How did this happen? I live in Ashevegas.
Slang term used for the city of Asheville located in the southern Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina. Noted for it’s liberal, tolerant, live-and-let-live social culture making it quite different from most of the southeastern United States. Asheville, NC is home to many musicians and other artists. Population as of year 2007 – approximately 80,000.
This is one strange place to have landed. I believe there are more tattoos and piercings per capita here than anywhere on earth, and I am including biker bars, heavy metal concerts and LA in that estimation. There are also swarms of wealthy retirees and throngs of tubby tourists. No one seems to work. Many spend their days going to yoga and crystal readings, hanging at the oh-so-hip health food store, or playing music in the streets. For another demographic, there are gun shows at the civic center almost every time I turn around (I hope they are mostly looking) and something called The Mountain Brawl took place there just last week. This is, however, the same Civic Center where the visual artiste couple Christo and Jeanne Claude gave a lecture the same night country music star Toby Keith was wailing away in the adjacent auditorium. And a quick check of the upcoming calendar reveals the Asheville Symphony performing tomorrow, followed a few days later by the Blue Ridge Rollergirls, and then Phish. Something for every taste, it seems.
Last night was the first of the summer Downtown after Five street bashes with lots of beer and street food, pulsing music and an excellent opportunity to observe the eclectic group of people that make up the population of this town. Legions of the young tattoed and pierced cooks and wait staff that seem to run the culinary scene here, packs of old hippies, hanging onto their youth by wearing the same clothes and haircuts that got them through the eighties, alongside lots of young families with out of control kids running madly through the crowds with music so loud the parents’ yells were futile. In the middle of it all was a tiny island of Christianity holding large signs informing this less than devout crowd that God is angry.
Many years ago, when I contemplated moving here, a friend in LA asked (quite astutely it turns out) “Are you really ready to retire?” Finding work here is nearly impossible. The want ads have nothing remotely interesting or that pays more than minimum wage. Unless you are interested in working in the health care field (I am not), you must start a business of your own, or work out of town as a few friends do. That’s where I am at the moment– running scenarios, coming up with business plans, websites, discussing working extremely long-distance from China. Something will come, but meanwhile, I am trying to find a way into this world that is Ashevegas.