When I put my house in San Francisco on the market in 2016, my neighbors saw the “for sale” sign. They told me that they were sad to see me go and asked for my destination. I said the Carolinas and immediately I was met with hostile shouting, “They are going to kill you out there. They don’t take too kindly to people like you.” And so on.
Like me? I guess that’s me for being Asian or gay or both. Well, it’s 2019 and I’m on my third year here. I have met the nicest people in the world. And yes, they knew that I’m Asian or gay or both. They called me sir and went out of their way to help me. Though, in the beginning, they were extremely curious to know why I left San Francisco and moved to a tiny town in the country. “Why? Why would you want to leave a big city like that and move here? I always wanted to visit there. Maybe someday. There’s nothing around here. Can’t imagine anyone would deliberately want to live here,” a confused Lowes cashier rambling. I told them that I worked my butt off in San Francisco just to pay the bills and property taxes, like a rat on spinning wheel. Sure, I lived in the city but I was too damn tired from work to go out anywhere. I spent my weekends sleeping on my couch for years. It was either move, or look into coliving with someone in San Francisco, I looked around at some of the coliving situations on sites like Urbanests to decrease my monthly spending on bills, but I still felt I needed some real personal space so I opted to move.
Instead of streets filled with homeless encampment, I get to see miles and miles of green trees. People are very laid back here and they would stop and talk to ya, instead of being in a big rush like city folks. There are hardly any cars on the road. There’s plenty of parking near the front doors of all the stores. I live on the border of North and South Carolina – an hour from Charlotte and an hour from Greenville – just an hour to the airport. It would take me the same amount of time to get to the airport in San Francisco but without the traffic and the stress. Oh, and people take pride in their properties around here. No matter how rich or poor, they all kept their lawn mowed and houses in tip-top shape. Of course, there are a couple of houses with old rusty car parts covered their front yard, but there are also mansions with gated driveways. Overall, it’s pretty much middle-class families here.
I haven’t run into a white supremacist yet. No one looked at me with hatred or disdain. Believe me, I was on the lookout for it because I was told by everyone I knew (including strangers) in San Francisco. CNN told me there are white supremacists everywhere outside of CA and NY, and this country is filled with racists and homophobes. I was a little nervous the first year here. Now, I realized I’ve been lied to.
Our small town has only one State Farm insurance office and it runs by a super friendly black male agent and an extremely talkative white southern belle secretary. A few years ago, I walked into the feed store for the first time because I had to buy hay for my 3 goats in the winter. Four large white farmers were chatting in the back of the store. I was a little nervous because they looked like the kind of people city folks warned me about. Then came in a black man and I was extremely curious to see their reaction to us. The black gentleman walked straight up to them and there were loud flurries of greetings and handshakes. A super cute stud in his 20’s came up to me, “Sir, is there anything I can help you with?” I could think of a few things but nervously ask for hay instead. Like everyone here, he was very nice and courteous. He insisted on putting the hay in the back of my truck by himself, “Sir, that’s my job. Now you have a great day.”
There are plenty of gay people here out in the open and no one cares. Pet store owners, bed and breakfast owners, town councilmen, doctors, waiters, etc. Too many if you asked me. Just kidding. Here in the country, the majority of 30’s & 40’s gays left for the big city and the remainders are the 20’s & older gays. The 20’s gays can’t afford to leave the area and the older gays have moved back to retired or stuck in a hetero marriage with grown kids. I would have large dinner parties where I carry on conversations with the older gays about life and travels while the 20’s gays dance around and dare each other to strip off their clothes.
Anyway, without getting political or too preachy, I hope everyone has a chance to get out of one’s bubble and talk to people face to face. Get your info from the source. Do not allow others (including the media) to do the thinking for you. Telling you who you are, who hates you and who to hate. Maybe y’all know the saying, “When you point one finger, there are three fingers pointing back at your butthole.”
PS: Here are some photos of my new life. I’m a lucky son of a bitch :)