Losers, Zombies, and Gratitude

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Family, Life Lessons, Travel | Posted on 02-08-2012

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There’s a town we drive through on the way to the beach. It used to be a booming town, lined with lumber mills perched on the edge of the river where boats are loaded and lumber is shipped to various ports.

But the economy has taken its toll. The lumber business is no longer booming. Instead, the crystal meth business appears to be in full swing. The streets are lined with houses with cracked windows, shingles hanging askew and broken-down, tarped cars buried in dandelions.

You know Monopoly? This town is the dark purple–Baltic Avenue and Mediterranean Avenue–that you hurry past. You don’t want to linger too long. But you kinda want to stare. And think.

Broken. A broken town. Broken spirits.

You can see the brokenness in the residents that walk aimlessly, like zombies. Or those milling around the fast food joints–take your pick–burgers, tacos, fried chicken, more burgers. The bright, colorful signs of McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, and KFC counter the dead faces, slack bodies.

And let me tell you, after watching people waddle in and out of these joints, you’re feeling pretty good about yourself and the fact that you packed hummus and cucumbers in your cooler.

I kid you not. People cross the street, bleary-eyed. Head injuries? Did they escape an asylum? Or are they just out of it?

A sad town. Yet a fascinating people-watching town.

It’s kinda like this. Professor Eric Wilson’s theorizes that looking at a car crash and thinking about destruction can be good for your mental health. Thinking about destruction can help you value your own life. Check out this article:

http://www.everydayhealth.com/emotional-health/why-do-we-look-at-car-accidents.aspx

Indeed!

So when driving through this town (and peeking), I also look around me in the car and take it all in. I look and smile at the people I truly value.

We stop to fill up with gas. And I am filled up with gratitude that we can continue onward and find peace at the beach.

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Comments (2)

Great post! I totally know the kind of town you’re describing. Something devastating happened – the plant closed, it’s been a bad series of years for the crops – and there was a ripple effect. The whole town just got ground down. After some kind of confluence of events they didn’t or couldn’t go the “let’s stick together, innovate, and fight back!” route. They’re just resigned and often angry.

It’s sad. But it really makes you motivated to take set backs and make them starting points rather than just curling up into a ball and taking the punchs. And it really does make you value what you have.

Yeah…I think we all know towns like this. The one you describe sounds depressed too.

Thanks for sharing!
Pippi

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