Monday, February 20, 2012

Turlock is a land of wonders

Sometimes, the volume of experience defeats me. Each moment deserves a book, and the moments pile up, one on top of the other.

A ninety-five year old man is propped up at his birthday party in the next room of the restaurant where we eat America-size mounds of food. His daughter? granddaughter? comes around to tell us that he had to go to the hospital last night, he has surgery today, they got him out on a three-hour pass. YEAH! She pumps her fist. He smiles vaguely in the direction of a cake.

A girl with dyed black hair and big black cowboy hat struts the horse auction, rhinestones on her jeans, heavy eyeliner dragging out from the corners of her eyes. There's a herd of starving yearlings in a single pen, hipbones visible, matted pelts. They stand in a huddle, heads down.

It's comforting to be here with A., her red hair jewel-bright. I'm able to find my invisibility beside her, slip into it like a soft robe. I'm nothing but eyes, seeing all of it, taking everything in. 

A miniature horse breaks into a clopping dance and a young girl asks, Please, can we get him?

Outside the bathrooms, a man says, Here come the horse photos. Phones blink on in the falling light. Sixteen hands high, says a woman. And shoulders like Schwarzenegger.

The auctioneer's assistant takes a stance in the middle of the ring, hands hovering over his round belly. Yip! he calls when a bid is made. Yip! Yip! It's a ballet, he gestures to the crowd, hands lifting air at the bidders, waggling his fingers to tempt a bid.

Porky's Bar down the road in Delhi sells only beer. Bud and Bud Light. No wonder the bikers inside look surly.

Later in the night, another birthday party, this one for twin twenty-three year old boys. They pound the table while a dishplain-faced blond girl knocks back two tequila shots, one in honor of each birthday boy.

Breakfast at the orange vinyl seat diner, our counter stools proclaim that President George H.W. Bush Sat Here, First Lady Barbara Bush Sat Here. Waitresses all over sixty, the homeliest with a flower in her hair. I ask the energetic one for her picture. No, she says. I'm too ugly for photos.

I can't touch it, all these words, and I haven't begun, can't touch the place. I can't say why my chest feels tight as we drive away, why I look out the window and will myself not to cry.


Geo said...

No one is too ugly or dishplain for photos or portraits. That's exactly the thing, and it's heartbreaking not to capture them all.

I have to believe that someone captures them. I have to and I do.

Chemical Billy said...

She's in my head, both of them are, beautiful in their singularity.