Living in the RV makes April somewhat of a victory. From a weather perspective, when North America hits spring, it tends to do so in April except for cruel parts of New England as noted by the suicidally poetic TS Eliot. We waddled out from the ever draining silt of the Gulf shores north to temperate zones between March & April. And the same damn prepubescent buds of Spring tempted us with the hope of warm weather only to be trounced by an icy fart from the backside of Old Man Winter. The hope of warm weather pulls Spring from the melting snow piles in the Walmart parking lots where plastic bags bloom from every naked branch. The muddy ground reeks of future fecundity and long forgotten squirts of thawing dog shit.
But I would be remiss to leave out Indiana. She is in the news so rarely. Once again, the states we travel to in America cease to be some place mentioned in passing by the news reader but instead become places I can see and smell and touch. For instance, I remember sitting in the cozy (not to be missed) water front park in Sanford, Florida and reading about how George Zimmerman was in court again, this time not for shooting another unarmed black teen with Skittles but for beating his current girlfriend. (Seriously you were dating this guy?) Then in Mobile, I sat in front of the court house as some folks were protesting Judge Roy Moore’s papal bull against the blessed union of sodomites. On to benighted Ferguson, Missouri as the feds finally release a report that officially recognizes that white cops appear to dislike black people while extorting traffic fines to cover the Officers' Ball. But in Indiana, a law was sort of passed that said God told some chosen folks not to serve cupcakes to gay people or something and that Freedom of Hatred was indeed part of the Framers Grand Design - just like evolution. Our corporate hero Walmart heroically stepped in with a lot of other Knights of Capitalism and revealed to the Governor of Indiana (like Saul on the road to Damascus) that not serving these ravenous gay nearly-weds cupcakes based on the somewhat conflicting recommendations of the Governor's personal Flying Spaghetti Monster was indeed bad for Business. Indiana wrestles the twin demons of fear and greed. In my humble opinion, they chose right and went for greed. America marches bravely on and we follow the parade hocking CD's from the back of the van.
I can’t explain why seeing some blue road sign that says “Welcome to Indiana” makes the events of the news more real but it does. Otherwise Aleppo is as real as the polar ice caps is Birmingham is Palestine is Mars. It’s just some name that exists in a part of my memory right next to that Springfield in America where the Simpsons live. And actually that’s kinda comforting. Seeing this stuff for real is awkward and distracting. Kind of like the difference between watching sex and having sex. I find it almost impossible to keep up with the trials of the country, let alone the planet. I have shit to get done. But since I have declared myself an artist on FB, and we all know the internet is forever, I suppose seeing the parts of America I have only read about gives me a better chance a catching a good line for the next lyric. So I too may profit from their misery.
New Jersey is really the end of the mid-Atlantic if you include New York City and I will just to piss off as many people as possible. Of all the places we’ve been to so far this area stands out. Not because it made the news. Altho we did post to FB the $38 toll to cross the George Washington Bridge (ugly And expensive). Northern New Jersey is pock-marked with cities and towns right next to the seamless, gargantuan engine of American product infrastructure. Amid the hulks of shipping containers and fifty foot I-beams, life trundles along. My favorite Walmart is in Kearny, NJ where Puddin chases Canada geese in the drainage field and comes back with foul black mud on his paws that can stink for days. The only Walmart in America with free wifi may well be in Kearny. We played a gig in Orange, NJ. White people sat with black people at the bar and listened to music and ate modestly yuppie fare. Nowhere have I seen this: not “liberal" Wisconsin or “racist” Alabama or “urbane” Manhattan or “Chocolate City” DC. The amygdala screams fear and we believe. We believe it right to our nonexistent souls that race is real.