Looking for non-white folks who live in Maine as well as working class folks in Maine

In light of a discussion that started on this blog a few posts ago, I would like to ask any folks who live in Maine who are either non-white or who hail from working class or even more humbler roots to consider doing a guest post here at Black Girl in Maine.

One of the reasons I started this blog last year was because as I like to joke it was cheaper than therapy but also I was interested in connecting with others….in the past year, I regularly get emails from folks particularly people of color who are either contemplating a move  to Maine or folks who recently moved here who are in a daze…

Maine has this amazing reputation outside of New England of being a place of lighthouses, lobsters and leisure. Yet those of us who make are home know there is so much more to our state, but at the same time its a place where there can be a lot of ugliness if you are not white or poor. I will say that the first 2.5 years here were the hardest in my life, the only reason I stayed is because my position back in Chicago had been filled and I had no place to go back to, otherwise we would have left most likely.

Anyway I know there are a few folks who lurk here on a regular basis and I would encourage you to share your stories about Maine. Oddly enough BGIM started off as a predominiantly Black blog but it seems my demographics are shifting and because of that I think there is great potential fo a dialogue that can be beneficial for all.

Tuesday ramble

Rain, rain go away and how about you come back in a couple of weeks? Yep, its another gray rainy day up here in my corner of the world. I woke up early to take girl child to her first dental visit and now have a pile of work on my desk that I am avoiding. Too damn tired, so that means I have all sorts of random shit running around in my head…so today’s post has no rhyme or reason other than I was just thinking.

Riddle me this? Why do white guys bring chainsaws when they are about to get down and dirty and fight? No, I am serious, yesterday I was working in my home office and all of a sudden I heard angry voices. As an aside I now understand better why when we were looking at this house, local folks tried to talk us out of buying so close to an apartment complex. I swear 9 out of 10 times if something worthy of calling John Q Law happens on this block its because of the apartment dwellers…by the way I grew up in apartments so I am not bashing folks in apartments it just seems that in Maine, apartment dwellers are a tad rowdier than I am used to but I am getting off track.

Anyway after hearing one guy call another one a filthy MF, I realized maybe I should peek my head out the window. What did I see? A guy who lives in the apartment complex engaging with a man who lives in the townhouse across the road from the apartment. The man in the townhouse had a posse of young men, hopping out of a pickup truck who were all yelling at the lone apartment man, lets go. In case you are not hip on young folk vernacular, that would be the sounding cry that they were about to take the altercation to the next level and get physical.

Now from my view it already looked like apartment guy was about to get his ass kicked unless he was about to bring out his inner Bruce Lee. Those fellas getting out the pickup looked beefy and like they kick asses on the regular and apartment boy looked like he had not been eating his Wheaties. So if that wasn’t bad enough one of the pickup dudes runs to the side of the townhouse and comes back with a chainsaw and starts running towards apartment boy. I admit my heart fell thinking oh shit. Thankfully at about that time, the clear sounds of the police came and the two camps started to back away…guess no one wanted a ride in the backseat.

So who knows what will happen but this scene reminded me of many years ago, my ex-unit got into a verbal altercation with my landlord ( I say mine since we were separated) and the landlord ran in his house and came out with a chainsaw…sadly my ex-unit maced the guy. It had no impact on my relationship with the landlord though the ex could no longer visit our son at my house. But this incident made me think about the fact I have never seen a couple Black or Latino guys getting ready to rumble and deciding hey I need a chainsaw. Shit that makes you go hmmmmm.

So its official Jon and Kate are no more. I know you are devastated just like I was…..not! But riddle me this if your marriage were dying, why the fuck would you put that out there when you have 8 kids??? Look, I know they have a contract but at a certain point where is the common sense. Fucking cancel the contract, work on the family. Sorry, Jon and Kate but I think the college fund may end up being the therapy fund when those cute kids are older.

Also but maybe its me but a show showing each parent at a time with  the kid hardly seems tv-worthy. I mean if we are about to see Kate raises 8 (with a little help from Jon) what the heck is so different between her a million other single Mamas. Ummmm, well she is cute and white and the kids all have the same Daddy. Sorry, but I had to go there.

Lastly, before I went to bed Keith Olbermann mentioned some Republican lawmaker who was against the Summer Food Program that feeds poor kids. In fact she stated that there was no need for a 16 year old to access this program since they could get a job at McD’s…after all hunger is a great motivator. What the hell is wrong with Republicans, I swear they are becoming more unhinged.

Anyway may the sun come out so I can go back out and play between work. Until then I am in my gloomy office with all sorts of thoughts swirling around in my head.

So when are you leaving?

This is a question that I get a lot these days as my son gets closer to 18. See, when we moved to Maine seven years ago, I figured I would do my time in Maine and when he turned 18, I would head back to Chicago my beloved hometown. Only problem is that life got in the way, it started off with the untimely and unexpected death of my mother and grandmother, the birth of my daughter as well as the purchase of our first home. When we bought the house it was during the real estate boom and we figured we would stay here 5 years or so…well this week marks 5 years that we have been in this house.

The truth is that I don’t know if and when I will leave Maine. Yeah, Maine can be a hard place to live as a Black person from one of the larger urban areas that many folks of color live (NYC, Philly, LA, Chicago, etc)…I mean Chicago the city has 3 million people in the city alone compared to the 1.5 million folks that live in the whole damn state of Maine.

So in the early days here I was in constant culture shock…then there is the practical stuff, like getting your hair done. Southern Maine has a whopping 2 hair salons that do Black hair and one of em is so bad that most Black folks her either travel to Boston, go natural or do their own hair. Which brings up another tidbit about living in the whitest state in the nation, even finding hair products to do your own hair can be hard especially if you want products geared towards Black hair. We have Sally’s Beauty Supply here but poor Sally’s Black section is real small…its a good thing I use natural products and have a fondness for Aveda products or else I would be shit out of luck.

Want to buy a lipstick and you aren’t white? Up until a few years ago, a trip to the makeup counter at Macy’s didn’t net a Black woman too much but we do now have a MAC counter so that helps a lot. A sista got tired of ordering online or heading to Boston for a damn tube of lipstick.

Making a nice soul food meal with collard greens? You can find collards here but they aren’t cheap, even at the farmers market in season I pay over $2 a pound for greens and you know you need a fair amount to make a pot. So I do string beans instead of greens most of the time and forget finding smoked turkey parts out here, its a good thing I still eat pork or else I would be really shit out of luck for indulging in my occasional nostalgia for southern food.

Yeah, people do still look at me like why the hell am I here especially when I am in an area that I don’t live in…or like this past weekend when I decided to eat at an establishment that looked like they had never seen a person of color step foot.

So you might wonder, why the hell aren’t you leaving anytime soon? In a nutshell, Maine has become home, Chicago will always be my hometown but Maine is my home. I have met some incredible folks here, the week after I came home from burying my mother, the Spousal Unit and I were out eating at a local eatery. The owner asked where I had been and I explained, well when I asked for the check he told me it was on the house, it was his way of offering condolences.

I could go on with random acts of kindness that I have only encountered in Maine, acts that are so powerful that it makes the occasional idiots less of an idiot. The physical beauty in Maine is amazing, its been 7 years and the ocean still mesmerizes me and the fact that its only a 10-15 min drive to the ocean is great.

The fact that small businesses here still use the honor system is also sweet, this weekend we picked strawberries at a local farm and the farmers were at lunch but rather than close the farm down they had a box sitting on a table so when you were ready to pay, you weighed your goods and put the cash in the box. Now being a big city girl, that tickles me pink…lets be honest, that would not fly back in Chi-town. Hell folks would either steal the cash or at the very least drive off without paying for the goodies. Or as my son likes to joke, the homeless folks would be in the  fields eating up the food.

Its things though like this that really make me like Maine, in many ways its a simpler place and at this stage in life I enjoy a simpler life though I do wish I had more folks of color here especially since my best Black girlfriend here in Maine decided it was a wrap after 10 years and relocated to CT.

Plus there is the practical issue that should I leave Maine, where do I go? Going back home doesn’t make much sense since I don’t have a job or home to go back to. Hell, both my brother and father live in bachelor style apartments so they couldn’t even put us up while we get settled. Then there is that pesky issue that while the Spousal Unit is self-employed it costs more to live in Chicago and I can’t take my job with me, of course the fact that I now have a house for life provided I pay the taxes and insurance are all good reasons to stay a while.

No, I am in no rush to head back but I would like to see my financial situation get to the point that we can visit more often. So guess I won’t be leaving anytime soon.