For whose of you who don't know, Greenville, NC is one of the biggest cities (to use the word loosely) in Eastern North Carolina. It is located east of I-95 and north of Wilmington, NC. I know what you're thinking, "That's a pretty big area." Sure, but Greenville is all there is in this area. Therefore, let me set some definitions for you from the get-go:
- "Big City" = Greenville, NC
- "Greater Greenville" = Eastern NC
Now, I need to also let you know who lives in Greater Greenville:
- Those that were born here and will die here and don't know that there's anything better than this.
- Those that go to school here: i.e. ECU or Pitt Community College (~the same thing).
- Those that, thru stupidity or some other unfortunate incident, have become stuck in the quagmire of this God forsaken wasteland and want nothing more from their life than to leave this place in their rear view.
I fall into the 3rd category, and it is through no one's fault but my own. Let me explain (if I can).
In 1997 I was working as a retail pharmacist for Revco (now CVS). It was a nightmare and I could feel myself die a little each day I went into work. Anyway, I wanted out of retail because I figured I was on the verge of killing someone, either by an accidental misfill of a prescription or by wringing a patient's neck. I think I was much closer to the latter. I applied to several hospital pharmacies and Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville, NC was the first to call me back. "Thank God," I thought, "A hospital position in an area that isn't so bad. I did 4 months of rotations down there when I was in school. Plus, my girlfriend's from that area, another plus. It's not that bad of an area, right?"
Let me pause at this point in the story to point out that, not only was Revco working me into a state of near-delirium, but, because of said company, I was HEAVILY drinking to help me cope with the fact that I might just be a retail pharmacist for 30-40 more years.
Jump forward 2 years to 1999; I've married a wonderful woman who just happens to have grown up in Greater Greenville. I have a nice house and a job at PCMH that is probably the best job a pharmacist could have. However, I've come to realize that, if North Carolina were the human body, Greater Greenville would be the asshole. I couldn't believe that I'd ever talked myself into moving down here in the first place. It is now bordering on the year 2K2 and I'm still in the process of trying to get the fuck out of here. Why? Let me tell you. (Note: This is by no means an all-inclusive list, just those things that slap me in the face each and every day I remain here)
Traffic Makes a Big City
One of the most glaring problems with Greater Greenville hits you as you travel east on HWY 264 away from Civilization and cross I-95. You hit a taint-meat of a town called Wilson. You have to drive thru this shithole just to get to Greater Greenville. Sure, they're building a bypass around Wilson, but then they've been building it for something like 10-fucking-years!!!
So, you've made it thru the 30-minute pit-stop called Wilson, to find yourself in the Big City. One thing that is immediately obvious, upon driving around the township, is the lack of right turn lanes. Whereas a normal town has these types of lanes to prevent the buildup of traffic at intersections, the Big City seems to see traffic jams at stoplights as a sign of progress. (I can see the Big City council meetings now: "Hell, iffn' we show them out-of-towners that we have traffic 'n' such, they might figger we're as important a town as Wilson!)
Which brings me to the point of synchronized stoplights. There are none in Greater Greenville! You can not drive across the Big City without stopping at every single fucking light. The point of this? Hell if I know!!!! I can only blame it on inbreeding. Try this sometime: Time yourself from my house in Winterville (essentially, a Big City subdivision) to the sign on HWY 264 West where the speed limit changes to 65mph (which marks you leaving the Big City). I guarantee that you can get anywhere in Raleigh in that same amount of time (or very damn close to it).
ECU and the Over Inflated Sense of Self Worth
East Carolina University is a great 2nd tier State University. If you think anything other than this, you are truly deluding yourself. Sure, they consistently have a winning football program (although the embarrassing 64-61 double OT "snatching defeat from the jaws of victory" loss to Marshall in the GMAC Bowl on 12/19/01 was pretty pathetic), but it will ALWAYS be a second rate school. Don't get me wrong; by "second rate" I do not mean it's a bad school. I'm just trying to emphasize the fact that it is not in the upper echelon of universities in the state of North Carolina. It is the best university in Greater Greenville, though. You couldn't tell this to anyone in Greater Greenville. Even though the majority of ECU supporters did not go to the school and think education is for "those uppity types with their jobs and such", they will not listen to anything bad about their Purple Wave. I'm sure most of them still think they won the GMAC Bowl and that the final score doesn't really represent anything. I really don't blame these folks for supporting the local school. I mean, if you live here, you really have NOTHING else to support. If you're one of these folks, I understand your plight; just don't go giving me shit because UNC's basketball team is mediocre this year. Take my UNC degree and your ECU degree (or PCC diploma, or 5th grade remedial English certificate, et al) and weigh them side by side. I'll be waiting a week from now when you figure out which one's worth more.
Global TransPark and NC Money Drain
According to the NC Global TransPark Authority's website:
The North Carolina Global TransPark is being designed as a unique multimodal business center designed to support manufacturing, distribution, agribusiness, and transportation-related companies. A comprehensive planning effort has fully integrated air, rail, road and nearby sea transportation capabilities to serve the logistics requirements of industrial and distribution tenants and users of the Global TransPark (GTP).
This is an utter bullshit definition for the money hole in Kinston (another Greater Greenville suburb). According to a recent News & Observer article, TransPark dying a slow death (link no longer availabe), $42 million of your taxes have been wasted over 11 years on this project. It was basically designed to get investors into Greater Greenville. It hasn't worked yet, but the NC General Assembly (with the urging of the numerous Greater Greenville representatives) wants to keep throwing good money after bad to attract people to the asshole of North Carolina. I'm sorry, but you can put a pig in a dress, but that don't mean I'm takin' it to the prom! This kind of fuzzy logic typifies the thinking of everyone east of I-95. They just can't understand why anyone who's not from here doesn't want to live here. Also, if you see anyone on the road with a license plate beginning with "GTP", make an effort to point and laugh at them; they paid extra for those letters on their plate, and the money is going to this sinkhole of a program. Bwah-ha-ha-ha.
Update (6/27/10): Yeah. They're still giving money to this piece of shit. No wonder the Great State of North Carolina is in a hole. That's what happens when you chase good money after bad....FOR DECADES!!!!!
Unwed Pregnancies and "Trailer Syndrome"
This area suffers from what I like to call My-baby-daddy syndrome. For those of you not familiar with the term, "my-baby-daddy" refers to the father of an unwed mother's child. This term is becoming more popular in the Greater Greenville area. If you really want some more info on this term and what it means, just run out and rent the movie Baby Boy and you'll get the full meaning. But don't say I didn't warn you what an awful movie it is.
This invokes a profound since of horror in me and I want to get my unborn daughter out of this area ASAP before this kind of mentality seeps into her brain, making her think that such a thing is commonplace and accepted. According to figures Prepared by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, August 1999 (link no longer available), Greater Greenville is a hotbed of unwed pregnancy. Don't get me wrong, teenage pregnancy can be directly traced to the parents not educating them on the dangers of premarital sex and responsibility. In fact, in Greater Greenville, this is a vicious cycle; teenage moms having teenage moms. Kind of like the Orioles' tendency to pay washed up baseball players millions, lose, get rid of these players to free up money to sign more washed up players... you see where I'm going. What I'm saying is that this seems to have become a status symbol for women in Greater Greenville. You're nothing unless you have a baby by your drunk, out-of-work, abusive boyfriend who could give a lesser shit about you or the baby you're gonna have. This is a trend, not just in the young, but in every age group. It's just a sad state of affairs and I want to be away from it.
(Editor's note: Since this writing, it has been pointed out to me that I did not properly distinguish between Teen Pregnancy and the Unwed Pregnancy that runs rampant in Greater Greenville. Check out the Feedback section of this site for more info.)
Soon to Be "Formerly of Greater Greenville"
Because of these reasons, and many more, I will be leaving this area soon. My job here is great, but that's about the only positive in an angry sea of negatives. My goal is to get "West of I-95", preferably in the "Greater Raleigh" area (read: Zebulon, Johnston Co., North Raleigh). Like I've said, it was my decision to move down here in the first place, so I'll lie in this bed I made until I get a chance to get out of here. My current plan is to begin building a house in "Greater Raleigh" by this time next year. Wish me luck and don't let what I've said keep you from visiting me between now and when I move.