Jun 20, 2022, 06:28AM

Cities Paved Over

If Nashville is a far cry from California, it’s also a far cry from Nashville.

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Nashville is a far cry from Los Angeles, further still from the California mountain town I left to try and make a new start in the worst time in recent history to make a new start in America. Like the humidity over the past few weeks, inflation has skyrocketed along with interest rates, both of which are having a chilling effect on selling my house. With luck we’ll be able to carry an apartment and a mortgage for two more months. If not, I’ll console myself with the fact that at the end of 2020, I locked in a three-percent mortgage rate. And if I don’t move back happily, it’ll at least be with a sigh of relief that there’s one price on earth that won’t take off faster than a Musk satellite providing WiFi for our proxy war.

If Nashville is a far cry from California, it’s also a far cry from Nashville. So many transplants have arrived from L.A., they’ve dubbed it Nash Angeles. You read between the lines of locals’ noncommittal sentences like “A lot of y’all have moved here.” I don’t begrudge their feelings; I want to tell them I’m not bringing California values with me. I’m not even from there. I just want to live and let live and hopefully continue paying my bills on time.

I’ve enjoyed exploring the city as much as I’ve enjoyed mocking the false prognostications of economists and leaders regarding the state of the economy. As if every American couldn’t have predicted all of this with every gallon of gas and unstocked baby formula shelf. A year ago, President Toonces adamantly proclaimed there wouldn’t be unchecked inflation . Now his cop-out explanation is that inflation is way worse outside America. This isn’t true. But there will be no pushback. Progressives are as good at closing rank around their leaders as they are knowing when to eat their own.

Smarter rats already left the ship, or at least have their bags packed. Circle-back Psaki tangoed over to a cushy media job. I give Jean-Pierre until just after midterms before she bows out, too. They’re lucky; they have options. Most Americans, like me, don’t.

The tall-and-skinny eyesores that are popping up all over Music City start at 700K in neighborhoods that just a few weeks ago would’ve been charitably described as “transitional,” and a few years ago you would’ve been off-limits. Developers come in, raze one, and build two in its place. These homes are snatched up as fast as they’re put up.

Cities don’t change overnight. Nashville’s skyline is no exception. But the city I visited years ago on a high school trip from Pittsburgh to compete in a drum line competition no longer exists. I just read that a famed BBQ joint that closed during the pandemic is going to be supplanted by yet another New York chef moving here with big plans to open a “traditional” American restaurant. Bonus points for irony.

Changing character aside, Nashville is still eons better than walking down syringe-strewn streets and tent cities in Venice, past fentanyl zombies and blindfolded progressives pretending everything is beautiful. A few people wised up in San Francisco and booted Boudin. Will L.A.’s Gascon get tossed too? It’s anybody’s guess. But these are anomalies. California has been a one-party state for a long time. Nashville is decidedly purple. Trans flags adorn coffeehouses next to Baptist churches. Without earthquake-level change, Los Angeles and San Francisco are just prolonging the inevitable decline into destructive sameness.

One thing thankfully remains here: the ubiquitous trains. Every night just before bed and every morning I hear the train a comin’ and a plaintive whistle blowing. It’s not only the sound of another era of Nashville whose streets Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash walked and wrote and jammed and sang. It’s also echoes of a different America. Not perfect by a long stretch. But more interesting in its imperfection than today’s great deformity, with Southern-fried gentrified post-modern ugliness, political grifters who sell us out to the highest bidder at our expense, and focus-grouped country tunes that blend into the cheap scenery.


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