9 July 2008

Small Town

When I get back from camping I feel like how Little Richard sings. Enthusiastic. Is it the fresh air, the flaming skulls flickering in the fire, the sky thick with stars, the night thick with bats, the tent sex or the cooler full of cold beer that makes me feel so good?

Maybe it is just the reminder that the city can fuck right off that makes me feel like jumping up and down. You city fuckers think you are so cool, paying your taxes, buying this, buying that and complaining about plastic bags. Heavens to Betsy!

Sonja and I live in the city too, if you consider Steepleton to be a city. We live in the city but we look forward to the day we move out. We took the time to stop in several small towns on our way to and from the woods. One day we will move to one of the small towns on the edge of the forest.

A pub owner will be pleased.


Jon said...

I am undecided. Sometimes I walk around SF and think what a swell place it is. I could live there easily. I could partake of it and abstain from it as I see fit. I would live like a king. When I lived there I felt like the only time the whole city wasn't in my face it was because my face was being rubbed in dogshit.

At the other extreme, I have friends in Boron, way the fuck out in the desert. It's an hour drive through featureless sand and sagebrush to get to a grocery store that sells fresh produce. The town exists because one of the world's only known deposits of Boron. The mine is what the whole town is about. That and Edwards AFB, "The Gateway to Area 51." My friend's dad retired from the Air Force and worked at Edwards as a civilian employee for 30 years. He loves to obliquely mention some remote location, "over the hill" and then say, "That would be talking about Groom Lake, and I'm not allowed to do that. Yuck Yuck." Boron has about 500 people, eight churches, two motels and a liquor store. Ore trains roar through the center of town several times a day. You can see the hill where the AF tests rocket engines. I mean big ass ICBM Mercury Space Shuttle rocket engines. Periodically they fire one up and the whole town shakes. Also, the AF has a special exemption that allows them to overfly the town at supersonic speeds and as low as 500 feet. If nothing else is rattling your dentures you can look forward to an experimental jet screaming overhead so low you can see the pilot's face, followed by a sonic boom that knocks all the china off the shelf. I really like it there. I must have some bad white trash genes in me because there's nothing to explain it except the call of the blood.

If you're ever there, go to the Mexican restaurant. It's also the only bar in town. All of the astronauts drink there. They have all kinds of signed AF memorabilia signed by authentic space heroes. The story is that it's a money laundering operation for some very heavy Mexian Mafia guys. I've met them. They are charming. Some guy broke in there a few years ago. He tried to steal the safe. A few days later he was found in his basement. His mouth was taped shut. His hands were taped behind his back. His legs were broken. His feet were touching the ground, but he was hanging by a noose around his neck. The sheriff walked around the body and ruled his death a suicide. I guess the boy was despondent or something.

Don't let anybody tell you small towns are boring. Boron is totally punk rock.

Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

Holy crap. The good citizens of Boron may have to drive an hour to buy a cucumber but I bet they do not have to leave town to buy a bag of dope.

In Canada small town life differentiates from city life in one way: life is more extreme. Small town folk smoke more, drink more, fight more, drive faster, sleep less, swap sex partners more often and go to church less than the 80% of Canadians that live in a city.

They are great fucking people to play hockey with; not so great to play hockey against.

Jon said...

Yeah, lots of dried up looking guys standing around outside the liquor store. They seem to favor tattoos that say "SoCal", Like, big, on their stomachs. At first I thought maybe they needed to check each other's stomachs to figure out where they were, then I realized that they were to let you know where they fit in in prison. guys like that are always getting paroled into fucked up little towns in California. It's one of the reasons why cities don't seem so bad. Small towns are either quaint little tourist enclaves or nightmare meth hells. Actually, I'll bet it's easier to get crank in Boron than weed.

When I lived in Detroit, we were always a little nervous about going drinking in Canada. Canadians were, in some ways, way more intense. More likely to go off on you over nothing. Way more likely to get in your face with some opinion that you didn't need. That kind of thing.

Then I began to understand that they were also way less serious than people down here. They might insult you to your face, or blindside you for looking towards the end of the bar where their girlfriend was, but that was as bad as it got. In Detroit, everybody was cool as hell, until they snapped. Then they all started shooting. It is unhealthy to hold back too much.

A few years back, I found myself in the Northern Sierras in a little town. Kind of hopeful as to the tourist trade, but it wasn't like they'd closed the drug store and the laundromat to make room for more gift shops. It all reminded me of little towns in the mountains in New York state when I was a kid. People were genuinely polite, friendly and helpful. They didn't seem duplicitous or phony casual like most Californians. We went to a restaurant and had fried chicken with mashed potatoes, gravy and peas. I felt like I was in the world I was supposed to have lived in instead of the weird ass place where I am forced to fight my daily battles. I'm sure there were a couple of guys at the bar who wouldn't have minded giving me a fair fight and an honest ass whipping, but I was glad to see them.