Dé Máirt, Márta 20, 2007

Whiteclay part 5 (York)

We made our way to the York Wal-Mart to get a real tire change. I believe that it was Paul and Becky who tried to bring their cameras inside for sight-seeing because, hey, fucking Wal-Mart. But cameras wern't allowed inside. It violated company policy.

There is nothing inside this Wal-Mart or any other Wal-Mart that would shock you. All Wal-Marts are desinged the same, you know. Groceries on the north end, pet food at the front-south, sporting and auto goods at the south rear, etc. Everyone has been inside a Wal-Mart, everyone has been inside every Wal-Mart. This particular Wal-Mart was slightly deficiant. The lights wern't as bright, and the floors didn't shine. But there was no shocking capitalist dystopia inside, no unspeakable truth that the cameras would have revealed. So they probably have benign reasons for the no-cameras policy. Fear that they would be confused with stolen merchandise, or something.

So no evil Wal-Mart stories for you people, sorry. That wasn't the point of the trip, and it isn't the point of this series. We went beyond the interstate strip, far beyond what passes for sterility,banality, poverty, physical, cultural emptiness, drudgery, nihilism, surrender, to most people. Never mind Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is just a symptom; a major complication, to be sure, but not the disease. Never mind Wal-Mart.

Except there was this field, between Wal-Mart and the interstate, filled with trash; maybe a thousand plastic Wal-Mart sacks, maybe more, processed food wrappers, a crushed and emptied six-pack here and there. Moldering porn? Condems? Needles? probably, if we had taken the time to look. It was just that kind of a field. A field for fourteen year-olds to explore each other, sixteen year olds to drink and fight, a field for vagrants of all ages to do all of the above. It's been said that the most crime-addled spots in America are the parking lots and environs of Wal-Marts. A field for everything that doesn't happen in small towns; savage beatings, the occasional murder, teenagers making love. A doomed and blessed field, a field on the short-list for euthanization, soon to be replaced by a Lowe's or a Menards or another gas station/Burger King. A field to be paved over while there are still some vestigial corn-stalks and people left to see them and remember what their grandparents dreamed about, instead of being left to wilt into dust as the Nebraska summers start to elbow each other and the breadbasket refuses to give anymore, and the unsullied virtue of the Heartland is nothing but fertilized dust and decaying Wal-Mart Supercenters and no one will remember the tax breaks, the groundbreaking with the mayor in his hardhat and the high school band playing Hail Varsity and the kids drinking miracle potions to pass the piss-tests and secure their futures in the tire and auto department and the silly malcontents complaining about things like culture and fair wages and dignity.

We ate lunch at Runza and my hangover was more or less cured. Perhaps I was a bit over-analytical in that field.

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