Wed Jun 4, 2003 8:48 am
Subject: secure in the homeland
Hi gang. This writing finds me in the old country, the United States of America.
I was called to my home town of Pueblo, Colorado on family business at rather
short notice. I am sitting in my the kitchen of the family manse writing to you.
It is most amazing to be back in the land of the free, home of the brave in
these security-conscious duct tape hoarding times. One of the first things I
heard upon landing at chicago’s O’hare airport was an announcement on the PA
from the department of homeland security, reminding us all that the security
alert status had been moved to “orange” and warning us to beware of unattended
baggage for this reason. The vile strangeness of this announcement reminded me
of a scene from “fahrenheit 451” or some other dystopian science fiction fantasy
from the 1960’s. This, my friends, was surely not the future I signed up for.
One may see that ‘security’ is a growth industry in this country now. Even the
ads on the television that used to try and persuade young people to find their
future in computers now peddle courses in “homeland security”. save me. all
sorts of nasty folks now patrol the shopping precincts of this country wearing
black and toting machine pistols in the name of ‘security’. They are no joke, my
friends, one mocks them at one’s peril.
On a less creepy note, having been away from this place for twenty years or more
I can see without prejudice that this town provided the raw material for the
landscapes of my dreams. I am re-visiting significant locations on my brother’s
bicycle, breathing in the magic prairie air, filled with delicious longing as
the wind charged by its journey over the prairie, heavy with the musk of an
approaching thunderstorm re-kindles sites of bewilderment in my being that I
thought had long since been papered over with experience.
This vacant frontier town gets me where I live. I suppose that only when we get
older do we realize that it is possible to have emotions which are oxymorons,
love/hate fear/desire disgust/fascination. Small wonder that this oxymoron of a
country, full of oxys and a hell of a lot of morons fascinates the world so.