Leaving Alabama and Saying Goodbye to Huntsville!

What am I doing?

Oh, in this picture, I’m eating my vegetables. Actually, this is a wall outside of a store in Huntsville called Anthropology. This picture was taken almost 2 years ago. Now the wall is brown with dead plants and soil falling out. It’s a metaphor for Huntsville: Businesses open and then 1 to 2 years later are dead and falling out.

Aside from that darling hat, you might be wondering a couple things: First, Mike doesn’t get enough fiber? Also, Huntsville has an Anthropology? Isn’t that a store found in BIG sophisticated cities like New York and San Francisco?

Yes! That’s what I thought, too! It opened shortly after I arrived here, so I was feeling optimistic about picking Huntsville to live in: Even though the ACTUAL job was located 45 miles to the west in Athens, yet I was told this was a Huntville job (and this was supposed to be a Huntsville radio station servicing Huntsville–from 45 miles away?!?).

Let’s just say a LOT of false pretenses came into play when I took this job. My wife and I did all the research we could, and some of it was right: Houses ARE less expensive. It is VERY humid. There are LOTS and LOTS of engineers and phd’s here. However, my general manager NEGLECTED to fill me in about important logistical truths: That the transmitter for the radio station DIDN’T EVEN EXIST yet. That I would be required to drive a HUGE TRUCK all over the territory sometimes covering hundreds of miles in ONE day (Huntsville and its surrounding cities are completely spread out). That I would have virtually NO SAY in who I could hire for my staff. That he, the general manager who should be focused on selling advertising, dictated to me how the station should sound even telling me HOW I SHOULD SOUND.

Today’s one minute WHAT THE HECK?…What Am I Doing?

I am GETTING THE HECK OUT OF HERE! And by “heck” I definitely mean HELL!

This town is far too hot, too conservative, and too interested in church for me to stay here. A study of people who voted for Obama found that 67 percent said they don’t go to church. That compares to 64 percent who voted for Bush in 2004 who said they went to church MORE THAN ONCE A WEEK! I guarantee that ENTIRE 64 percent came from Alabama, home of the biggest gaudiest churches in the south…or maybe not, since I hear Texas wins that award. And I have done some church research: I found people who go are either looking for a love interest or are frustrated American Idol wannabees who want to go to a “rock concert” every Sunday. Then there are those who are replacing a crutch: drugs, drinking, smoking. Or there are those trying to bury their homosexual feelings: If I go to church with my (husband/wife) and am seen in public with them and my kids then I MUST BE HETERO! And Jesus said homosexuality is an abomination (that verse still missing from the original text).

And people love their Rick and Bubba morning radio show here (see one of the previous blogs for a full explanation of their show). And I am so sick of the word “Bubba.” Yes, Alabamans are proud of this word because they invented it, but it’s just a variation on the word “Baby.” Just say “baby” over and over again real fast until it devolves into “bubba.” Very innovative, AL! And I am tired of all the fast food and no nice bike paths and no public transportation and the spoiled unruly kids and all the stupid red t-shirts promoting the state’s college football team and the never ending hype of college football and the good ole boys club and the golfing and the non-descript southern accent that sounds like a mix of Texas and Georgia and the long lines to new restaurants that are owned by national chains and the blank stare you get when you tell people you’re moving back to California “AND I CAN’T FREAKIN‘ WAIT!!!”

I know somewhere someone is reading this and saying, “Don’t let the AL door hit you on the way out!” Well, thank you. I tried loving your state. I tried loving your relaxed cholesterol heavy way of life. I tried getting into saying roll tide or war eagle and I tried liking your culture. BUT ALL I GOT WAS A PINK SLIP IN RETURN! All I got was HIGH CHOLESTEROL! All I got was BUG BITES BUG BITES BUG BITES! And all I got was extremely jaded.

I tried. When I get back to the state of the continuous sunshine and traffic jams, and am finally able to wear shorts without gallons of Off sprayed on them, I will tell folks the south is a wonderful place to live. And I’ll say move there now!

And when they leave I’ll think about how they’re setting out upon a fantastic adventure…and how I’ll be able to get their parking spot.