The town that set out to be sincere

The town that set out to be sincere—2a

5/25/2008

Kenneth Burchfiel

There is a popular story that Albeit’s citizens like to tell those around them. It goes something like this. In 2006, according to an observer’s blog, a man from out of town—Chicago, most people say—walked up to an Albeit resident and asked where the nearest McDonald’s was.

“McDonalds,” the man said. “Sir, I’m assuming you’re from out of town?”

“I am,” the Chicago resident said.

“You can eat McDonalds any day that you want. But you’re in Albeit now, and my advice is that you avoid McDonalds like the plague. It’s not the local thing to do.”

He then steered the man towards Kino’s, a popular theatre-and-dinner restaurant in Spengler. Rumor has it that the man enjoyed his meal so much that he moved to Albeit a few years later. At the least, he enjoyed his meal enough to put the restaurant on the map.

“The local thing” is an important part of Albeit’s terminology, right along with “the outside thing.” For most residents, shopping at malls in an outside thing; knocking on a neighbor’s door and offering to sell a potted plant is a local thing. Watching basketball or football on TV is an outside thing; kicking back with a drink to a good game of Alball or Mensch is a local thing. Joining a glass-skyscraper corporation is an outside thing; teaming up with a group of friends to sell romantic paintings in the middle of an intersection… local, to the core.

Every so often, someone criticizes an Albeitian for being elitist and “rejecting” the world that surrounds them. This is rather humorous, as most of Albeit’s residents live rather close to the poverty line and wouldn’t be caught dead at a country club—let alone an IKEA.

To be fair, there are plenty of citizens here that love the selection at McDonalds, follow the NFL as closely as they would their child and have a cubicle for a second home. But just as Bavaria is known for its lederhosen and France for its berets, so Albeit is judged by its honest critique of the mainstream.

With all this in mind, it’s easy to view Albeit as a group of anti-social, oddball inhabitants. It’s a fallacy that most of the city’s critics fall into. Albeit does not “reject” society; it seeks to become a true society, where individuals are interdependent and love one another. This society might have been created in response to the norm, but given time, it became something greater than the negative image of urban America. Those who put up with Albeit for long enough discover a sense of warmth, excitement and mutuality that melts outside allegations of elitism or indifference.

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2 responses to “The town that set out to be sincere

  1. Pingback: Table of Contents for The Albeit Story « Schreiben Depot

  2. There is a popular story that Albeit’s citizens like to tell those around them. It goes something like this. In 2006, according to an observer’s blog, a man from out of town—Chicago, most people say—walked up to an Albeit resident and asked where the nearest McDonald’s was. “McDonalds,” the man said. “Sir, I’m assuming you’re from out of town?” “I am,” the Chicago resident said. “You can eat McDonalds any day that you want. But you’re in Albeit now, and my advice is that you avoid McDonalds like the plague. It’s not the local thing to do. He then steered the man towards Kino’s, a popular theatre-and-dinner restaurant in Spengler. Rumor has it that the man enjoyed his meal so much that he moved to Albeit a few years later. At the least, he enjoyed his meal enough to put the restaurant on the map. “The local thing” is an important part of Albeit’s terminology, right along with “the outside thing.” For most residents, shopping at malls in an outside thing; knocking on a neighbor’s door and offering to sell a potted plant is a local thing. Watching basketball or football on TV is an outside thing; kicking back with a drink to a good game of Alball or Mensch i6a0s a local thing. Joining a glass-skyscraper corporation is an outside thing; teaming up with a group of friends to sell romantic paintings in the middle of an intersection… local, to the core Every so often, someone criticizes an Albeitian for being elitist and “rejecting” the world that surrounds them. This is rather humorous, as most of Albeit’s residents live rather close to the poverty line and wouldn’t be caught dead at a country club—let alone an IKEA. The elitism that goes on here has nothing to do with wealth, social status or even intellectual merit; it’s simply a stubborn urge to create a new lifestyle, rather than adopt the usual variety. To be fair, there are plenty of citizens here that love the selection at McDonalds, follow the NFL as closely as they would their child and have a cubicle for a second home. But just as Bavaria is known for its lederhosen and France for its berets, so Albeit is judged by its intrepid defiance of the mainstream. Many in the city would argue that the true non-conformists here are those who conform to a typical lifestyle. With all this in mind, it’s easy to view Albeit as a group of anti-social, drug-gulping hippies that hate the “man” and sport neon green hair. It’s a fallacy that most of the city’s critics fall into. Albeit does not “reject” society; it creates its own. This society might have been created in response to the norm, but given time, it became as independent ab50s those who would fill its slots Maybe the best way to explain Albeit’s seeming radicalism is to express the shared purpose that many of its residents hold. The traditional Albeitian sees life not as a race for money, power, approval or control, but an exploration—a loving search into the deepest mysteries of mankind. These people may be seen as isolated, individualist and nonconformist for nonconformity’s sake, but walk into one of their homes (a common custom) or tap someone’s back on the street, and you’ll meet an individual on an adventure: someone who has journeyed far enough into the depths of humanity that they have no reference point, no like-minded confidant remaining. If they seem reclusive, it’s only because they can’t relate Those who put up with Albeit for long enough discover a sense of warmth, excitement and mutuality that melts outside allegations of elitism or indifference. These people might be riding their own tangents in life, but they share a love for mystery and adventure that places each on parallel lines Perhaps the same person who blogged about the “McDonald’s incident” says it best I’m sorry if we look culturally illiterate to you all. Most of Albeit would confess that we don’t know a halter top from a skirt, or one shirtless actor from another. We might not pack the art exhibits at noon, the cafés at three and the theatres at eight. But we do know the power of an original idea to keep us up ‘til three in the morning. We love mystery more than the tabloid writers themselves. If our cafés seem empty, it’s only because we’re holding basement meetings over homemade coffee. We’re not the “down with the mainstream” city. We’re the “do-it-yourself” city. Our lifestyle might look dull and uninspired compared to your own urban adventures, but never doubt the power of 680,589 people who want a city of their own. The important thing isn’t that Albeit is different. Plenty of cities are “different” from one another. What matters is why. Whereas other cities try to out-wealth and out-snub one another, Albeit’s residents just hope to explore, invent and experience the city they live in. In a nutshell, that’s what separates the “local” from the “outside.” 1 Commen
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    I honestly am not sure about this one. I have a different point of view. But anyway …

    cheers, Quadrant!