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  1. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    What does America look like to you?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Wreybies, Jun 18, 2017.

    Risky thread. I know it. Try to stay on track, yes?

    The question I'm asking is surface and simple, not metaphorical, and certainly not political.

    Literal.

    What does it look like to you when you see it / have seen it?

    When I moved to Berlin, I remember how stout, square and pragmatic the buildings looked, sensibly lining streets that were unexpectedly wide for a city as old as this, as confined by a Wall as this, and as city as this. Tempelhof was a mythical structure from a Science Fiction story, or a castle, impossibly huge, meant for giants, not humans.

    When I moved to Puerto Rico the architecture looked like it was made of Lego™ bricks, all square and flat-roofed and everything was so random, no two houses looked alike, mansions next to shacks, next to moderately suburban homes, all with that square geometry that screams "South America", not a pitched roof in sight, heavy fences of cement and steel and gates everywhere, and always the almost audible approach of the jungle just waiting for you to turn your back to reclaim what is rightfully Hers.


    I'm just curious to know what the U.S. looks like to others. If you've never been here, describe where you live. Think of it as an exercise in setting. :)
     
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  2. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    A river bank city made up with a mixture of houses and trees. Entire neighborhood blocks with broken down cars being used for parts and shells for the Saturday night races. Hordes of Mosquitoes; and the fat spiders that eat them.
     
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  3. xanadu

    xanadu Contributor Contributor

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    I always thought America looked like a whale. Apparently, I'm not the only one:

    [​IMG]

    Now you'll never not see it. Sorry!

    On a more serious note, the America I'm most familiar with is the small suburban towns on the east coast--the ones from the punk songs that you hate but love but want to get out of but can't leave.

    Architecturally, lots of areas where the towns feel like little cities for a few blocks, fairly modern architecture except for the churches, but in various conditions depending on where you are.

    Occasionally stuff that looks like this:

    [​IMG]

    More often, a lot of this:

    [​IMG]

    And this:

    [​IMG]

    Lots of traffic--suburban traffic, not city traffic, but no matter where you go, if you're out between ~3pm and 7pm, you're going to have a rough time.
     
  4. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Those houses say North to me. They say snow and genuine spring and autumn. They say seasons and migrating birds, the disappearance and reappearance of butterflies. Tadpoles become frogs in the rush of summer. Trees that are naked for half the year. :)
     
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  5. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I don't really have a picture of the whole country... it's a pretty diverse place, after all.
     
  6. xanadu

    xanadu Contributor Contributor

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    That's pretty dead-on. These are towns in suburban Pennsylvania, outside Philadelphia.

    Though I've noticed the migrating birds have been really inconsistent over the past few years.
     
  7. matwoolf

    matwoolf Banned Contributor

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    [​IMG]

    Incredible pic, looks like Grantham, Lincs UK 1974 - although in England each building would be 'semi-detached,' i.e two families.

    ...

    I've only been to the West Coast: big & lonely [for me], hot, crickets, men sleeping outdoors in the summer. I fantasize about New York state and Maine fishermen - musically, not physically.
     
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  8. matwoolf

    matwoolf Banned Contributor

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    this:

     
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  9. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Yes. :) In that part of the country the homes look reserved and upright, like tea and scones in the afternoon. I grew up in the South, land of low, sprawling ranch-style homes reclining lazily into large yards.
     
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  10. xanadu

    xanadu Contributor Contributor

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    Wish I could take credit...but I just ran a Google image search on my town. This is what pretty much every neighborhood in the area looks like, for better or for worse.
     
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  11. minstrel

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    There's a variety of different geographies in the US and I've not been everywhere. Here are my impressions of where I've spent time:

    Southern California / Desert Southwest: Large vacant barely-habitable spaces punctuated by huge and ostentatious cities. Cities that look more expensive than they should. I live in an area full of smallish houses that seem as solid as cardboard boxes glued together but which cost $600k. Then dry brown hills that look like buns left in the oven a little too long. Lots of scrub brush but few actual trees. In the cities, too much traffic, too much neon, not much foundation - a homely woman trying to make herself beautiful with too much makeup.

    Central Florida: A wholly-owned subsidiary of the Disney Co. People live in houses that look like part of a theme park. Even the Kennedy Space Center looks like it should be called Disney's Rocketland Adventure and leaves you thinking, "But where are the rides?"

    Northwest Georgia: Small hills, woods, small houses that look like they're all built on the same piece of property - no fences or hedges or any kind of separation at all. Someone built a house, someone else built a house in the first guy's front yard, another house went in the first guy's back yard, another beside that one, etc. Small towns like Adairsville and Calhoun that look like the only industries are motels and fast food joints.

    Pacific Northwest: Cool, green, misty-wet heaven. Mountains, rivers, seriously big trees ("trees so tall it takes six strong men eight hours just to see to the top!") - it looks like Twin Peaks with islands of high-tech cities (Seattle). My spiritual home.

    I miss the Northeast as it looks from across the Canadian border. I miss the Great Lakes, hundreds of thousands of square miles once buried under glaciers; lakes, rivers, and trees forever, solid Eastern cities with solid brick houses - houses with basements, for a wonder! - a sense of permanence. Hardy Europeans settled there hundreds of years ago and said, "We ain't budgin'!" Actually, they were more formal than that and said, "We have put down our roots, established a nation, and here we shall stay until the Second Coming. Pass the tea, please."
     
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  12. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    I visted Seattle long ago. I'd love to retire there 30 years from now.
     
  13. 123456789

    123456789 Contributor Contributor

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    Dude, no.

    Southern (coastal) California: Endless coastline and the most magnificent sunsets in the (continental) U.S. Swaying palms and tall, tan, beautiful women. Perfect weather and perfect gardens, compliments of water from the north.

    I hate the Northeast: Terrible traffic squeezed into two lanes. Potholes from the winters- dreary half the year, sweaty and sticky the other. Stuck up people commuting two hours every day so they can live in their brick houses and brag about their ivy league schools and vacation houses in the Hamptons. Run down buildings, small everything.
     
  14. matwoolf

    matwoolf Banned Contributor

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    @123 translator/airline edition wip

    Excuse me.

    San Diego: endless municipal beach parks, the sun setting day after day, women like plastic palm trees glazed in Santa's tepid juice.

    The northeast, and breathe:

    Tootle down a country lane.

    Bumpers kiss, children frolick gaily on our back seats. They are uniformed, smiling, and 'Another day of schooling, daddy,' she says.

    This is the journey, citizen, as happy ants with a radio on.

    Then the sun sets, we refresh our families upon a private beach in the Hamptons, far away from you little people.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017
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  15. Earp

    Earp Bear-ly Alive Contributor

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    A couple of things:

    Take away a handful of urban areas, and my state of Michigan is pretty much farmland and open grassland. It seems to put the lie to the whole overpopulation thing.

    Perspective matters. I had an appointment last week in an office on the seventh floor of a building downtown. The two-story homes in the surrounding neighborhood were mostly obscured by the number of mature trees. We (I, anyway) don't appreciate how many trees cover our neighborhoods when we see them at ground level.
     
  16. Link the Writer

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I'm with @BayView on this -- the US is too diverse geographically to have a stereotypical depiction (though that doesn't stop Hollywood. :p) It also depends on who you ask. If you ignore the crazy, overly-religious, conservativ people, the Deep South can be a pretty cool place to be. The marshlands, the Spanish moss hanging from the trees...

    New York City is too crowded and clusters for my tastes. :( I prefer smaller, more opened towns like Gettysburg. I went there once with my dad and my first thought? "I could live here, in Gettysburg." It's my spiritual hometown.

    @123456789 - You could say the same about us. :p Hot and muggy most of the year, the Gulf coast is apparently a magnet for hurricanes, the whole nine yards. :D
     
  17. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Obviously the U.S. is big. Big-big. Obviously one description doesn't take it all in. Even tiny little Puerto Rico is immensely diverse. San Juan is nothing like the west coast of the island, and the west coast is not like the south coast, and none of the aforementioned is like El Yunque. Berlin was nothing remotely like Weimar and Jena when we were allowed to leave the city and visit the East German countryside.

    Impressions. Images. Descriptive thoughts. That's all I'm looking for. It is a writing forum after all. We do remember that, right? We are each of us only a single human paradigm locked in our solipsistic shells. The idea is to let us know the individual snapshot we each have through your writer descriptions.
     
  18. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    See? Someone gets it. ;)
     
  19. matwoolf

    matwoolf Banned Contributor

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    Oh, one thing - and @123 can verify. California is the only place where I've seen men lift/roll up their short leg to pee, rather than go over the top, so to speak. I tried to initiate the practice over here, but never caught on. These would be tye-dye shorts, a bit of a squeeze in jean cut-offs, I wouldn't do that.

    Although, I suppose most the time @123 goes in his wetsuit.

    ...
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017
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  20. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    No, no, no....

    *herds the class back into the paint room for finger-paint time*

    Children, today we are going to paint what we see. What we actually see. With our eyeballs. We're not going to comment on what mum or dad do for a living or the affair dad is having or that mum's job sucks or that we all know the principle has a drinking problem. Just what we see.

     
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  21. Link the Writer

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Yes, Mr. Wrey! I'll think of a more descriptive, physical way to describe the Deep South.
     
  22. matwoolf

    matwoolf Banned Contributor

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    I see America as like a burger, and I'm like chewing it and like loving it and then I find this terrible piece of gristle, and I throw it down on the side of the plate aside my Bermudas and my Cubas. I'm not eating that, you can keep your Caribbean territories. I want Atlantic continental, every time, it's just my point of view x.
     
  23. Link the Writer

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    (Throws burgers at you)

    Mr. Wrey said PHYSICAL!! Not politics or metaphorically!!
     
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  24. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    My post wasn't directed at you, Mattie-poo. ;)
     
  25. matwoolf

    matwoolf Banned Contributor

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    much love to PC, I am now composing my USA poem.
     
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