Sitting here a block from one of the two “Main Street”s in my Suburban Rust Belt city I can tell you that Bunkerville is a LONG distance call from here. When one starts to discuss the salient features of the Bundy family’s issues, my neighbors eyes glaze. It is just possible that this is a reflection of their racial culture, since my neighborhood is hardly what we could legitimately call integrated anymore. My bride and I and our next door neighbor are pretty much the last blue M&M’s in this bowl.
While I am quasi-disabled/unemployed, I have had a chance to watch my neighborhood, and I have begun to wonder. Sure *I’LL* head on out to work as soon as AFIMAC calls this next month, but, what DO these folks do all day. The last several months has been my first honest enforced idleness that hasn’t included the involvement of hospitals, or surgeons or heavy painkillers so I’m actually able to look around at what seems to be going on. Yes, temps 20-30-degrees below freezing CAN cut down on one’s circulation but STILL, how many episodes of Price is Right, Maury, or Dr Phil can one WATCH without developing some of the syndromes Dr Phil hits on so hard?
I sit and watch World and National Affairs and yep I get seriously bored (or blood pressure elevatingly angry)with that. When I DO venture out, to the beverage store or the gas station or the local watering hole, I don’t hear word ONE about what is happening in our once great Country. The topics of conversation are essentially weather, Idol, DWTS, and our local Jeopardy string winner. If I make the mistake of asking someone what they think about O’care or the Bundy’s (well there are folks who know who I’m talking about with the Bundy’s, but it’s the wrong Bundy’s) or Ukraine the MEGO factor is high enough to be concerning. (MEGO=My Eyes Glaze Over) If someone has a clue as to what I’m talking about I’m accused of being one of them Illuminati Conspiracy Chasers.
This of course begs the question, “Am I even ON ‘Main Street’ anymore?”
I don’t think that *I’ve* changed all that much, though. It’s been 30 or so years since I went back home to connect with my age and classmates and that, just now, is quite fine with me since I never REALLY connected with them when I was growing up there. I went off to high school in the next neighboring city and really lost most of my connections with my home town. Of course this was PARTIALLY due to the fact I wasn’t a 3rd cousin twice removed to the whole damn town, or related to the Horse Thief Gang that settled it.
Small towns can be a biotch. Mom taught in that town for 40 years and after retiring there took another 20 years to FINALLY be accepted there. My two brothers married into their acceptance by marrying old line town girls and going to college literally around the corner at the Mini-Ivy school there. Which is why going back to “connect” is a poor idea. THOUGH last time I was “home” the talk I heard was a LOT closer to Bunkerville than my neighborhood here. Which may be why I look at Texas so wistfully. Because THERE I was In Bunkerville, more or less.
And so the question arises “What the heck IS Main Street? WHERE the heck is it nowadays?” I would DEARLY love to tell you that it is NOT here in my not-QUITE ghetto suburb but I can’t in conscience say that. Because this town IS Blue State/Blue City Main Street. And Waterville is Red State/Red Town Main Street. We seem to have built more than one Main Street as we have torn our Country apart (thanks Washington. NICE job, that). And as I sit on my front porch or on the lawn furniture I have in a conversation grouping in my front yard (a subversive act in this town) and watch my neighbors, I begin to see what is wrong. THEY are talking about when their next check or next food stamp drop is coming, about the next connection, or how they are going to put the next set of rims on the Escalade or about the bling on their new Obama I-phone or about how they are making money nobody knows about and NONE of this includes WORK, like what my Bride does which is to roll out of the rack at 0-dawn-thirty and go off to work at a mind-numbing no-challenge job so we can eat (yes I’m addicted to that) and pay our bills etc.
I begin to wonder WHY she does what she does and WHY I will go off to wherever AFIMAC has a job for me, working 12 on 12 off until either I end up in a Institution of Higher Healing or the job ends.
The best explanation I can come up with is that I’m Red State Small Town (and so is she) and THEY’re Blue State Big City. So from MY Main Street, Bunkerville is a short drive, more like a putt. From THEIR Main Street it’s an entire universe away. And this is sad.
Your backwater ranter.