April 21, 2013

CULTURE

After suffering Arizona's National Park tomfoolery, we headed off the beaten path for the ruins in New Mexico. Our journey to Chaco Culture was a 21 mile drive on an unpaved desert road. It took an hour and a half one way, the entire time my fingers crossed we wouldn't lose a tire as we passed a dozen abandoned hubcaps and flats. I've come to an understanding: You can take the easy way in and drive a perfectly paved trip into a tourist trap, or you can take your car for a ride (and all of its worth) and end up in the middle of an abandoned prehistoric village with not a soul in sight except for a single ranger. 

Holy Fucking Shit, Chaco. Was I not listening at some point during my public schooling (likely), or did they just intentionally skip over the ruins of a highly advanced and interconnected society in our own country? Fuck your textbooks, repeat: fuck your textbooks, again. Are they saving this for an episode of America's Best Kept Secret, or is it just impossible to talk about anything outside of a European lens? 
Writing now from the back of a Walmart parking lot, middle of the night. Sometimes you drive and drive and there's nowhere else to sleep. Sometimes there's just nowhere better to sleep. If your mind is relatively in the right place and if you were forced to watch anti-corporation documentaries during your first year at a private college like I was, then your distaste for the big W is probably high. Mine was until we moved into our van and started driving aimlessly around the country on a dime. From this perspective, I can shamefully admit: I appreciate that there's a Walmart every-fucking-where I need one to be. Nate, half awake beside me, asks if I'm writing about their rampant union busting or gender inequality. No, I'm fucking writing about how their bathrooms are no strings attached and clean, about how the water fountains work, and about how it's nice to pull in through the back after dark and scope out the other campers, knowing that you'll all be left alone. I was a paranoid and sleepless zombie our first night docked at one. Does everyone feel safer alone, in the middle of wolf and bear wildnerness, than they do when exposed in modern society? I anticipate the morning desperately and the florescent spotlights we're nestled underneath tease me until the sun rises. I peek one eye out from the curtain every few hours to see who our neighbors are. Tonight it's prom in this town and the lot is flooded with seventeen year olds in baggy tuxedos and pink tulle who make a pit stop here to get high in each other's cars. 


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