Why I’d Never Reside in Savannah

Savannah is like the gorgeous ex of yours whose appearance makes you think they’re the best human being in body and mind until you realize at some point they were just gaslighting you to use you in one way or another. I almost wish I never even went to college in Savannah in the first place. In our orientation, one of the police officers who was giving us the safety talk described Savannah like Main Street in Magic Kingdom; it’s “gorgeous,” and it distracts you from the real dangers around. If someone told me I could sit on my ass for the rest of my life and get paid to live in a large mansion with servants to do all the chores and feed me cookie dough while lounging like some kind of Greek God, I would probably set them and the money on fire.

The “exotic” Spanish moss is only so beautiful until the branch falls from the weight and you have to dodge a clump of it that contains little bugs locally called jitters. Once when we were in Forsyth Park for a drawing project I watched a branch fall off and smash into the ground next to a kid. If he had decided to move a foot over earlier in the session he could’ve been clubbed in the head from it. It’s not technically an invasive species, but it was an imported one, ironically not from Spain despite its namesake.

The architecture in downtown Savannah attends to the image that the city likes to show you; beautiful and cultured varying architecture styles varying between Georgian to Victorian, and Federal to Gothic. If you look hard enough, you may even find a few Mid-Century Modern buildings. What they don’t show you –for which the city is specifically designed– is if you venture down a small side street you could find yourself getting shot at or mugged, something which happens oddly frequently to the naive students of the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). I think it was last year a kid fought off someone with a toolbox.

Returning to the same adventure of watching a kid nearly get knocked out by a branch, we had earlier watched two clearly homeless people fight over a bike. Their argument became a screaming match, and at that point we began to cautiously glance back because it’s hard to draw a fountain when you’re wondering how it’s going to escalate. Eventually —if I remember correctly— a cop came out of nowhere to settle the dispute. Later a homeless man who clearly had soiled his pants tried to record our class and post it to his facebook account with his phone he had. Thankfully, with this incident our teacher actually recognized it was happening and asked him to leave. This demonstrates a rather large problem Savannah has, along with the main problem I have with Savannah: the treatment of the homeless.

Might get mugged but hey, at least there’s a pretty fountain.

While the city has its projects, many people slip through the cracks of the system and you can see them walking around the city in highly populated areas. In my entire time of living in Savannah, I have been catcalled and harassed by more homeless people than any other type of person anywhere else in the world. The other day a homeless man went out of his way to run my foot over with his bike while I had been sitting on a bench waiting for the school’s supposedly safe transportation system. I can’t even go to a public library next to one of our academic buildings to check out a book for class without dodging a homeless man clearly masturbating in the stairway. Near the one set of dorms there used to be a colony of tents where the homeless would camp out just outside the fence. From what I’ve seen, Savannah does little to nothing in order to help get these unfortunate individuals off the streets and indoors. This is dangerous for everyone in the city, especially the homeless, considering many of the ones appear to have mental health issues.

On a lighter note, the weather is often disgustingly humid for the majority of the year. There’s no way around it. Think you’re going to flat-iron your hair? Think again. Nothing you can do will save your hair from the humidity. The only time Savannah isn’t trying to actively wreck your hair with humidity is the winter. And if you think humidity’s bad, just wait until summer arrives where God tries to drown the whole sinning city with floods and nonstop rain. The streets aren’t built for that kind of rain, and neither are the people driving in it. (Seriously. Savannah drivers are some of the worst in the states I’ve encountered so far. Not as bad as New Yorkers or Floridians, but just behind them.)

Highway 80 in October 2015, thanks to Climate Change and God’s damnation.

The roads of Savannah can switch lane at any moment. A left lane can become a turning lane. A right lane can become a turning lane. A middle lane can also sometimes become a turning lane if adjacent to another turning lane and another avenue to go straight. Many roads are one way, and often have little evidence of being so to the inexperienced. Where I grew up we didn’t have one way streets. Due to the city having many student drivers, traffic is insane and accidents are frequent. I refuse to drive unless I absolutely must. Usually that “must” is groceries.

On the day I’m adding the previous paragraph, I witnessed a wild car accident of the likes of Hollywood movies. I was standing at a street corner, ready to cross over to the block one of our dorms was on when a black sedan flew up the wrong lane and a large grey suv had cautiously started their way across the four-way. Thankfully the SUV stopped —and had been going so slow— that only their front left corner got clipped. The black car then spun around in a circle and immediately flew back down the lane it had arrived in. Immediately witnesses got out of their cars, along with the SUV people who appeared to be fine. I thought I heard someone say they got his license plate, someone else said they called the police, and someone else was telling the SUV people to stay in their car. Seeing that the situation was being handled, I did what I could in a timely fashion by making sure one of the college’s security guards was informed about it.

Savannah is like most populated cities, even though Savannah is a smaller one. My true issue with Savannah is that it tries to sell itself as a safe, southern quirky town to trap tourists for their money. My college does that just as well —seeing as Savannah depends on the money it brings the city— but that’s another post for once I graduate. The deception is what sickens me. What makes me detest the city. Any city is probably shitty, but Savannah puts on a mask of Bugs Bunny where if it were being truthful, it’d be wearing a Donnie Darko one.

           

Or perhaps like the bunny from one of the freakiest episodes of the Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy.

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This thing haunted me for years.

Beach vs. Mountains: The Unending Debate

I’ve been a vacationer to both the beach and the mountains ever since I was little. When I leave my house, the adventure has to be worth it. After all; as an introvert, social activity is quite draining, so I want to spend whatever energy I have doing something that’s enjoyable. So I thought I’d discuss the potential pros and cons to both and explain which I think has the better deal.

The beach has a lot of fun activities. You could go surfing, boogey boarding, swimming, fishing, and do just about anything in the ocean. You can even just stand in the water and let the waves knock you over as you try not to drown because you’re short and all your friends are tall and fifty feet ahead of you. (No? Just me?) That’s just the water alone! Then you’ve got the sand, where you can play various athletic games like volleyball, bocce ball, Frisbee, or badminton just as a few of them. For the non-athletes like me, there’s always the options of building sand castles, collecting shells, sitting under a large hat or umbrella and reading, listening to music, or even sleeping. I have to admit; once I have the sunglasses on and my headphones in, I can pass right out.

And it wouldn’t be the beach without the boardwalk! As a vacationer of the Jersey Shore, there’s a ton of different boardwalks to visit that have their own fun to them each. There’s the food, the different kinds of rides, prizes to be won, and even those odd activities like glow in the dark mini golf and old western photos. Some shops have hermit crabs for sale. (Which is a questionable industry to begin with, but I can’t help but add to my hermit crab family whenever I go.) There’s always an adventure on the boardwalk, even if it’s just hunting for Pokémon on Pokémon GO.

The mountains have many of the same activities, but without the boardwalk. Thanks to lakes, there’s still a ton of opportunities for water activities and tanning. While you can’t exactly surf in a lake, but there’s always the possibility of kayaking and doing other water sports. There’s also the addition of ropes courses, shooting ranges, and hunting. I don’t hunt, and I don’t like the idea of hunting, but some people like it. I find it’s also a lot quieter in the mountains, and there’s less children I see around. The population is a lot less dense along one coast, so it’s fairly spread out.

When I’m up in the mountains, there’s beautiful forests everywhere, in all seasons. There’s variety in the seasons, unlike at a beach town where you’re there for the summer and otherwise it’s too cold to enjoy. For those who like the heat, the mountains have enough heat during the summer that won’t send you into a heat stroke. The most extreme weather is usually in the form of snow, ice, and sleet, but otherwise the beach has to deal with those in addition to the hurricanes and floods. There’s a bountiful amount of nature around as well that can be hard to witness at the beach.

Both places have their own cons, no doubt. Both have bugs, but different kinds of bugs. While you’re getting bit by sand bugs and horse flies at the beach, there’s just as many ticks and mosquitoes in the mountains. The beach also has seagulls that will steal a pizza slice out of your hand just to drop it into the ocean because Poseidon needs good offerings. (And if it’s Northeastern pizza, it’s a worthy offering, but a hefty loss for yourself.) Another issue with beach/lake oriented activities is what you’ll wear. Bikinis, if you enjoy wearing them, take a lot of trust. Trust in your surroundings, so as the ties don’t snag and leave you suddenly without a top or bottom. Trust in the people around you, so nobody pulls the strings, and also trust in yourself to make sure you’re not doing anything too fun that might make your top or bottoms fly off like a water slide or a wave.

At the beach especially, you need to apply sunscreen frequently if you so much as walk outside for an hour. I got a burn once going outside in overcast for an hour; the sun is not my friend. Neither is the sand. Careless beach bums kick it around while walking by or waving out their towel, some uncontrollable children throw it, and it always seems to coat your entire body no matter what you do.

My verdict: It just makes more sense to go to the mountains. You can enjoy many of the same beach activities there while not being put on a spit roast and burning the soles of your feet on the sand. There’s no boardwalks, but there’s tons of other things to do. Sure, it doesn’t have the same kind of kitschy beach culture that beach towns do, but it’s got its fair share of charming landscapes. I’m writing this now from my mountain house, and my desk is right by the window. In the past week, I’ve watched a mother deer perhaps be in labor, only the next day to come back with an adorable baby. The mom walked up to my window too! Yesterday I also watched a baby bear cub wander by from the safety of my house.
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You can go to the beach just about anywhere, but there’s only certain charms of the Northeastern United States that can be beautifully displayed like the changing of the seasons. I go to school down in the South, and it just gets ugly during winter. Mostly everything dies, the end. There’s no magnificent last display of life, and there’s certainly no snow or cold. When I had to evacuate my dorm because of Hurricane Matthew, I escaped back up North where I was able to catch a glimpse of the seasons at their full power in the mountains.

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(Come on. That’s gorgeous.)

There’s no whiny children crying about not getting ice cream from the ice cream man. There’s no screaming kids wanting a useless toy to be won from a vendor for a stupidly expensive amount of money. There’s no jellyfishes coiling around your legs or sharks potentially poking their heads around scaring people. In the mountains you can have your peace or your adventure, depending on the day. It’s all up to you.

2017 Resolutions: Halfway Check-In

This year I forced myself to decide on some resolutions to follow. You know; the kind you make on New Year’s and then forget the next day? Or the other ones you try maybe once and then drop. This year I discovered a third kind; resolutions you actually follow through with. I made a video summarizing my goals on my YouTube channel where I went into detail explaining my goals, and so here is my progress.

#1: NICENESS. I’d say I’ve been doing some more things for other people this year. It was a bit difficult when I had a packed course load for my Spring quarter (20 credit hours. Survived with straight A’s and my 4.0 intact!) to find free time (or rather, free energy) to generally help people, but I did little things to help when I could. One of the things was making snacks for the people around me. I always have time for food, and I’d commonly bake cookies or brownies for my room mates and classmates just to make the day a bit sweeter. Midterms and finals are hectic, and usually everyone around me is buzzing around worrying about their projects and setting aside important things like sleeping, eating, and bathing. I’m not entirely sure how I always wind up with free time to do these things, but I won’t question a working situation too intensely. With some of that free time, I’ve been also considering becoming a peer tutor for the Fall quarter. There’s always room to improve myself as a person –which is why I have this on my resolutions– so I look forward to what I’ll do in the future.

#2: ROAD TRIP. I haven’t officially gotten to this one yet, seeing as I just recently arrived back in the area where I grew up, so I haven’t gone anywhere else yet. I’m still trying to work out the details with potentially going to Centralia, seeing as it’s a doable drive from where one of my homes is. Technically I did a road trip with my best friend Maddie driving down to my mom’s house in Florida for Spring Break, but it wasn’t really for driving and enjoying the road and the stops along the way. It was more so to get back to my mom’s house to show Maddie that town. Another possible road trip, or at least, vacation, is going to the beach with my #homesquad. They’re my closest friends from my years of public school, and the plan is currently to spend the weekend after the fourth of July at my grandparents’ beach house. Whatever I do, I’ll try to make a vlog of it.

#3: FINISH MY CURRENT BOOKS. I started the year with three books that I was seriously writing, and by that, I mean I plan to publish them one day. At the time of posting the video, I managed to already finish one book. I’d been working on it for almost six years, but boy did it feel good to finally finish that draft. It was like an adrenaline rush. I rode that success high for the next two weeks and managed to finish another book I’d been working on for about four years. In that first month, I wrote over 300 pages. In February, I began writing the sequels to both books. (My writing process is a jumbled one; I think I might write a post about it another time.) During that month, I also managed to rack in another hundred or so pages. My third and final book included in this goal, I have barely touched. Like I mentioned earlier, I just got back to my home region, which is where I need to be to write it. I have it all planned out in detail, I just need to sit down and write it. I’d do it as a part of Camp NaNoWriMo, but I’ve already gotten about 80 pages done (22,381 words) and that’s cheating. I’ll make my goal to finish it in July, however, as a part of my own challenge I’ll be making myself. (And of course I’ll be posting that here to share with you all as well!)

#4: POST MORE FREQUENTLY ON SOCIAL MEDIA. This one I’ve still been working on, however, I feel like I’m slowly getting the hang of it. I began updating and going on my Twitter more often. At the very least, I’ve made the effort to post on it. I’ve been in the process of developing my own Facebook page, and that’s been steadily going along. I also created this blog recently. With my YouTube channel, I’ve been thinking of different ideas to do and it’s just a matter of doing them. So far, I’d say I’ve been doing satisfactorily on my progress for this, despite the fact I’ve been posting a bit less to my personal Tumblr blog and my art blog. In my own defense, I haven’t had many opportunities to make much art lately, but I’ll be doing that more now that I have free time.

When I was recently thinking about my goals, I realized that half of what got me to do them was the fact I published them online. Initially, I didn’t think that doing so would push me to follow through with any of them. I’m notorious for going on a kick with something, dropping it to go to something else, and then coming back to it months later. However, this time I somehow unintentionally gave myself social pressure to do the things I wanted to. My anxiety in my subconscious was probably going, “Well, you told people you’re going to do these things. They have the proof right there. Are you gonna do it?” Granted, that video doesn’t have many views nor did I link it anywhere besides my twitter, but I guess it was enough of a push that I needed to work on them.

For some people, announcing their goals might just kill their commitment to doing them. For me, it’s the opposite; it fuels me to meet them, whether it be through both my own anxiety or my own excitement, I think I’ve been making some decent progress with 2017.