Saturday, October 30, 2004

Wild Wild (Middle-) East

When I was a child, I thought I was robbed (not literally) having missed the days of the Cowboys and Indians. What excitement, adventure, danger I must have missed! Perhaps that explains why it is so thrilling for me to be there, HERE. The parallels jump out at you, like a hold-up on a stage-coach!

Think about it. You got your arid dust, scorching sun, bad guys galore, and lots of men walking around this new settlement wearing their guns. There’s coiled-up critters waiting to ‘getcha’ and women few and far in between. They don’t wear a lot of make-up, if you know what I mean, and I’ve even seen a female in the mess hall with a gun strapped to her thigh. Not Calamity Jane, I think Tanya was her name. We’re all here trying to tame this wilderness.

Don’t go outside the circled wagons, I mean, tanks, or you might lose your scalp. There’s smoking and chewin’ tabacca --about the only vice allowed here. Country music, a-hem, is one of the staples around here. Lotta’ Bible-belt babies here with that southern drawl and darn if everybody don’t wear boots. At nights, since we don’t have running water in our cabins, er, hooches, and you can see us hustling off to the portable outhouse by moonlight, if you catch my drift.

So here I am, grinning sheepishly now that I’ve stepped out of my little time machine, called Continental Airlines. Maybe like the DeLorean in Back to the Future, I can’t make it back until I find something to power the flux capacitor. But in the meanwhile, a child-hood dream is what it seems. Here comes a HumVee trailing dust like a small herd of cattle. Better don my bandanna…and touch my fingers to my hat’s rim and nod slightly to acknowledge those sharp-shooting gun-slingers that help keep me, and all of us, safe. Another incredible day as I smile tautly and swagger off into the sunset ….

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