Monday, October 25, 2010

East is east, and west is west, and the wrong one I have chose.**

Did you know that in most -- okay, many -- cities the north and west sides are more affluent than the south and east sides? I’m given to understand that the root cause is related to the fact that the prevailing winds on our planet flow from west to east and from north to south, a phenomenon due primarily to the rotation of the earth and the tilt of its axis. So by building their homes north of the smokestacks, the factories, the stock yards, the lumber mills, whatever, the industrial barons of old avoided having their nostrils and the nostrils of their families offended by the smells and odors of what put money in their pockets in the first place. And their skies were clearer and less polluted as well. Think Dallas. Think Philadelphia. Think Chicago. Think Houston (well, maybe not Houston; Houston stinks in all directions). I rest my case.

In Birmingham, Alabama, though, it’s just the opposite. The Magic City is built in a shallow basin, and everyone who can afford it lives “over the mountain” south of the city in the affluent suburbs of Hoover, Homewood, Mountain Brook, and Vestavia, to name just a few places. Topped by a statue of Vulcan, god of the fire and forge (who is supposed to remind observers of Birmingham’s history as an iron and steel center), Red Mountain south of the city serves as a barrier for suburbanites with delicate sensibilities. Locally it is a geographical feature that separates them that have from them that have not.

I’m kidding, sort of. But sort of not.

Having returned recently from a visit to our daughter in Birmingham, I want to make you aware of a blog Mrs. RWP discovered a while back called Birmingham, Alabama Daily Photo. It is presided over by a nice lady named Virginia who lives in one of the aforementioned suburbs of Birmingham and who spends her days dutifully recording for the rest of us the faces and places of her world. An excellent photographer, Virginia also spends a great deal of time in her beloved Paris, France, so we are often the beneficiaries of her photographic expertise there as well.

Watching this may help take your mind off slag heaps and industrial waste.

But in secret places all over Alabama, far from the prying eyes of the Department of Homeland Security, the less affluent and less fashion-conscious express themselves this way.

**[Editor’s note. This line from a song called “Buttons and Bows” is meant as a little joke. The rhymeswithplague household is located north of Atlanta. --RWP]


  1. From the title of your post, I got my hopes up that you were ready for a move to Oregon.

    I'm so glad you have finally recovered enough from the trauma of your recent trip to tell us more about what you saw way over there in the Central Time Zone.

    Believe it or not--you probably will--I pass the hours in eager anticipation of what you will say about my previous two posts, both of which are controversial, although I am somewhat concerned that people will conclude from the latter that I am insane as well. Oh, well.

  2. ephraim,manti,mayfield,town where i live><>< it, like houston<>><><<>norbest plant near by for turkeys>><no not me

  3. It's true in Little Rock (north and west, that is.) The less affluent (to put it mildly) parts of the community reside to the east and south of the downtown area.