For those of us who live here, we know it is NOT "Raleigh-Durham". In fact, if we have to have the dashes, it should really be "Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill - Morrisville -Garner" or something like that. But in reality, we have Raleigh. Durham. Period. The two are vastly different and no one enjoys those differences more than I.
At a wedding last night, we sat in the synagogue whose location had eluded us despite Mapquest and a general knowledge of midtownish Durham after living here for almost 20 years. Once seated, we enjoyed the cushy seats, the beautiful chuppah, the joy on the faces of the 50ish couple, the cellist and violinist (friends of mine - who reportedly were kicked out of the Symphony due to an intriguing personal situation that I'll not gossip about here....but the intrigue only makes me love them more), and the increasingly frantic efforts of my husband to keep his yarmulke on his Brillo-pad of a head.
As I looked around, though, I was reminded of recent trips to Durham. For me, Durham is a land of dance performances, sometimes in the nude, sometimes with leaf-blowers. Durham is the apex of the Triangle when it comes to restaurants. And that includes the CC. Durham has the Bulls, sure, and Duke, of course. But it also has the NC Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, and the world's largest selection of intellectual-looking eyeglasses and apparently lots of boutiques that sell hemp jumpers. That is the dress code in Durham, and the wedding last night was a veritable runway for the Bull City look.
So as a fellow guest encouraged me to try the appetizers, as the dinner food was sure to be "quite different", and as I watched bemusedly as the mother of the bride was whisked onto the dance floor by a trim, close-shaven lady in a three-piece suit, and as we fretted about trying to find NC 147 from our location deep within the Duke campus, I settled into the Durhamness. I chatted freely about last weekend's film festival (having seen my friend's short there), I laughed at fellow wedding guests' frustrations with Raleigh, and I noshed on various gluten-free dips and really, really lovely Malbec.
There is much to love about the Triangle, but you have to look a little harder for it than in other regions of the country. I pride myself on having looked pretty hard, and as a result have maybe even found more than the average citizen. After 17 years, it is getting easier to find things to love.