RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition. He does have an amazing PATREON, but also *normal* ARTIST WEBSITE too.

Thursday, August 11

45s on 33 – #63: “Linda Mujer”

It was always fun gawking at gone people on these Greyhound bus rides through the 1970s. One time passing through Lynchburg though, it got familiar in multiple directions. It must’ve been school shopping time back then or something, because I caught a glimpse of what I’m pretty sure was my mom and me in this shitty old brown Honda Civic hatchback we had back in the day. It certainly looked like a little blonde ass kid like me sitting there, and my mom’s face focused forward at the stoplight. She looked stressed but not mad, and I was looking out the window, passenger side, just like the other more current me (well, not current in that scene I guess) was on the bus passing the dirt brown Civic. It seemed like it could’ve been us, but I wasn’t entirely sure, because I don’t remember going to Lynchburg to go school shopping specifically that time. I know we did sometimes, trips to the nearest city (not even a city by most city folks standards) where they had a giant mall – an hour from my actual home, but hopefully cheaper clothes by having so many clothes option packed tightly together in a thicker concrete cluster of American civilization.

As a kid, school shopping was like a fake Christmas, because you’d hope you’d get all these wonderful things, but mostly what you got was practical shit. Once I got old enough to have peers and pressure, brand consciousness became a thing, which in a poor rural school was less complicated because there were no higher class systems involved (all those kids went to the private school in our area) but kids were jocking Nikes once they became prominent. All I ever wore was bobos though, the cheaper more generic department store knock-offs of the famous shit. No “My Adidas” for me, instead “My Kangaroos”, with fat laces that didn’t even color coordinate completely because fat lace selection was thin. But whatever, I was clothed, without holes, and knew to change into young dirtgod play clothes right after getting home from school, to maintain the integrity of my good shit.

My mom got pregnant with me at 16, and married to my dad – also 16 – before I was born. In the wedding picture, she is visibly ripe with me growing inside her belly. Both turned 17 before I was born, and my dad didn’t really get too much further than 17 in terms of maturing, but my mom held it together. She did well enough that I did well enough – here I am now, a grown ass man with my own kids, college degree (first in my family), with kids expected to go to college. (Not that I associate college with progress, but it allows access to shit my line didn’t have access to in that 1970s real world. So even if my kids fuck up, they have a wider range of opportunity to achieve or fuck up. I guess that feels important – to not limit your offspring.)

A lot of shit was missing from childhood that you’d want in an ideal world (which mostly doesn’t exist), namely emotional stability. Young parents do young things, and party was a well-used verb in the biosphere I was cultured from. But somehow, I got to where I am. Knowing all the various possibilities that exist, not only in terms of my one narrowly defined real world existence, as well as all the infinite chances of multiverse chaos, I realize how blessed I am. It wasn’t perfect, but it could’ve been a lot worse. It still isn’t perfect, but it still could be a lot worse. And as that shitty old dirtgod brown Honda Civic hatchback turned right at the light and I caught a quick glimpse of the blonde face looking out the passenger side window (definitely me), it struck me (now me, the one who went back to ride the old bus) how that’s what’s important, how that’s the bettering of the world I do. I don’t make the whole universe better necessarily, at least not in any discernible way, but in that little one drop of universal essence that this real life is, I make that one drop more pure, more clear, less toxic. That’s all I can fucking do. It’s not easy (never is), but I fucking do it, and I can be okay with that. You’d hope everybody would do that, each variation of each one of us, but that’s the work that needs to be done, to let existence continue. I can’t take pride in it, because it’s work that needs to be done, but I’ve got to feel pretty damn okay that at least I’m doing it, no matter how hard.

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