America Day 53 – Tiny

We decided to go to the tiny cinema in Greencastle.

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We had no choice but to watch The Addams Family. Not the most inspiring script but it passed the time, and the projector didn’t conk out. Apart from the 5 of us it was just a guy and his daughter. The guy had a shirt on that said “I have a beautiful daughter. I also have a gun, a shovel and an alibi.” I think there was only one popcorn bought – inevitably by Claire. And it was reasonably priced. For screening the movie, the cinema turned over about $50…

Now we are in Moor’s Bar. Pete the owner just came up and introduced himself. “You guys have been in here a few times now,” he says.  He’s the owner. He’s just saying “Hi”. Maybe making sure we aren’t dissidents. But it feels friendly. It feels American.

Pete is from here, went to college here, moved to Florida for thirty years. Now he’s come back home with his wife. She wanted a restaurant, he wanted a bar. They bought this place which is a little bit of both. The food all comes with bread. It also has extra salt so people drink more. But it fills a hole. And it just has.

This week is a needful slowdown. Not too many classes in the daytime which allows rest. Everything is in walking distance. The sun is still valiantly shining but there’s a chill in the air now. We are all feeling a lot lighter already though, from being out of the mix.

Silicon Valley was … interesting but there’s something in the air there. The energy of all that money being made, the potential at any time to suddenly find yourself underwater, the history of ambition and longing and crime.

Now we are just in a little green patch with friendly people and not a huge amount of history. The freight trains come by and lay their horns down on the crossings. Dillinger robbed the bank here. He got a good haul out of Greencastle bank, for all the good it did him. Another one that didn’t know when to stop.

The barman, Bailey, knew what all five of us were drinking as soon as we walked in. The people in the shops already know the five of us by name. Claire, Bailey and I ended up having a remarkable conversation about art and the film industry. The people I’ve met here have lived lives.

You can see how these little towns draw people back to them in retirement or depression or necessity. It’s pleasant and relaxing to feel the tiny boundaries around you. To feel you’re safe in your little place, and the big old world can turn, out there beyond the campfire. I’d literally be trying to eat my own face after a month here. I know I’d struggle if I went back home to The Isle of Man or Jersey. But this small town mentality is comforting, in small doses.

Which is just as well considering the politics back in the UK.

As far as I understand, the latest plan is to fill the English Channel with petrol and drop a match in it but blame it on the Germans. The fire won’t spread to the land anyway because we’ve always been safe in the past and fire doesn’t spread. If it does we can just throw hospitals and poor people at the fire until it goes out. Then we can skin anyone who we don’t like, hail the dead eyed aryan midget, and get on with making the world into the illusion of a meritocracy where merit comes with birth.

I need a city already. I just went to the hotel bar in my pajamas  The barman knows my name. Fuck. It’s nice here though. We are all feeling much more relaxed.

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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