Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ch-ch-ch-chaay-yanges (and also some notes on trends in the south)

First off, I got a new layout (which I'm also hoping to ditch soon) and changed the way I do comments here, because I want you to know when someone replies to your comments. I think this means I'll be commenting as Serial here, just to confuse folks (did I mention I'm terrible at blogging?) -- though it's really a nod to folks who knew me back in the day.

Please tell me if you hate. Or if love it, I suppose. But to do that, you'll have to comment. Bwa ha ha ha ...

Second: I'm now going to paint an entire region with a very broad brush based on limited experience. Ready, set, go!

So there's been much ado about the DIY trend in the last few years, no? How now it's cool to knit, and to make your own food, and cook, and locally source. How it's fine and all to drink good beer, but to make good beer is truly divine.

But if you not only do all that but also grow the hops for your beer? Organically? Right on, man.

Right? I feel like I've seen this all over the place. Moms make their own baby food. Crafting is in. Store-bought is out -- or out-ish, anyway. I mean, it's really fun to make a sweater, but it takes a REALLY long time to make a sweater. So it's hard to actually stock your closet with shit you made, but oh, wouldn't you love to try! And wouldn't it just bake take the cake to make your own yarn? Except, who the crap knows how to make yarn? Or has the equipment? I think you use a spindle, right?

Actually, now that I'm thinking on it, I could probably have left my house in Bend, started knocking on doors, and within an hour turned up a guy with a spindle, and someone whose sister down the road raises free-range llamas. People where I'm from make sport of DIY. Homemade jewelry. Creating entire meals made from food produced within 100 miles -- this in the high desert, which has a ridiculously short growing season.

I thought this was a widespread trend. I know it is in a way. It spreads from places like Bend, Oregon, to Brooklyn, N.Y. And Bend's a pretty small town!

But Bend ain't the south. And I live in the legit south. Not a hip version of the south. Where I live in the south has no university, no cool music enclaves of hipness.

Now please don't think I mean the people here are backward. Some most certainly are, but for the most part, that's not the case. What I'm saying is that what's cool here has a different flavor.

I was recently asked by a co-worker if Roomie and I were "stay-at-home" kind of people (I resisted the urge to proclaim myself a former party girl, because, although it's true, bringing it up seems idiotic at a certain point) as opposed, I guess, to people who go out. She asked me this after I mentioned another fabulous meal we'd made at home (homemade curry with homemade paneer cheese with punjabi garam masala we'd ground ourselves. Ahem).

The question made me realize that the fact that we don't have kids and still prefer to stay home makes us ... kind of odd here. Now, the woman who asked is no 21-year-old partier. She's in her mid-30s, she's totally together. I just get the impression that she would rather have someone else make her good food than make her own. She likes to dress up and go out. That's something that to me, sounds nice on occasion. Most of the time, though, it doesn't appeal to me. My girls back home and I were far more apt to load up on fancy cheese from the market and stay in, sans heels. Sometimes we'd go out, but it was usually to a chap place with a stiff pour, and we were just as apt to get together on a weekend and make soap. Seriously.

I don't know anyone here who's interested in knitting. Or sewing. UNLESS they're, well ... how do I say this ... you know ... country folk. Or church ladies.

It seems like the hip girl (and boy) fondness for old world craft doesn't apply to the hip kids in this part of the country. And my theory is this: Here, raising chickens for free-range eggs ain't cool, it's farming. Sewing? Grandmothers here never stopped sewing. Same with all versions of canning, preserving and pickling (and I don't suggest you even mention kimchi). Potlucks are for church functions.

Maybe it's that when the country is gone from your life (as we pretend it is on the west coast and it most certainly is in actual urban areas), things country people "did" seem cool. When those country people are still doing them, and you can see the country folk selling that shit on the roadside to tourists, it doesn't seem cool anymore.

Am I right (or am I right)?

*Note: All of this pretty much ignores the existence of the midwest. Where I guess (based on the 3 people in my world who live in the midwest) people are into knitting and scrapbooking, despite their farm ties? Is it because the midwest has a better relationship with its rural roots? I'm sure some of my midwestern (bred, at least) readers will fill me in.