Saturday, December 01, 2007

JAX

The City of Jacksonville, Florida has a guest column over at EDSBS, and it is well worth the read.

I'm sure Dante will be commenting shortly. Matter of fact, Owed Many Beers may even chime in on this one. Here's a little backstory.

When you go almost anywhere else, if you're from Georgia, you are From Atlanta. Telling people that you grew up "near Jacksonville" elicits a confused look, as if they want to say "stupid redneck, Jacksonville is like, in Florida or something" (because many of them don't actually know). But Jax doesn't fit that Miami-Tampa-Panama City Floridian mythology, so they hold their tongues, nodding and smiling at their new stupid redneck friend.

But when you grow up in Coastal Georgia, you're growing up either In Savannah or Somewhere Near Jacksonville. Not that growing up Near Jacksonville means much of anything, because, unlike most cities that dominate their surrounding areas (see also: In Savannah; From Atlanta), Jacksonville will just leave you alone, let you listen to their radio stations, sell you beer on Sunday, and sell your local ne'erdowells all the imported cannabis they can fit into a trunk and bring back through the Camden County roadblocks. More on the Camden County angle from Dante and OMB in a moment.

I always loved Jacksonville, though, because of the way they go about things. Any city that has the balls to put up with the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party for so many years deserves a significant amount of street cred in the first place. When they found out they were hosting the Super Bowl some years back, they responded by tearing up their entire intracity infrastructure, including interstates, and rebuilding them for the game. They had a radio station in the 90's that played alt-rock and hip-hop in the same format, and would play real heavy metal at night. They introduced the first releases of a band called "Limp Bizkit," back when that sound was fresh, never realizing what they were unleashing on the world. The mayor of Jax was discussing development at one point and said that, while they welcomed investment, they would not tolerate becoming the next Atlanta, which touched off a huge rivalry. One of the best music venues I've ever been to was Jackrabbit's, though for the life of me I can't remember where it was - I just remember that I inexplicably had to cross two or three major bridges to get there.

But I never went there a lot. I lived 45 minutes away from this rather large city for most of my life, had a major ex-girlfriend who is from there, and have maybe been there only 20 times. I've been to Waycross, Georgia about as many times, and Savannah always won on the day trip debate if a choice had to be made.

So I have to take the city's word for it when it comes to sense of self. But my trips there always had to do with watching rock and roll or going to a beach or buying beer on a Sunday, so my impression of the place is a little warmer and fuzzier than the self evaluation.

8 comments:

Leigh C. said...

As a gal whose ancestry is from South Georgia on my grandmother's side, it's sad to me how many people think Georgia = Atlanta. Then again, according to "Futurama", eventually Atlanta will be nothing more than one giant air hub. The whoooooole city, people...

S.A.W.B. said...

Never has there existed a suckhole so great as exists in the form of Jacksonville, FL. Have you seen the landing? Have you smelled the coffee plant? Have you been out to the 'beach'? Ok, great. You've seen everything that Jax has to offer. Run while you can.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Hey, now, there is nothing wrong with a giant coffee roasting factory in the middle of your city...I grew up across the river from Brunswick, there are worse smells. Far worse.

The Landing is a place I've never been, so I can't comment on that, and I always enjoyed the beach down thataway, too. Never had to go far for the beach in my young days, though...

sophmom said...

LOL (at the comments). For me JAX was a turnaround, occasionally a layover (by the airport and not for long), but mostly a place I had to drive through to get to St. Augustine when the boys were little and Mama kept a place there. I'm not completely sure why the guest poster at EDSBS is so damn mad at JAX. Maybe he just doesn't like the ACC? ;)

Dotcalm

sophmom said...

Got your Sugarbowl tix yet?

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

There won't be any telling my Sugar Bowl ticket situation until they actually show up in the mail. Luckily, I don't have to book a flight or get a hotel room, heh. There are advantages to this "living in New Orleans" thing that relate solely to college football.

Last year, working at the burrito stand round about the Sugar Bowl, I spent extra time making tasty dishes garnished with peppers and sauce that read "LSU" and "FND." My coworkers couldn't figure out what I was doing, but the tips they got from the Tiger fans weren't complained about...

It is almost as fun as growing up a Georgia fan "near Jacksonville" and working at a notorious tourist restaurant on Island City the weekend of the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.

Location, location, location.

Leigh C. said...

Yes indeed. My husband's Hawaiian cousins are gonna love our location this New Year's, that's for sure.

the lady said...

oh dear sawb,
you forgot the most gorgeous beer store/old freakin nasty motel that was our favorite stop a year or two!!!
and the monkeys at the zoo!!! that's a memory i'll never be allowed to forget...