The gorgeousness of Phil's Seattle; the hominess of Autum's small town; the spot-on perfection of Molly's Maryland? And the list goes on from there, believe me...
I spent much of my 20's really hating Atlanta, and hating the fact that I lived here. It's not an uncommon malady - it's even got a name: ABA Syndrome - "Anywhere But Atlanta."
But a funny thing happened in my late 20's/early 30's - I began to mellow out. At first, I had to work at it. I decided that I'd been here for a big chunk of time, and it didn't look like that trend was due to stop anytime soon. It just seemed immature, and kind of stupid really, to spend time and energy hating the city. I either needed to move, or get over it. Moving didn't work out, so I opted for "get over it".
But I think Atlanta met me at least halfway... it has really changed a lot in the 16 years I've lived here. Oh, it's not perfect, not by a long shot. But there are so many things that I enjoy, and so many things that I'm even proud of. I won't say that I am the city's biggest booster, but I no longer feel like I have to apologize for where I live. I still think that I'd like to end up in my beloved mountains someday. But I no longer feel the overwhelming urge and desire to GET OUT! ABA!
In fact, I kind of like it here.
And then there are the days when I wouldn't trade Atlanta for anywhere else in the world.
Saturday was one of those days...
It started off as a normal Saturday, albeit one with lovelier weather than most. Crisp, clear, windy - a perfect sweater-wearing Fall day. We puttered about a bit, and even got to take an extremely rare family nap! (We all climbed into the big bed with our books to read together, and one by one we fell asleep...) We dozed and drowsed for a while when all of a sudden - BWANG!
And there it was again: Bwang! Bwang! Twang? Crash! Discordant chords of loudly played metal seemed to be coming from my front porch. I stumbled to the front of the house to see what was up...
And this greeted my eyes:
View from the front porch
It's the Sixth Annual Little Five Points Halloween Parade - and it is lined up right in front of the house. Oh - This. Just. Rocks. (And dare I say it? It rocks way better than the "dëth metal" band a few floats back which was warming up. Which accounts for the unexplainable bwang! that woke us up...)
The Little Five Points Parade is becoming more and more of a big deal each year. L5P is a tiny little area, which consists mainly of "alternative retail" venues - funny little thrift stores; actual honest to goodness record stores, dealing in rare vinyl; shoes stores that specialize in Birkenstocks and Doc Martens; independent book sellers (including the city's only feminist book store); several pubs... you get the idea. It claims to be the coolest place on the map between Greenwich Village and the French Quarter. It's very popular with disaffected youth, and disaffected youth wanna-bes, as well as hipsters and trendsters of all shapes and sizes. Walking through on a regular day, you might see Goths and Rastas mingling with tattooed Alterna-Moms pushing strollers. Rollergirls and Angry Rap Poets. FireDancers and TechnoGeeks. Tribal Drummers and slightly baffled looking tourists. Suffice to say, L5P does Halloween in a big old way.
We quickly wiped the sleep out of our eyes, and decided that even though we could see a lot of the parade from the porch, we wanted to see the whole thing go by. Schecky was particularly in favor of this idea, since historically the parade features lots and lots of candy flinging. (And this year was no exception.) So, Schecky grabbed his Trick or Treat bag, and Bubba and I grabbed our "grown up beverages in discreet go-cups" (because it's just that kind of parade) and we ventured up the street a little bit.
The main theme of this year's parade seemed to be Pirates. Pirates everywhere. But there were lot of zombies, Carrie-type prom queens, assorted ghoulies and ghosties and long legged beasties. These are a few of the participants that we passed on our way to a prime parade viewing spot...
Unfortunately, I am not in love with the pictures that I took at the actual parade. Although, I am OK with that... I made the decision that I would rather focus on enjoying the parade, and Schecky's delight in it, than to try to focus on "capturing the moment".
I sometimes worry when I see people - when you're on vacation, or at some type of event, for example - who seem so determined to document every single moment on film. Are they enjoying the moment, or are they capturing it? Admittedly, when you capture the moment, you get to enjoy it later, I suppose - but for me that is a divide that I am very conscious of. And there are times when I make a very deliberate effort to put the camera down and just live.
Which is all just a fancy way of saying that we got a prime spot for parade watching (and candy catching), but it was located in weird setting-sun rays, and every single one of the very few pictures I did snap are spectacularly poorly lit.
It turned out to be really OK - I ended up having my cake and eating it too! My friend and neighbor, James, is a fabulous photographer (he's the guy who managed to make us all look cute in last year's Christmas Card) took some tons of absolutely wonderful photographs, which you can see here. Some of my personal favorites are: here and here and here and here*. The pictures are all fabulous...
*This last photo is of Blondie, Atlanta's official stripper poet-laureate, and the Grand Marshall of this year's parade. Never did I dream I'd ever live in a place where a stripper poet becomes a beloved symbol of the city.
I actually spoke with her before the parade, and she's funny and charming. I told her that I thought she looked great, and she replied "Oh honey, please! I look like crap today. I feel good, though. That's the important thing..." And ain't that the truth?