Monday, November 08, 2004

Wasted Little Town

I'm driving this morning, driving into nowhere, to where I work, a town known as Claremore. I grew up here. It was not a bad childhood, but I outgrew this town; there is no place in this town for me.

I am driving towards this complex of corporate logos and its minions of eager followers. All hail the Golden Arches! All hail the Supercenter! All hail our apathy! "A strip mall for every neighborhood"...the words that seem to slip from the insincere ramblings of the local politicians, or things that they might say, in between acts and words of bigotry toward those who are different.

I pass a Police Officer as I enter Claremore; a car has been pulled over in front of him. A black man, casually dressed and somewhat disheveled, stands beside his old and well worn automobile. This is the reason he was pulled over. Black man + old car + shabby dress = THREAT TO SOCIETY, according to the limited perceptions of Smalltown, Midwest, USA. In reality, the equation reads like this: Black man + old car + shabby dress = VICTIM. Is prejudice dead? It is celebrated, I think, in the heart of the Midwest.

I pass every fast food deathtrap as I navigate through traffic. In every strip mall, there is some method for "gaining quick cash", and ten other ways to spend it. I look at the faces in the passing tombs, at stop lights, the intersections, the sidestreets. They all have numb expressions. Some are talking on cell phones. Some stare at an invisible wall. No one smiles. No one cares.

People driving ridiculous automobiles that are oversized, overpowered...and no one truly needs such an automobile. The man who drives the one ton truck with the diesel engine, he never tows anything, nor does he haul anything. The overpriced SUV is nothing more than prestige. Very few actually serve a purpose. These are automobiles that take away from its environment, and people flock like brainwashed Nazis to the local dealership, ready to inflict death upon their neighbors and upon Nature. No one really needs a Hummer. These same people drive in a manner that is rude and inconsiderate of those around them. They believe that such a vehicle warrants status, and that anyone else is insignificant. Their driving behavior is reckless. The police never stop these people...only the victims.


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