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.
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.)
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.