There’s an old Irish expression from back in the Famine days, “Hunger is a good sauce.” As hungry as I was as a kid, I only read about The Famine in books. The total opposite of the old adage that a fat Christmas leads to a tight grave…. That I also read in a book. While not fat, I see those about me who are. We as a species are built for extremes. Since Mother Nature gives but too much of everything, both bounty and want. We speak about children in the United States going hungry. However, Hunger is not yet upon us in the Western Lands. The Cities of the Red Night continue to twinkle, to burn brightly with activities, and in some places, to actually burn since they’re on fire. A few thousand acres lost are nothing in the amber waves of grain and purple mountains majesty. A few more states are added to the disaster areas of our nation. Some children go to bed having had only a Twinkie, others area packed tight with meat products, pink slime or other “organic” food stuffs. We are a vast landscape, so what is it that some areas are blighted? That some cities are flooded, that Asian insects eat the trees from other areas, or that we have to fence off more land to protect ourselves from our creations, the mines and landfills that creep upon us. A few more places become too polluted to drink the water or breathe the air. Somewhere a child grows cancer as fast as she can grow up.
The summer heat is upon us. My smart phone says it’s 94 and feels like 97. Weatherdotcom says it’s 95 and feels like 95. Hot97 (blazing Hip Hop and R n’ B says it’s 97 and feels like 101.5). Stifling humidity reminds us that summer is indeed hot. People are Facebooking all over the town about heat-related activities, things to do when hot, or about how hot they are. We had the dry spring to kill the seadlings and cool months to prevent the tomatoes growing until now, not as predicted (I had figured on a hot dry summer and drought, which we haven’t gotten…. In the Northeast…. Yet). The $5 gallon petrol is not upon us as we were warned. Coffee is still affordable, unlike what the “experts” claimed. Gold is still a sucker’s game, and not the fluctuating commodity it has always been. Other predictions are also wrong. We got Obamacare. We didn’t get Glass-Stengel. We can still feed, despite that our corn and oats are now withering in the sun. We’ve become a nation of Hungry Ghosts (the egui) pushing as much as we can into our mouths, attempting to fill out huge bellies, but our necks are tightening about, constricting passage, an asthma of all wind, food, and shit pipes. We still are booking trips, even if those destinations have burned down. The old Irish expression, hunger never sleeps, may again carry meaning, and no, there’s not an app for this because no little smart phone can solve those old problems, the problems of living and breathing in the actual world, and god-particle or not, we’re still the same fucking monkeys we’ve always been.
The monkeys are apparently still feeding down in the Lone Star State. Still thinking big. Eating big, and getting huge as they drive their SUVs about a nation turning into asphalt and embers. I arrived in Dallas for [a work related event] in stifling heat. The rental car I was in with my colleagues allowed some comfort as we twisted and turned about the city, that is, the highways that comprise the only landmarks on the flatscape punctuated by the same glass block buildings I had seen in Beijing in 1999, only these weren’t completely filled, a fine trade in For Lease and For Sale signs reminding me that this was not Beijing anymore, it was the nation of weasel words and tipping economies, big sky and girls with fake tits and plastic crotches.
Driving about the landscape it was hard to see this space as anything worth fighting for. This? This monster was what we Drill-Baby-Drill for? This sprawling idiotocracy what we launch wars to preserve? We work hundreds of hours a week to keep this machine spinning, so we can have a taco the size of our head and a Margareta of blue corn syrup and benzene? I spoke to an old man at the bar. I told him what brought me to town and he gave me his take on the state of the world, as old men have always done.
“And why is Detroit the way it is?”
I proposed three reasons which I have read about: entrenched unions, some say. Fear of crime, others say. That is, White Flight (c). Corporations fleeing in order to increase profit, as many others claim as factories closed down and workers were sent home, apparently to burn down their houses when they weren’t killing rhymes. I said I had heard so much bullshit over so many years that I didn’t know what to believe and didn’t care since whatever the cause, the entire city was a clusterfuck case study.
“Well, it’s no surprise. It doesn’t prosper because it’s a Democrat state. Think of all the Democrat states, and not one of them is prospering. They’re all failures because of taxes and special interests.”
I didn’t push the “conversation” knowing that it was a dead end, and knowing that for all I seem to understand of the world, he just gave me a forth reason for failure to add to my growing collection.
Well, I dun tol’ him…. Reckon you may be right, what’s happening down here?
“Economy is booming. Look about you [I looked over the view out the windows of the Resturantbarshithole at the endless strip mall fuckscape]. We got a strong economy when everyone else is feeling sick. We got the biggest everything, even the girls are better down here. Look about you, this is America at its best!”
I finished puking into my mouth, and took another swig of Old Rot Gut 49 to wash it back down. While I appreciate that the bar stool isn’t the finest place to learn about a people or a place, sometimes it distils the essence of what a place is actually about, and given the short time to spend in such a city, often provides a set of snap shots better than any backpacker who traveled “among the people” can take, even if they do the Home Stay™ with the native family andthisoldguywassocoolwesmokedpot. The golf parks, the eateries, the office space, the gas it took to heat them and electricity it took to cool them all funneled into the mouths of these sloths, rich not in their own endeavors but harvesting so many other dead souls.
I spend a few more days in Dallas, and by that I mean the hotel, the [conference center] and some corn-syrup filled restaurant (one was actually good the other one made me heavy and hate myself) or taco Tuesday bar, which one was in every strip mall. Everything but the highway closed up at 10 PM.
I am reminded of that old statement by whatsherface about there being no there, there when she visited LA. This No There has expanded like a cancer from LA, and like all things, is showing signs of stress all all the entrails are starting to starve. As Detroit was an abandoned hellscape of shattered lives, Dallas was a Mecca of Fucktards basking in our fleeting moments of petrol dominance. At this point, we need not $5 a gallon to send us over the edge. It can be just another set of wildfires. A few bad harvests, a return of Kudzoo and walking catfish. I’m not sure what is the important news story of the summer. Obamacare? The wildfires? The coming “election”? Or that we are running out of living space, and the dreams that power our nation state, that for so long drove us together and allow for simple things like running water, food, and a functioning society. Things that seemed regularly delivered in Iraq before we bombed the water plants, plentiful in Ireland before The Famine, and part of the national character of Germans before The Great War. Detroit? It can happen here. It already has.