Saturday, July 26, 2008

Indelible Images

>Able-bodied teen female in North Dakota comes out of the Best Buy store and uses her cell phone to call her dad in a black Mercedes one hundred yards away to drive over and pick her up at the front door.

>Biking a slalom course back and forth between orange and white barrels on the shoulder of the road so Gus can reach out and smack them.

>Making up new words to old songs to make ourselves laugh after a stressful event over which we have no control: usually naughty drivers. Songs usually contain profanity.

>Gus being told he cannot approach the beach because it's private property, then the same man goes to check his truck, trailer, and Wavemaster which are parked on public property next door at the rest stop where we are drinking our warm bike water and using pit toilets. We have had many episodes like this. "You can't photograph the lighthouse from our property here, but you can go to the public area." (The one with no view.) In many societies of the world, heirarchies are not as fluid in America, but there is an invisible caste system here. I just wasn't affected by it before. I thought I had empathy for people who are struggling, but I realize I never truly understood until now. It's a gentle face-slap of reality to be a physician but to look and smell like a homeless person and be treated as such. Perhaps for the first time in my life, I understand what it is like to be cursed by motorists, shunned by barbers, and lied to about the availability of public restrooms because of how we look. --Alison


Beverly Titus said...

I'm not sure how to react to your last Indelible Image. Should I be angry? Would that solve anything? or Should I be sad? for it is a sad commentary on our fellow American's. I guess the best I can do is see to it that I am not a person who becomes someone else's negative image. Be strong in knowing who and what you are and that YOU are making the world better. I look forward to your every blog entry and am enjoying "riding" along with you!

Jen said...

Powerful! I just read Ehrenrich's NICKEL AND DIMED and had a similar feeling. There IS a class system here and the lowest rung is a kind of prison -- or torture chamber. How did we get here?