America Day 28 – History

My car says 85/Gasoline. I have no idea what that means. The pumps just have bullshit words on them to make them sound appealing, and numbers – all of which are over 85. None of them say diesel. I miss the colour coding in the UK and the clarity it brings. I try to ask at the counter but the guy just looks at me like I’m a fucking idiot. Occasionally he says the word “gasoline”. Either his English is atrocious or he thinks my English is atrocious. I think that there’s just no diesel here.

This country is so different, in so many subtle ways, to the multicoloured shitexplosion that I grew up in. Most of all in terms of history.

History here starts about 200 years ago. Everything before then is summarised in a disinterested and vague sentence. “The native Americans lived here with a religion that was to do with nature. Then we came and built a fucking great stone mission and provided them with shelter and food.” They had shelter and food before you brought your stupid ideas. They lived in harmony with nature, we live despite it. It’s such a destructive pile of arse. The arrogance and ignorance of religion! You find a new world and the first people over come to try and persuade the people there about how this ‘idea’ that someone hammered into you as a child is the only right ‘idea’ about why the moon shines, why we find beauty, why we are capable of love, why we can be momentarily breathless with happiness at something outside of our understanding.

It takes a zealot or a speculator to shoulder the risks related to being in a place that’s as raw as the wild west. Those missionaries had the money from the church. They literally were on a mission. They went out and probably spread more disease than they spread the word but managed both. We in the lazy West had a much more interesting selection of diseases. Good will sent them, sure. But it was good will fueled by the idea that people that don’t think like us or understand the world like we do are wrong. Aka spectacular ignorance. Still, better than it just being the Columbus types, who were about plunder, rapine and self importance. Bring on my ancestor Bartholomew de las Casas, out at the same time, trying not to be a destructive force with all his being, making a positive difference in “the West Indies”.

The amazing human beings that would have walked these wilds would’ve been working examples of Darwinism in humans. Sustaining themselves in nomadic communities over the size of this huge country – their only real dangers being each other and wolves. Problem is, survival of the fittest pays dividends over generations of time. You can’t evolve guns. It all changed too quickly as wet faced Europeans shuffled over in great big boats with bullshit beliefs, impossible weapons, incomprehensible rapaciousness, entitlement and microbes borne of decadence.

These stone buildings would’ve been so irrelevant to the true inhabitants of this place. And now those same men and women are often confined to reserves, most of which are under threat too in the ongoing drive for oil and plunder and land, as this blustering orange tyrant sews seeds of personal wealth and power through division, money, hate and fear of the other.

So yeah. History. Sure, we too in the UK were conquered in 1066 and they built a fuckload of castles which we didn’t know how to bring down. The oppressed population eventually assimilated. Some people think it’s important to use multisyllabic Norman words to appear refined. Pardon instead of Wot. Toilet instead of Bog. And other people think the opposite. Fuc those Frenc Dics.

I like this place. But I always feel like I’m living on borrowed lands, as people tell me how they’re Irish or German or Swedish or Scottish or French, but not American in the true sense.

I suspect the pumps have nothing but adverts on them because there is no way you can put the wrong fuel in the engine and blow it up. This constructed society has been sharpened towards the market and the less people have to think the less they think.

Where is the actual history? Lost to all but the specialists. Here we all are at a mission…

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Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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