02 August 2005

they called me "worldly"














adj 1: characteristic of or devoted to the temporal world; "worldly goods and advancement" [ant: unworldly] 2: very sophisticated especially because of surfeit; versed in the ways of the world; "the blase traveler refers to the ocean he has crossed as `the pond'"; "the benefits of his worldly wisdom" [syn: blase] 3: concerned with secular rather than sacred matters; "lords temporal and spiritual" [syn: temporal]

So this third uncle of mine, twice removed, once divorced and never remarried says to me, "You, girl, are some worldly folks." And I spend the rest of the weekend wondering about what he meant when he said it, how much of the true definition of worldly he intended, how much of the negative connotation that sprang to mind was true to his intent, his hat-tipping tone, his fly-batting handswing. Most of the folks I met this weekend in Amidon, North Dakota, where Fred Stegner, Sr. staked his claim on a parcel of farmland signed off on by Theodore Roosevelt, were related to me by some portion of blood, more or less, give or take, a thimble-full or a mosquito, it seemed to matter not.

My mother, aunt, grandfather, and I drove the 8 hours from Fort Fun through Wyoming and the Dakotas to this tiny town where my grandfather was born and lived for six years until his father decided that Colorado was the place to be. By that time, Fred Sr. had a son old enough to run the North Dakota farm, and a wife stubborn enough to drag all of her chickens down to Colorado in a coop hitched to the back of the wobbly Hudson with spoked wheels that came off of their own accord and brakes so absent they required meticulous downshifting. And every time I thought of my origins there in North Dakota those same origins were moving south to Colorado.

It didn't take long to feel like an alien. No, Aunt Jill, I don't talk to God, but neither have I suffered the torture of breast cancer. No, Uncle Floyd I don't have a boyfriend and I don't plan on marrying, but neither have I witnessed a marriage worth emulating. No, Cousin Bryce, I haven't cultivated a special dish to attract men, not like your Yvonne and her hamburger casserole. No, Cousin Gordon, I'm not afraid of the city and I don't believe in God and she's my girlfriend goddammit not my roommate. Farm life didn't glow with timelessness for me, but I could see how it could. Though they told me they were proud, my precious education didn't mean much up there, but that seemed as it should. My teal eyeshadow was likened to a dye job on a cow, but somehow I knew it would.


I met (Georg(e)tte) on the fuzzy lip of Amidon, just past Georgia's and the Owl, the most famous (only) restaurant for miles around. I didn't have a car, he/she did, but neither of us were going anywhere. It didn't take me long to realize that a transexual mannequin faux-cop like (Georg(e)tte) knows something about worldliness. He/she spent some time describing recent additions to his/her car, how he/she received a scarf in winter, the new glasses stolen by an ex-partner who'd run off to Bismarck.

We sat with the spiders in the squad car, watching cars race then slow then race on by. It was when I decided to go home that (Georg(e)tte) offered me the consolation prize: a short celebration of the necessity of surprise, discomfort, indignation, and humor. As I lingered outside his/her window, he/she slumped over suddenly, striking the car's horn with his/her pointy powdered-looking nose.

5 Comments:

Blogger nominis umbra said...

mannequin faux-cop? does s/he tolerate the heat well (i notice the windows are up)?

hmmm.
Great photos. Glad you're posting.

03 August, 2005 11:02  
Blogger Body Mascot said...

". . . I don't plan on marrying, but neither have I witnessed a marriage worth emulating."

I know I shouldn't take this personally, but I sure did flinch when I read it.

03 August, 2005 11:18  
Blogger Who's the dourest of them all? said...

My chere body mascot,

You and Mrs. Pants are my two favorite married people in the whole world, though I'd never say that I "witnessed" your marriage (I think I had the immediate examples of family members in mind). I love you both because you're the marrying kind, and you're trying to do something different with marriage than perhaps even you witnessed yourselves. Of course, I could see myself marrying you ladies, moreso than the boys.

We both know that's not an option presently. Unless I were to migrate to Massachusettes or emigrate to Spain.

03 August, 2005 14:11  
Blogger Body Mascot said...

Thank you, tarte suite. P has often said that I have carte blange to do what I will with the ladies (which I have never taken advantage of), but I don't think he had bigomy in mind, LOL, though he could probably be persuaded to share me with a woman, in Spain or Mass.

03 August, 2005 14:39  
Blogger Shrew said...

Sigh. I need to call you. I miss you. I will call you. When you are out of the Dakotas. I'm glad that you too have a homesteadin' past (as I knew you did). My great grandpa was a homesteader from OK who made his own hardtack and jerky before he settled down in IA. It sometimes helps to think I have cowboy in me. Ew, that sounded gross.

03 August, 2005 17:38  

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