My drive across Old Muddy is becoming more dangerous every day. The bridges are crowded with impatient semi-trucks and everything is down to one lane while being earthquake-proofed and other things that spell commute disaster. Yesterday I was greeted with a doom cloud of smoke as soon as I crossed West Memphis. They (the farmers, the faceless industrial farmers) were burning the fields. Cotton is over. It’s been scooped and combed and sent to China for a chemical bath before being handed over to small children to make my Forever 21 clothes and now it is time to set the past on fire. Driving through the endless cloud of dead field particles with strips of fire at my side made me feel like I was plunging into unknown dimension, and I was, I was in Arkansas dimension.
The smoke lingered even after nightfall, I could still smell charred dirt when I stopped at the Exxon after class. As I was getting out of my car I noticed a young mom holding a lil toddler (the size of your typical novice walker) on her hip. The mom came around to the passenger side of an older mid-sized SUV and plopped the little girl in the front seat and put the seatbelt on her, shut the door and headed for the ice machine and nearly knocked me over because I was busy staring at her kid who was sitting in the front seat with the shoulder strap actually covering half of her chubby face. Just one eye and a babycheek looking back at me. She looked surprisingly comfortable so I could only imagine that she rode this way quite often. And although I am not a daily caretaker of small children, I know that breaks at minimum four known rules, three legislative and one moral, of transporting children in vehicles. In fact it might have been safer to tie her stroller to the trailer hitch. I’m sure if it wasn’t so smoky I would have seen a set up like that. I’m only telling you the things I COULD see in Arkansas.
In other doom observations:
Just yesterday during a productive lunch break, I found a great hand-crocheted black sweater dress at my favorite almost-scabies-free thrift store. I threw it on over my clothes to look in the mirror (I prefer not to go in the dressing room at this particular place because it also doubles as a toilet) and it fit! I turned to the side and thought, “This would be good for a funeral.” That’s what came to mind and then I bought it. If I show up to a holiday party wearing a black sweater dress that will tell you what I think of your party.
Darker still: I have developed a fear/fascination of death by black hole after listening to Neil deGrasse Tyson’s description of falling into one. He was on the last few minutes of the most recent RadioLab.
When your feet are being pulled at a gravitational velocity so intense that your body snaps in half and then half again and again and again until you are scattered particles of space, that’s when you know you are falling into a black hole (or Arkansas).