Friday, 11 April 2008

Howdy howdy

When I ask for directions, it's far easier to make myself understood if I use a Texan drawl. Thus "Fort Worth" becomes "Fairt Wirth". The problem I had before was that the New Zillin accent is itself a drawl, and I had to use a loud English accent to make each word clear. Even then I had to repeat myself even louder, which made me feel like the ugly American abroad. Hence the Texan drawl. It's low and quiet and kind of fun, because everyone becomes Sir and Ma'am. To complete the look I really need a horse and a hat to tip.

Yesterday I went out to Fort Worth, mainly because it's there and I heard there were some actual cowboys there. There weren't, but there were some old guys wearing cowboy hats who looked too fat to ride horses, and also a black cowboy. 'Blazing Saddles' aside, black guys were the ones being dragged behind the horses, not the ones riding them. The social order went thusly:
1. Rich men
2. Their hussies
3. Horses
4. Poor men
5. Longhorn cattle
6. Women and children
7. Animals larger than squirrels
8. Chinese miners
9. Small rocks
10. Black people
In Fort Worth, every single bus driver was black, and 90% of bus passengers were hispanic. White people drove cars, except me. I stood around in the rain because I caught the wrong bus, and pondered how I fell outside my genetically-determined modus operandi. As my shoes slowly filled with water, I felt the confusion of one who is privileged yet bereft. As I hunched over my bag of tiny portable electronic gadgetry, I considered that the excesses of the poor were as foolish as the frugalities of the rich. I felt sorry for myself, then pitied others for being immune to this kind of suffering, then stupid for having mistaken the #1a bus for the #1c bus, then resigned and sort of cold. I clutched my bus schedule as it flapped damply in the wind. I looked at the puddles and the sky and the road, and the corner where the next bus might come from if the gods of public transportation smiled on me. I was a long way away from anywhere I recognised, even further from my travelling bag of stuff, and I realised that, for me, for a long time now, there was no place called Home.

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