By David Glenn Cox
Call it salvation or redemption, call it what you will. I have reemerged from a dark tunnel, from the streets of a faraway place once called home, once called the United States of America. I am alive, relatively sane, sure and uncertain. I’m no longer who I once was and so, I wonder, what about you? Who are you now in this world turned upside down? Who are we all, in this burgeoning Fascist state?
In a catalog of strange memories, my file folder is bulging. I’m walking the trendy streets of uptown Minneapolis in December. It’s dark and cold, but without a single flake of snow. Young couples pass by me arm in arm, segregated by love and a million miles away from me. Too distracted by their youth and affection to see either me or you; a sidewalk ad board offers a roast beef sandwich for just $12.95. I calculate my finances and estimate that I have almost enough cash in my pocket to buy one third of a sandwich.
The cafés are full this night; these people seem to have plenty of money and they are so young. It is not so much class envy, as class curiousness. Are the times really so good, to drop a hundred bucks on a date for dinner and drinks? Are they affluent or reckless? Are they careless or care free?
For nearly four years, I have been wandering the streets of America and I can fully inventory all of the possessions which I have lost. Yet now, I must now inventory the missing pieces of who I once was, leaving me uncertain about who I am now. I am unsure if these losses are permanent or if these skills can ever be reacquired. Asked, which spaghetti sauce I preferred, I answered, “I don’t know…anything.” Tacos, hamburgers, crinkle cut, home fries, pancakes or waffles I have no preference. Sometimes, it may seem my attitude is just easy to get along with, but it isn’t. My mind simply reads the problem as food, yes or no?
I have developed a near phobia about spending money. The majority of my purchases are from dollar stores or from second hand stores. There is a rationalizing of all purchases, no matter how small, armed with the implicit number of every coin in my pocket. The idea of a thirteen dollar roast beef sandwich with beverage and sides makes me laugh, openly. I was on a bus on the Pennsylvania turnpike and we’d just had our rest stop. The guy sitting on the diagonal from me didn’t get anything to eat, so I gave him my bag of potato chips. He wolfed them down hungrily and I wished I’d had more to give.