Saturday, June 23, 2012
America lives. She is not dead, just in the vapid shimmery stinkhole of California. Don't get me wrong, I love my hometown area, my mountains with her plethora of flora and fauna, her brief but interesting history, her geology, her sights, her personality. I am mountain folk through and through, in my blood, my vessles tangle as the topo map of the area. I even have some love for her smoggy hot valleys, because there is good food and shopping and dirt in the winter ***************** But Cali is not America, not even the America of my youth in the 80s when my state was part of America. She is now some place that is shimmery on the surface but hollow and dangerous on the inside. Everyone has the Californian dream, to become an actor, live like thr stars, drive a Bentley, hobnob with celebs, be tan in December, sip lattes and nosh on fusion sushi and wear the newest fashions. Live life in the fast lane. But that life comes at a cost. ****************** When I was a child, I remember summer carnivals in town, parades, bbqs at the softball field. But even that was rare, and on the outskirts were tweakers and homeless and garbage strewn in the gutter, smog wisping into thr canyons. Now, I go to the valley because the carnivals and parades and things to do (other than petty theft and heroin) are no longer near home, heck they aren't even down the hill. All down the hill offers is empty, surface level fun like shopping at super walmart, then going to starbucks. No culture or family events. Just consumerism and bling, glitz and glamor but no substance. Is this the world I want for my son ? Why do so many peiple luve here? Do they know no better? Do they not see past the paper thin shiny exterior? Do I want my son to decide if to befriend the gang bangers or the critter drufggies? Steal stuff or get high? No ****************************** . See, to me, America is the American dream, which is multifaceted, individual, and too long to define here. But part of it is Americana. Not Paris Hilton clones, 7 year olds texting and wearing mini skirts, 8 year olds practicing grafitti fonts, parents competing on who can own the priciest SUV. Americana is a feeling, a simple but wholesome one, of love offsmily, God (no matter your interpretation or practice), personal freedom amd rights, want for a better life, and love of our country and her natural land. Americana is a town of moatly mom and pop shops, little ethnic enclaves, weekly festivals, art, history, science events, local foods tilled from the earth in view, hardworking peop le. Americana is here, where I am at in small town Indiiana. Chicago is a halfhour yet a universe away, her crime and grime aren't carried by the wind, embraced by all like in L.A. and all of Cali. Here you can drive past a mom and pop town, a few blocks all local, with an event round every corner, a carnival, a farmers market, a wedding, an art displayAm ************* Aericana is where I went last night, at 9 pm in a grassy, trash free grassy park with bleachers and a projector playing a family flick. People broufht popcorn and soda and picnic blankets. Kids chased eachother and rode their bikes unattended and caught fireflies while parents chatted over some fruit punch and a barking puppy dog. Teens converged on the outskirts, cel phones and earbuds away, laughing and hanging out, asking passerbys for candy. I wondered, why are these kids riding their bikes without parents nearby? Wheres security, and the signs banning booze or drugs? Wy is no one too loud and why dont I hear profanity? Why is the trash only in the trash can? How can the cool kids actually be at the park, withinview of their parents? Why arent the teens asking for alcohol or cigarettes? Wheres the grafitti and gang bangers and sagging pants? Why does everyone seem to have pride inthis town, this park, being here? My reverie was broken as I heard a bam! Bam! And froze.... gun shots had ruined my perfectly nice 1950 s era moment and I grabbed my son, ready to hope I made it to the car, only to see fireworks shoot into the sky, reflecting gold into the clouds, highlighting the beauty of the moon, as fireflies made their own show at my feet and I breathed a sigh of relief and smiled. I was so tainted by my California lovin there, that I forgot, America still exists.