Friday, February 23, 2007

You Can't Go Home Again

Thomas Wolfe wrote "You Can't Go Home Again". It's a book with a lot of words and no pictures except for the abridged 9th printing that has a picture on the cover. I haven't read it. But judging by the title I would assume that someone did something really bad and probably was not allowed to come home. It was also the first American novel to use the contraction "Can't". I just made that last part up.

In my case, it's not that I can't go home but I probably should not have. Or at least, I should not have returned to the same apartment complex (or "hive") that I lived in in 1999. Things change, and returning can be complicated, which I hear is what Wolfe may have been actually talking about if I had ever read his book.

If you plan to move somewhere that you haven't been in a while, check out Google Earth. It's an amazing program that shows hyper-detailed satellite photos of just about anywhere on Earth. And had I done so, I might have noticed, not only the 4 baseball fields they've built a mere 100 feet from the complex, complete with megawatt light towers that could illuminate the dark side of the moon, but just to the west (and I mean by another 100 feet) is a huge sewer treatment plant!

Even if I could interpret satellite photos I may not have been able to discern the function of these buildings from Google orbit. But what the eyes can not make out in the photos, the nose can however (not from photos...or my computer screen...that smells like the cat who likes to sleep on the laptop when I walk away). On gusty nights when the wind blows to the south your olfactory senses are greeted with a none-too-pleasant fecal breeze. It's not something you can complain to management about. Well, you can, but what can they do? Maybe Glade can make a mammoth "SeaBreeze Plugin"? I would employ my tried and true motto - "When life gives you lemons, find someone to throw lemons at", but it doesn't seem to work in the case of raw sewage. Or I can just count down the days till the end of my lease and spin the amenities provided here at the hive to any guests that "fully-treated waste water is generated right next door!"

You can go home again, just make sure you scour the satellite photos next time for abattoirs, shooting ranges, clown colleges and bunny catapults. They'd all be deal breakers for me.


  1. Pete!
    Darn, about the lights and the smell...yuck. Can you sublet and get out of there?
    And You Can't Go Home Again is a great is Look Homeward, Angel, which I think he wrote first. It's years since I read them but I was intoxicated for weeks with his imagery. He doesn't need pictures, he's a visual writer.
    Some night when the lights and the stink are keeping you up, you could read them...

    We all got between 2 & 3 feet of snow on Valentine's Day. The Montpelier school kids got 4 days off because it's taking so long to dig out the sidewalks. They can't dump the snow in the river anymore so they have to truck it 2.5 miles out of town -- they're really worried about an icejam and flood again when things warm up.

    Things are fine in Woodbury, though. We don't have any sidewalks.

  2. Bonus points to eagle-eye Sean Sherwin who noticed another horrible grammatical mistake in yesterday's blog! There is a prize at the end of the month for whoever finds the most spelling errors, grammatical mistakes and blatant factual blunders.