Sometimes I think people confuse optimism with exaggeration, denial, or even downright deceit. I read blog comments (somewhere else) this morning accusing realtors who reported sales statistics since the storm of being liars. Of course, statistics are statistics, so the accusation reveals the blogger’s bias against real estate agents far more than it says anything useful about the market or the realtor.
But that’s not my point. My point is that you can be optimistic and still be realistic. Every spiritual discipline since God was a boy has some version of the fundamental duality we see graphically on display in Galveston today — yin & yang, cause & effect, light & dark, devil & god, high & low — where the most beautiful days at the beach are punctuated by tent cities, mounds of debris, and still incongruous boat wreckage.
People ask how we’re doing and my mind races around how to answer. I want to say, “Great! Come see us,” but don’t want to minimize how much help we still need. Sometimes I want to say, “It sucks. I still can’t go home and I really wish I had a change of clothes,” but don’t want people to think we’re so damaged we’re not worth the effort.
So can we agree that good and bad, comfort and pain, sadness and joy, loss and prosperity can all co-exist? Then we can answer the question, “How are you?” honestly with however it is that we are at that moment and not be bound to it in perpetuity.
Which brings up today’s next most common debate: Why do we stay?
I stay because I’m a water baby. I stay because I love New Orleans and New York City, and downtown Galveston is a hybrid of the two in miniature. (Click to read what I wrote about that a year ago in The Islander Magazine.) I stay because Galveston is 45 minutes from Houston, where I can get a big city fix anytime I want. I stay because we are the most affordable waterfront community in the U.S. I stay because Galvestonians are quirky, diverse, creative, kind, enterprising, and independent, not to mention endlessly supportive of “odd.” I stay because I have made some of the best friends I’ve ever had here. I stay because I have built a business here and people depend on me, an honor I cherish. I stay because I’m not particularly interested in starting over right now. I stay because it’s my home. I stay because — well, check out this duality:
Click here to view a great video essay by a Wall Street Journal reporter who spent all her summers on the Bay at San Leon.
Why do you stay?
P.S Here’s who/what’s open in Galveston so far.