Dé Céadaoin, Bealtaine 28, 2008

I Think I've Made My Peace With North Platte.

I've always found those who think that one is not a true patriot unlessone thinks that the U.S. is superior and entitled to exert its will rather strange. We love what is ours because it is ours, without justification.

And yet I have never been able to feel that way about my hometown. The Marilyn Manson Hoodies Nickleback on the jukebox, and pathetic alpha-male tattoos have never reminded me of anything but my wasted years, and I hated it all and them all.

But now I think that, yes, I do feel warm towards these folk. It isn't love, neccessarily. But I can emphesize with their anger, their confusion, their rage/envy towards those places that are not at the edge of the world.

I've told my family that my hair is unkempt because I hate barbers. I can tell that they think I'm just being flip; that they are unable to comprehend that I really would suffer all of the social liabilities that come with wild hair rather than suffer five seconds of barber talk. Fine.

My father stays up watching soft-core Cinemax porn after mom goes to bed, and exaggerates my grandmother's memory problems. Fine. She is in her eighties, and clearly is losing it; but it is also clear that she will go to her grave with a basic understanding of what is happening to all of her descendents and their spouses. She is aware enough, and Grandpa faces death with all of the courage and grace that Catholicism promises it will give us.

Dad liked "No Country for old Men." Mom found it unberably strange. It's kind of funny, because mom is the smart one. But she is also deferential to a fault. Always searching for concensious and normality, a mother if you will. My father, rightous defender that he is, almost certainly didn't approve of the bad guy getting away, but he is also the kind of man who would have had a gutteral understanding of Cormac McCarthy's bleakly defiant masculinist vision, that one must protect one's family from death incarnate not in spite of the fact that it is futile, but specifically because it is futile.

I've learned to love the space that a western town gives itself; the wide streets that are dead by ten o'clock, seemingly every yard big enough for two loud, raggady-ass, dogs, the new butt-rock radio station that will help ol Flatrock get over its inferiority complex towards even its peers; other outstate market towns like Grand Island or Norfolk.

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