Complex-cityBy Wade Kwon
On my travels through North Carolina this week, I met someone who had worked in my hometown, Birmingham, on temporary assignment.
He brilliantly summed up our fair city in one short observation: â€œBirmingham, itâ€™s complicated.â€
It should be the slogan. Maybe itâ€™s not the prettiest or catchiest, but it is the boldest.
Weâ€™re a complicated lot. Weâ€™re friendly, but weâ€™re sometimes intolerant. We certainly donâ€™t get along when it comes to cooperating to get much of anything done.
Weâ€™re moving forward, but at a barely perceptible pace. We have faults we recognize, but become defensive when others point them out.
I like simple. I like it when things go smoothly, predictably. And yet I stay.
I look forward to the burning hot summers and weekend food festivals and hazy ozone-infested days. I enjoy the relatively modest traffic and bars that come and go.
I really like how people keep trying to make it a better place. They havenâ€™t given up, and I havenâ€™t either. But itâ€™s a struggle.
Too many condos. Too many plans without action. Too many poseurs. Too many cars.
Not enough drive. Not enough spirit. Not enough resources. Not enough success.
Itâ€™s still about race, and bad schools, and high crime, and no leadership. Itâ€™s about taking comfort in the way things never seem to change or evolve.
Weâ€™re not the prettiest or the catchiest, but we could still be the boldest.
Complicated? Absolutely. Hopeful? It is Birmingham, after all.