September 30, 2014

Dear Diary,

I can’t lie, it’s been a long couple of months. I guess frustrating is the best word I could use to describe how I have been feeling of late. Oh who am I kidding? I’m not merely frustrated. Frustrated is what Spring Hill moms get when all their Nike running shorts are dirty. No, diary! I’m enraged.

Hey. I’m entitled to be a bit grumpy. I am now 312 years old. Good lord. Can you believe that? It seems like just yesterday those precious little French Canadian brothers were “settling” me, if you know what I mean — and I think you do. Oh they were cute. I mean, at least for men who wore wigs and pantaloons, but it was a different time. Of course, Bienville left me for that b*tch New Orleans, who he clearly put more effort into, so I should hate them, or at least him. But time heals all wounds, right?

Wow! Look how forgiving I sound! I do sound forgiving, right? I hope so. I hope I also sound patient. Because I have been. Granted, I was forced into it. More of a hostage situation really. But I have been patient nonetheless. (Really, I don’t care how I sound. I was just trying to be nice.)

I have sat by “nicely” the last couple of decades and watched my leaders pour money into one project after another, their little pet projects, or I guess I should say “pearl projects,” while I have sat here and basically gone to sh*t. I’m over 300 years old. A city my age needs some “maintenance” done from time to time, as the late, great Joan Rivers would say. (Wait, did she say that? Well, I’m sure she said something like that. Whatever. You know what I mean.)

Anyway, my “infrastructure” as they like to call it, is just embarrassing. I am absolutely ashamed for people to drive down some of my streets or see some of my parks. I’m pretty sure ankles have literally been broken on some of my sidewalks. If they haven’t, it’s a miracle. (Is there any other way than to “literally” break an ankle? I guess you could figuratively, but why would you figuratively break an ankle? A neck, maybe. But not an ankle. I apologize for that usage of literally.)

But what just makes my civic blood boil is that I have funds specifically set aside to fix all these problems. But the aforementioned previous leaders have basically pillaged that account and used it to build convention centers and cruise terminals and shore up the general fund.

What did I do, you ask? What could I do? I just laid there and took it like a good little city, as they would whisper in my ear “Oh baby, as soon as we get that second cruise ship, I’m going to pave your streets in gold,” the sickening stench of economic impact studies still on their breath.

You see how well that has worked out for me.

I finally thought it was going to happen when my newest leader presented his budget to the council. The money for “capital improvements” as they like to call it, was going to be used for guess what? You’ll never believe it, for CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS!! Hot diggity dog! I was already saying sayonara to crumbling streets and sidewalks, buh-bye to blighted properties and overgrown grass in my parks, and catch you later to cracked-open tennis courts and crappy playground equipment.

Finally, they weren’t just going to give me another add-a-pearl to put on my “string.” They would clean all the junk out my arteries and veins — hell maybe even my capillaries — and make sure everything would flow smoothly. And they would once again pay attention to my downtown, my heart.

No, it wasn’t as glamorous as a necklace, but someone was finally concerned about me and my health. And it was about freaking time. Because trust me, a pretty necklace on a worn-down old hag looks ridiculous. Like, blue hair ridiculous.

But then a group on the council, along with a county commissioner (Seriously? WTF?) ganged up and violated me once again, seizing MY capital improvement funds. And for what? A soccer complex and retirement plans.

Don’t get me wrong. I would love to have a bada*s soccer complex and lifelong retirement for everyone. And also a unicorn park. But this year, we were supposed to pay attention to me. To ME!!! The dude who ran for mayor promised that and the people elected him to do so. So I foolishly believed it would happen. Doh! What an idiot I am to think things would actually change!

This time I was supposed to get to lean in and whisper in the collective ear of all those folks who have stolen from me for years “you’ll get your fancy soccer complex, I promise you, sugar, just as soon as my roads are repaved,” the sweet smell of freshly poured asphalt still on my breath.

But here I am again. Same story, different decade. Just an ugly old shrew with nice jewelry that nobody even cares about. So pathetic.

On the bright side, the new litter ordinance is about to go into effect. Violators aren’t even going to get warning tickets. Nope! When nasty, trashy people throw their fast food bags or dirty diapers out of their car windows or if folks don’t maintain their properties like they should, it’s bam, $250! And they are even talking about adding a “private shaming” component to it via social media. I’m totally in love with this idea. The Scarlet

I hope I haven’t sounded too glum, diary. I do know I still have a lot going for me. It’s just sad to think how much better I could be. That’s all.

OK, I have got to go now and get ready for BayFest. I am going to try and get on Kid Rock’s tour bus. Hey, don’t judge me, diary. I may be old, but I’m not dead.


P.S. Sorry for all the potty talk but I tried to use the asterisks so the curse words would look more lady-like.