“Old Durham Town”

It was interesting coming back to Durham. Given how white-hot the area still seems to be (apparently some houses in the street next to where I lived are now going for $0.5m. That’s a bit of an outlier, but everything seems to be inching into the 300k range in East Durham), I was surprised at how little change there’s been. Yes, the ugly tower of glass is finished and there’s a few shops in there, I guess, but the Cupcake Bar has been closed since…around June last year and yet in a prime area of Durham downtown, it stands vacant and with the old signage still up. Feels like there might be a slight softness in retail in the area at least.

Then there’s this absolute unit.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Ian Pointer (@carsondial) on

From what I can tell, the place has been gutted inside. The ceiling has been ripped out, the floors taken out (but they were in good shape and original!), the HVAC system lying by the side of the house, the vinyl siding all completely removed, and every window replaced. Even the new ones I put in. They’ve even made the house a tiny bit smaller by reducing the size of the storage space in the front bedroom to recreate something of a wrap-around porch. Which I guess is appealing, but the problem with that wrap-around porch is that it wraps around two sides of a busy crossroad, so I’m not sure how much of a selling point that actually is.

Oh, and the unit has gained another chunky boi next to it. Behold!

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Ian Pointer (@carsondial) on

One plot, two houses. Not exactly where I would have placed house #2, but there you go. I might have set the house back just a little so it wasn’t right next to the bus stop, but again, what do I know?

I do think it’s funny that the tape holding the small front window together is now almost six years old.

Anyway, so that’s the main changes in Durham. I did get to meet up with many of the people I wanted to during my flying visit: Paakow, Andy, Elizabeth, Christa, Stacie, Kathy, and Luke amongst others. Perhaps strangely, although there was a sense of nostalgia walking through Durham, I can’t say that visiting made me miss the place. It’s alright! It has some things that Cincinnati doesn’t! Although Cincinnati has Jungle Jim’s and Kentucky just over the river. Admittedly, it doesn’t get to —20-30ºC in Durham. But! In Ohio, I can actually go outside in the summer for more than 10 minutes without my skin burning off. So there’s trade-offs…

Tune in back here next week for (hopefully) some news on the book front and other shenanigans.