Below is an article I started on this morning, but after a couple of interruptions I finished it. I didn't proof read it, so it may be disjointed, however I'm posting it anyway as an observation of life in this little Texas town.
Sunday Morning Thoughts
July 12, 2015:
Yes, it’s Sunday morning and I am writing down my thoughts about life and how we live it again. I did this a few months ago and posted it on White Feather Forum for all to see just how out of step I am with most of the people I live with in this small Texas town. Because of the internet, I am aware there are a lot of other people who share some of my ideas so I know I’m not actually crazy. I have begun to think of my fellow citizens as part of the “collective” (from Star Trek, The Next Generation and the Borg episodes). I seem to have some special characteristic that keeps me from being assimilated into the collective. More appropriately, I should say I have a gift that made me realize I couldn’t be part of the collective since I didn’t try to acknowledge I was different until I was in my forties. I have always known on a conscious level of a difference between me and those around me. Still I spent the greater part of my first forty years trying to be a part of what others seemed to think was the way to be. I remember being proud of my Cub Scout uniform because it made me look like everyone else. Then came the Boy Scouts, football team, membership in various clubs while in high school, etc. In church I learned there was strength in numbers and in school I learned “united we stand, divided we fall”. Then I went to college.
I met people who not only did not conform to establishment thinking, they actually protested the activities of the establishment. I had a roommate who not only believed that sex outside of marriage was OK, he also believed in living with a woman before marrying her. That was a real blow to my Baptist upbringing. I just knew he was hell bound because he was living in sin and not a least bit repentant. At the other extreme was the guy who believed his parents never had sex until someone pointed out that they must have done so three times since he had two siblings. His response was, “OK. Three times but that’s all.” He really believed that sex was evil and he was a Phi Beta Kappa. Thus began my acknowledgment of other perceptions than the one with which I was raised.
Last night I was doing my thing as a member of the Citizens on Patrol and patrolling the crowd downtown for the free concert given by the city every Saturday night in July. It’s called Hot Nights, Cool Tunes and features bands with nostalgic ties to the bands of the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. Local citizenry bring their folding chairs and line up on the two streets facing the intersection where the stage is erected for the bands while leaving the intersection itself mostly open for dancing. In addition, the city invites various car clubs to display their antique or specially modified automobiles for the public to ogle. The Rotary Club sets up a booth and sells popcorn and drinks. There are at least three other vendors selling corndogs, fresh fried potato chips, lemonade, and snow cones and one restaurant sets up tables for patrons on the sidewalk in front. Another restaurant sells pizza slices, sausage on a stick, beer and other drinks. There is a carnival atmosphere. There are two or three police officers and about five COP’s who roam around through the crowd just to make people aware of a presence. Occasionally there will be someone who imbibes a bit more than he/she should or kids will get a bit rowdy in the park where the cistern from the 1800’s is extant. There has only been one arrest in the three years I have been patrolling. Once an officer or COP gets to the scene, the situation returns to calmness. Sometimes the miscreants are sent home if they are too rambunctious. All of this is just to set the scene for my observations of my fellow citizens during last evening.
My musical taste is for classical and folk music with some tolerance for country music from the 50’s and 60’s. The drums and bass guitar beat of the later music is a pure turn-off for me, so I have no problem with patrolling and not paying attention to the music. Some of the older couples come early, but they also leave early and I hear comments such as “It’s not really my kind of music.” However, the bulk of the crowd falls into the thirty to sixty age range and they seem to enjoy all the noise. The second thing I notice is that most of the attendees are beer drinkers and will have three or four beers during the course of the concert. Except for an occasional glass of wine or mixed drink, I do not consume alcohol. I have no problem with those who do unless they get soused and become unruly or belligerent.
I think what I find amazing is that these people came to listen to the band, but they don’t. Instead, they gather in little groups and talk or yell at each other while the band is playing. It is true that a significant number actually listen to band and there are some that dance in the area in front of the stage, but there are a lot more who don’t. It seems they came to the concert to socialize rather than listen to the band. Now, if they want to socialize, why don’t they gather in a place where they don’t have to yell at each other to be heard? Those who came to see the cars stroll through the five blocks with cars on both sides of the street for them to view. Some speak to the owners, but in the end they wind up standing in the street in little groups while talking and drinking their beers. I guess the car show was just an excuse for them to come together for their socializing.
As I patrol the eight blocks being utilized for the concert and car show, I hear some of the discussions. I never hear any talk of politics or religion, but there is plenty of idle talk of nonessential things such as the weather, where they are going on vacation, their opinion of the city’s free concerts, where to buy antiques, etc. I do the same thing when I’m with any of the citizen’s here because to discuss anything of importance is to invite confrontation and possible ostracism. However, since I mostly keep my mouth shut, it doesn’t happen too often. If religion came up, I would have to remain silent since I’m not Christian and I would be branded as an atheist. If politics came up, I would have to remain silent since I’m not Republican and I would be branded as a liberal. If I were to tell all these people that their fathers and mothers were Democrats during the fifties and early sixties, they would become quite angry. If I told them their parent only became Republicans after the Democrats and LBJ passed the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act during the sixties, they would be quite angry again. I’m not sure why I never was a “conservative” Democrat back then, but I always thought discrimination was wrong even though I accepted it as being part of the culture in which I live.