Monday, February 06, 2006

Strange February

I drove to Pick City today with a friend of mine to go pick up some lunch. The diner was closed; this is not necessarily a bad thing in rural North Dakota. Our menu would only have consisted of something fried on a butter-smeared bun. Haphazardly tossed on a scratched chinet plate there would be the greasy remains of potato strips--many rural diners in NoDak still call them "freedom fries." It seems that rural North Dakotans take their president's claim that the French are uppity socialist scum quite seriously. So much so, that I'm sure that the signs that advertize these fries will still bear the marks of "we support our troops" well into 2010.

So we went to his place to have DiGiorno pizza. I asked my buddy if it was delivery...

We watched the remainder of Coretta Scott King's funeral on MSNBC, while I looked at pictures I took the previous spring for a turkey hunt. I came to think, "what a thing this is...I'm sitting here, watching a funeral, eating pizza on a couch, and its forty degrees outside in February in North Dakota...I should have really shot that turkey with my bow, too..." That's strange all by itself, but it seems like the strangeness is infecting us and all of our country. Strange, in that we want everything to become the same.

When will America be so generic, that anywhere you find yourself will conviently have one-thousand channels, plastic-wrapped food, box-shaped stores and strip malls, wireless internet access to surf endless free porn? Life will have reached its apex. Our experiences will be bar-coded and we will travel place to place not to change venue but only slip into another store that is found just a few minutes away. Or if not there, just open up and paypal your way into your own.

Ironic, isn't it? We are sold the package of goods that promises to deliver freedom, happiness, and independence. But the store that sells it is just the same as new delvopments that Shanghai or Addis Abbaba wants on the outskirts to give them the same freedom, happiness, and independence. We will build ourselves into monotony. Our dreams will consist of clean-pleated, smiley-white women offering more convienience, speed, and glamor. Go to them and find that you travelled nowhere to noplace.

Maybe those rural, backwater diners aren't so bad. Maybe age, quirk and backwardness have something to them--something that allows a distinction of place. The plastic coating can't prevent the spoilage there. Maybe the uniqueness is what God is about, no matter how strange or ugly that might be. After all, there was a different air-freshener scent next to sink in the bathroom at the diner last week. Yeah, that plug-in right next to the sink with the used chew on the drain.


Anonymous said...

February is not strange when you consider it is jammed in between January and March. If we were smart, like them there Euro Peons, we would have the metric year system. They have only 10 months in a year, and if the US of A went metric, we could get rid of that damn Feb. and March and go from January to April without even getting out of breath. Imagine..your ND farmers could be a planting their rutabegas or whatever it is they grow there in ND, and have a crop by the 1st of May! Lets petition Congress to go on the metric year!

Anonymous said...

reruamnod you sometimes wish you lived on a giant rotating space tree with cotton candy for leaves?

Anonymous said...

This is one of the most thoughtful, well-articulated snippets of rural life that I have ever read.