the ills of dying heavy industry; it's here because of lake-borne shipping opportunities... but the money these days is made in technology, not boilers and
locomotives.

out here ... and here is strange; rural style dirt roads and woods at suburban distance, there is a strip-mall cancer, slowly metastisizing westward toward my family home. the new growth is shiny, almost healthy looking in a cookie-cutter suburban shopping sort of way; new target, new best buy, bed bath and beyond, whatever, thriving on "black friday" i'm sure... the biggest shopping day of the year. curiously, not the biggest buying day of the year.

but it's decay, because the newcomers don't move into the "for lease" vacuum left by those that came before, but rather, they clear more land and build anew; why? better "access" i think. there are about 103,000 people in the city, and yet the "upper peach street" sprawl sees almost-but-not-quite DC-style traffic jams of rabid consumers... it can take hours to traverse on big shopping days.

some blame the canadians and their lust for tax-but-not-tacky free clothing and shoes, but they come on buses; pretty efficiently getting from the great white north down here.

i blame it on putting everything here. why? 10 year exemptions from property taxes. but, Dan, you say, don't these businesses creat much-needed jobs?

yep, i've just been laid off from my good paying union welder's job at GE, so a good job for me is making $6.50/hr putting prices on shit at target.

maybe like baltimore, and like what rob told me about bethlehem, erie will birth an artist community from its dying industrial embers...

doesn't do too much for you if your collar is blue.





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