Notes from Abroad
I will be coming back to Tejas in a week or so. Can’t hack it here. I think I have finally gotten over the thing I had that made me want to be somewhere where nobody else was. I still want to be somewhere where nobody else is for therapeutic reasons, but where I am now there is nobody home. I used to consider this place home after I got alienated from my parents by my medulla and my genitals. I think I wouldn’t have been as alienated if my parents had ever accepted that they had genitals, but they never did, so that alienated me. And when I found I was as capable of reasoning out ridiculous laws of the universe as anyone else was, and I didn’t need someone else’s ridiculous laws, I got alienated. From then on, I considered this to be more of a home than I considered my parents to be.
Something very predictable has happened here. When I was last here, the farms were fairly mechanized, but the people were in control of what was happening with their economics, if not their lives and medullas. Their lives and medullas were controlled by the Lutheran Church and by the church’s concept of being a loyal American, which was the most important part of being a Lutheran. Now these farms are totally mechanized, but, at the same time, the farmers are no longer in control of their economic situation. This is the richest land in Norte Wespuichiland, but as far as I can tell it has become impossible to do any better than break even farming here now. They are totally in the grip of Detroit for parts for their mechanized farms, and farm machinery prices are more expensive than car parts—for example, I saw a wheel bearing for $56 and a washer sell for $15. The result, economically speaking, seems to be that they will be taking a loss from here on out and will only survive by slowly bleeding their vast savings accounts. (I am of the opinion that an average farmer in the corn belt has a savings account of $50,000–$200,000.) The thrifty ones will be able to make this last the rest of their lives, others will have to eventually sell their farms (perhaps the same progression as what happened in the Dust Bowl?). So anyway, they have very little farm labor any more, and what they have they don’t pay, so I won’t stay.
They have also changed from being mildly amused but friendly and open to strangers to being suspicious and hostile—as if anyone passing through was responsible for their misfortunes. Perhaps this is why Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio are such wretched states to pass through, as far as human decency is concerned, and it has just recently reached Iowa. Anyway, as I am not into repression, I am leaving for Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado, and New Mexico, then down to Tejas in a few days. There is nobody home here, anyway, just a fragment of the part of Lutheranism that couldn’t accept its genitals, and some tractor parts salesmen from Detroit.
See you soon,
This missive originally appeared in Phosphene magazine and is reprinted in The Best of Phosphene. [FREE DOWNLOAD HERE]