Wednesday, August 17, 2016

A Tiny Grocery Store, which lives?

On our way out of town, we stop in a small town grocery store. Lynn's Grocery Store. The aisles are shorter and fewer and the linoleum older than the major chains. There's bins just like the bigbox store but these have no copy written glossy signage. There's just a bin of balls all low down with a paper sign. Rob says yes to the kids when they ask for a ball and I roll my eyes at how sweet his soft spots are: two of them, one for each kid.

"You guys can pick one and share it." My soft spot is a communistic piece of me. They share it and it takes over my heart like a wild weed turning over on itself and going out of control over all of me.

The boys agonize over their choice and argue each option's virtues. The orange basketball is a better choice because... duh, basketball and the soccer is better because well, soccer. In the end after making a persuasive argument, the older piece of my soft spot gives in to his own weak spot for his brother, hugs him, and says they'll get the soccer ball. The younger boy smiles in a way that makes his plump cheeks stand out and his eyes sparkle with delight. The weeds spread.

I feel that recoil though when we get to the line to pay and there's a sign "We support our Police, All Lives Matter." My roots lift up and wait for different soil. I'll be able to soak up the nutrients I've picked up from my trip without setting anything down. I can hold it until later.

I think of Faviola, Favi she likes to be called, the pregnant Mexican woman I met at the pool with her son. She's a permanent legal resident who was concerned about my family staying in such a dump as the cabins we'd decided on. She made sure to tell me she was legal, as if it made any difference to em at a pool alongside an RV park and cheap cabins. She invited us to shower or cook at her house. She hadn't had people be very nice to her in this new community she'd just moved to and I pondered that. How could that be? Her accident was so good, her English as impeccable as her manners, she wore tasteful small gold jewelry and a nice blouse. How could people not have been more hospitable and welcoming to her? Were they racist?

The sign would seem to indicate yes. "All lives can't matter until black lives matter. And it's a police state when police can kill with impunity." I wanted to scream as soon as I saw the sign. But where would that get me?

Probably no further than it would have gotten me to tell the old white farmers at the truckstop where we'd stopped for lunch the previous day why it was that all these pussies would be voting for Hillary. "I'll be voting for her," I wanted to shout, "because of 30 years of what she's had to say for women and children." What might your posterchild for entitlement have to say for women and children. Wait, nothing appropriate or respectful or additive, that's for sure. And how can you call him anything but a pussy? He's never had to work a hard day in the sun with his bare hands like you have. Never. He's not worked for things the way you have. You've nothing in common but your skin and gender. And even that has weathered differently. But where would saying this get me?

Probably no further than it'd have gotten me with the couple with the confederate flag hanging from the side of their tent alongside an American one we'd seen earlier in the week in the national park where we'd been camping. I'd wanted to yell, "how's the view from up there you racist asses?" But that was just anger. I couldn't think of anything clever. As I steamed in anger, I tried unsuccessfully to think of something. I wished I could change my skin color and march right up and say nothing. Cross my arms across my chest and stare right at that flag until they felt the shame they should. They had it coming to them.

We probably all do really. With our expensive clothes and cars full of camping gear, driving across thousands of years of buffalo and Lakota bones. Fences caging in ancestry and ancient knowledge, spiritual connection.

But this thinking wouldn't get me anywhere.

Anymore than saying something to the checker would. I look at the cursive black lettering of the store's name Lynn's Grocery Store. I wonder if Lynn saw the video of the unarmed black caregiver who was trying to explain to police about his autistic charge and was shot despite laying on the ground. But clearly all lives matter?

Instead of saying any of these things, I ask for directions. The woman, a black gap where a tooth should have been to the right of her two front teeth and her dyed brown hair pulled back in a pony tail, nods at me and comes around the till. The whole area had many of her. Women who were missing one or two teeth, whose gums had receded.

She walks me out of the store to the parking lot, points and says, "It's easier if I show you."