My pleasant uninteresting place

Sometimes appreciating the excellent and appreciating the local are one and the same thing; at other times they’re separate quantities. But I’d argue, deep in the shadow of Percy, that both appreciations are, in their moment, good indeed.

A Chinese curse condemns one to live in interesting and eventful times. The best thing about Covington is that it is in a certain sense out of place and time but not too far out and therefore just the place for a Chinese scholar who asks nothing more than being left alone. One can sniff the ozone from the pine trees, visit the local bars, eat crawfish, and drink Dixie beer and feel as good as it is possible to feel in this awfully interesting century. And now and then, drive across the lake to New Orleans, still an entrancing city, eat trout amandine at Galatoire’s, drive home to my pleasant, uninteresting place, try to figure out how the world got into such a fix, shrug, take a drink, and listen to the frogs tune up.

from “Why I Live Where I Live” (1980), collected in Signposts in a Strange Land: Essays, by Walker Percy, 2000

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