Portrait of an American Town
Upper Arlington, Ohio, often referred to by its initials, U.A., is part of the Columbus, Ohio metropolitan region. U.A.’s population is around 36,000. In 1982, the town’s annual Fourth of July parade theme was Portrait of an American town.
America has changed so much since 1982. Sometimes, I find her unrecognizable. I was at the supermarket yesterday and was absolutely stunned by the number of people moving through the aisles who were completely wrecked by one thing or another. I saw two middle-aged women in wheelchairs on oxygen. Practically everyone had a tattoo. People have a lot to say but nobody, especially corporate America, is listening to them. Maybe that’s why people get ink. They want people to hear them.
My cashier’s name was Heaven and she’d painted bright coral stripes of rouge on her perfectly beautiful face. She had a giant tattoo of a blue rose on her neck. She was so lovely, really, and all I could think of was how she deserves so much better than this. Whatever this is.
Sometimes, I, think of getting a tattoo of a cross on each wrist. Like a frequent reminder of all that pierced me and all that I have overcome. A reminder that the walking dead are not my imagination. I want to look away. I want to order my groceries online so I can avoid seeing the sad and seedy. It breaks my heart, the real portrait of rural American towns where many people will die too soon.