North Carolina

I fell asleep to crickets, and to the sound of the wind poking at the curtains. I woke up to heavy silence. It was so much different from either my home (fan always on to block the traffic, the neighbors, the sirens screaming up Fell) or Erik's (the N, the N, the N).

Monique recently bought a house here in Winston-Salem, where she teaches at Wake Forest, and I decided to come out and visit her. On the way back from the airport in Raleigh last night, we stopped in Carrboro for dinner, and I watched the quiet, sleepy, rain-soaked street through the window as we ate.

As we drove into Winston last night, Monique told me that after hating it here for the first year ("I mean, I really, really hated it"), she's actually come to like it, and I can understand why: because it's possible to live well here, to buy a beautiful house for less than what you'd pay to rent a shitbox in San Francisco; because there doesn't seem to be the sense that if you're not always busy, you're either lazy or something's amiss; because well into September, you can fall asleep to crickets.

I'm off soon to go for a run, something I'd been avoiding at home because I got so tired of chasing through the same dirty streets over and over. Something tells me I won't need to dodge piles of excrement (human or animal) on the sidewalks here (though I will report back to confirm that).

By the time I fly home on Monday night, I may well be ready once again for the dust and bustle of SF, but for the time being, I'm happy to be thousands of miles away from it.

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