Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Goodbye, Maine.

There's much forest in Maine, more than any other state in the US. If you randomly parachute into ME, the odds of landing in mother earth's lap is about 1:8, which improves marginally in the winter. People love the outdoor life. This is the land of Acadia, a place for camps and hikes, and is so full of summer life. Yet ME is also the resting place for fallen heroes who have always arrived quietly from distant lands - Korea, Vietnam and Iraq. On rare and lucky occasions at Bangor Airport, you get to see the tired but elated troops walk safely home after a tough tour of duty in another one of those quagmires. And there are other days, when the same faces wait to cross the pond on the orders issued by generals and politicians. Bangor, is an important logistical point for such overseas operations. You can't get a decent runway more north-east in the mainland US.

Nothing sensational happens in Maine, and yet the first events at dawn on 9/11 unfolded at the Portland airport, and at dusk, a small airport-town in Newfoundland, just north of Maine improvised splendidly as they hosted several international flights that were ordered to land as soon as they touched North America. We border just one US state, and I cheered in vain for the 2010 Canadian Edelman team who turned out to be from the 'hood (New Brunswick).

Maine is a strong blue state which elected not one but two red senators, grumbled about it, and then decided to elect a red governor and grumbled even more. ME actually voted against FDR in 1936. Tough times makes for tough decisions. ME always scrapes the bottom in terms of the other green - business-friendliness, and most Mainers struggle through these tough times, as people seem to put up more and more of their possessions 'for sale'. Yet it's hard to get angry at people here after a bad day at the office - even the cable TV operators here are so damn friendly and helpful. The post-woman delivers mail flawlessly in her USPS car on her route, and come winter, very politely asks me to do something about her postbox, even though she knows the answer. Her nemesis is the ubiquitous snow-plow truck whose demon drivers perfectly take out every postbox on their TSP routes for fun. Its a game where Stephen King's creatures rule the streets of Bangor at night, and blissful peace returns at daybreak. There is this duality about Maine that will be missed.

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