Wednesday, January 18, 2012

yoknapatawpha county comes to oregon


No one had ever called her beautiful -- or even pretty.


Except maybe her father.  But fathers are required to see what the world cannot see.  And, in her case, the world didn’t.


She was right out of a Faulkner novel.  In her 40s, but looking as if Social Security retirement checks had blessed her checking account for years.


Looking uncomfortable, she joined the middle class crowd on the HUT shuttle to the Portland Airport.  They were not her crowd.  As far as she was concerned, they were all part of the Jay Gatsby set.


She had built a cushion of weight and words to protect herself from their judgment.  And they then judged her for both.


Three in the morning is a time for bus silence.  Even the electronic crowd snoozes at that time of the morning.


But not her.  She had boarded the bus with a boyfriend.  Both of them trailing a scent cloud of cat urine.  The telltale sign of veteran methamphetamine users.


And that may have explained the constant flow of words.  Like a silk worm building its defensive cocoon.


For some reason, people who seem to be unable to control their urge to speak also seem to have volume issues.  What we often call drunk deafness.


The bus had barely pulled out of the hotel when she started her soliloquy to her almost unconscious boyfriend.  The trip was too long for her.  Her feet hurt.  Her sister did not understand her.  And countless other topics that her unwilling audience on the bus could not understand because of her tendency to squawk out syllables.


At her most tragic, she took out her mobile telephone, activated the GPS, and then carried on a conversation with it.  The GPS bested her.


Her little drama ended in tears at the airport when she could not find her shooooooe --– pronounced as if she had turned herself into a Patriot missile.


As irritating as she was, I started thinking about what had brought her to this place.  Nature had not imbued her with natural beauty.  And she had then created a personality to avoid any other hurt.


She was one of God’s creatures -- a member of the human race -- deserving of  respect.  But I suspect she found the world to be a dangerous place.  Not a place to be enjoyed.


And that thought saddened me.  Here I am on my way back to Mexico -- fully looking forward to my time there as another moment to be enjoyed to its fullest.


For that, I am thankful this morning.
  

26 comments:

Rainie Baillie Bowie said...

Oh Steve, I so admire your writing. It is such a treat to read your blog.
The woman you described? In West Texas I've heard her described as "nearly pretty."

Petwalker40 said...

Great writing..... I bet you are really looking forward to returning to Mexico. I am starting to get bored in this paradise. Maybe I will go back home soon. Patricia

Felipe Zapata said...

Allow me to take issue with you: Simply being a human being does not entitle one to respect, in my book.

That aside, interesting yarn.

Karen McGivney said...

That's so sad. She's probably mentally ill or handicapped in some way and this is how she has come to survive. But she is God's creature and Jesus is the answer for her need. At least you saw her as a human being, many would only view her as a waste.

Petwalker40 said...

You might like this little story. Five days after the first of the year my friend told me there was a murder in Melaque. I was with another friend and we were on our computers. He was finished with his business so I asked him to check the murder rate in Melaque. He looked at it and said, There have been five murders since the first of the year. A murder a day. WOW< That was a shock. I said, Are you sure? Yes, he said, Five murders in Milwaukee in five days......

Marc Olson said...

Glad you're on your way home. Thanks for the thought-provoking story.

NWexican said...

I'm going to guess that it was the weather that loosed the unseen moon? I know the cold, rain and snow sure make me contemplative and loopy.

Kim G said...

Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Saludos,

Kim G
Boston, MA
Where we ALWAYS travel with earplugs.

Steve Cotton said...

It coulda been sumpin' I 'et.

Steve Cotton said...

And I am glad to be there.

Steve Cotton said...

But I would miss some good material.

Steve Cotton said...

Great story. I wish it was mine.

Steve Cotton said...

I enjoyed my visit north. But it is good to be in Melaque. Copper Canyon at the end of the week. Then Red China two weeks later. Maybe I can stave off the beach boredom.

Steve Cotton said...

A great appellation that. Texas seems to catch the spirit of words with panache.

Steve Cotton said...

And I guess we do disagree on that salient point.

Steve Cotton said...

Or worse, not see her at all.  I ran into anumber of people like her while working with the Salvation Army.  One woman told me she was one of the invisible people.  It was a sad label.

Kathe said...

An interesting and poetic prayer.

John Calypso said...

Move over Ayn Rand ;-)

Felipe Zapata said...

One thinks first of the gang-bangers and their demands for respect, young men who've never done a decent thing in their lives. They don't wanna be 'dissed, which is short for "disrespected," a word invented by the illiterate. Don't disrespect them, or they'll pop you one in the snoot or just shoot you.

No. Respect is something one earns, not something one automatically obtains by the simple act of breathing or being born.

Many dreadful, awful, cruel people walk our earth, and bestowing respect on them for being human beings is, I do believe, monumentally silly.

Gotta earn it, brothers.

John Calypso said...

I think everyone starts out with it - some lose it along the way. Probably just saying it a different way.

Steve Cotton said...

I think I see the genesis of our difference. Respect is our human birthright with its attendant natural law rights. That is different than social acceptance. And acceptance is something that must be earned. Even the dreadful Stain was a human being. But I certainly do not need to accept his criminality because he had a soul.

Steve Cotton said...

Thanks.

NWexican said...

Yeah, like He said.

NWexican said...

Just missed some WONDERFUL fun here in the Salem area Steve.

Steve Cotton said...

I assume you mean The White Stuff.  I can honestly say it was worth a miss.  Right now, 84 degrees in Melaque.

Steve Cotton said...

I just looked at the Salem news.  It looks as if Noah is coming for a visit.