A blogger blogging about his or her hometown may seem random and mundane, but I have a good reason for wanting to explore the idea of 41Nx087W. You see, I’d been away for a while. Nine years, to be approximate.
I’d been at 36Nx115W, otherwise known as the Las Vegas metropolitan area. I had several addresses in the valley, and during my time there I moved from just off-Strip to the edge of North Las Vegas and finally, to the edge of Henderson. All of the nuances of life in and around Las Vegas are a different subject for an entirely different blog, but if you really want to know, there’s a Review-Journal article making the social media rounds that sums it up pretty nicely.
I was a social studies teacher in Clark County School District for seven years, but I decided this past June to pack a Penske truck, call on my bff for help, and move myself back to Hammond, Indiana.
There are several things that I forgot about during my time away. One of the more notable concepts I forgot about was winter.
Winter. Never. Ending. Winter. Which brings with it equipment needs like coats and boots and ice scrapers. As a native of the Midwest, and of this particular “Region” within it, I had vague memories of Christmastime snowfalls, one treacherous 12/26 of black ice, three very welcome days off for cold temperatures during my sophomore year of high school back in March 1993, and a snow event a couple of Februaries ago that they called “snowpocalypse.” Enter 2014. ALL of these things happened multiple times, and didn’t stop until the sun came out…today. That’s five whole months of winter that have unrelentingly borne down on us. Some of my countrymen say, “It’s winter. It happens every year,” but for me, this is untrue. In Las Vegas, winter means three weeks of 30-degree mornings, 45-degree afternoons, and no snow. It happens in the middle of January. I think that winter 2014 in the “Region” has been deathly terrible, and I consider this winter alone to be all the evidence I need of global catastrophic climate change.
Another thing I had forgotten about was the economy. I thought that I would be able to land some clerical work right away and happily spend many years tapping away at a keyboard, fetching coffee, and filing for someone who would pay me and cover my insurance. A daily reading of the NWI Times classifieds job ads over the course of the past eight months reveals that the local economy consists of: CDL drivers, machinists, mechanics, maintenance workers, newspaper deliverypeople, daycare workers, healthcare workers, and CDL drivers. Did I already say CDL drivers? I’ve been reading the job ads. Every day. For eight months. (Except Mondays and Tuesdays, when there are no job listings.) So I have a new take on the economy. I do what I am trained to do, which is convey information to young people and do my best to ensure their safety.
What are the other components of a regional identity?
I plan to address different aspects of life around the Region in future posts.