It could be Indianapolis, IN. Kansas City, MO. Hartford, CT. Memphis, TN. Albany, NY. Downer’s Grove, IL. Huntsville, AL.
In this case, it was KC. KC, MO. KC, KS.
WITH DUE APOLOGIES, I just realized how unbelievably society-less and lifeless Middle America has become. Practically, it is scary. Sitting here in the Midwest (just came back from there), a vast expanse of landlocked geography where I spent seven years of my life when I first came to USA many years ago, I remember all the lifelessness and monotony and isolation I went through, which drove me to intense frustration and chronic depression. Having come from Calcutta and Bengal and India, the alienation and boredom almost killed me.
This is NOT about the people who live there and grew up there. I do understand their attachment. It is about the system that changed Middle America, once and for all. It is about the fragmentation of the society and gentrification in the name of development.
I have NOTHING against those — my Facebook and real-life friends — who live and work here for various reasons, but honest to God, this cold isolation, month after month, year after year, is bone-chilling for me. Plus, the artificiality and fakeness of the malls and plastic pizzas and junk McDonalds and Coke and squarely-cut streets and rounded-off building blocks and dark parking lots and no public transportation! You can’t see a soul walking on the street, except for a few security guards and God-forsaken night crawlers.
Believe me, they turned this once-beautiful country called United States of America into a spook town. I guess, Americans who grew up here still have some bonding with it and know how to connect with their kind of people, relatives and friends included, but for us new immigrants? I left for New York City.
The lack of a society, a society that was so thriving in America when kids played on the streets with no fear, and teenagers would be hanging out at street corners in a healthy state if mind, and neighbors would watch out and care for each other, and life would not be so dictated by TV and smart phones and email, and being alone and away from each other would not be so glorified…no I’m not talking about India. I’m talking about USA even 40 or 50 years ago…before Ayn Rand zombied over this country.
Long stretches of near-dark streets…people fortressed up in cars…no mingling … Destruction of public transportation… Tearing down neighborhoods in the name of gentrification…destroying labor unions…
Before I finish this “rant,” I want to apologize if I’ve hurt your feelings. It was my honest reflection about how they (i.e. people in power) have transformed Middle America from a thriving society into a zero-society in the name of development and the so-called American Dream. This dream has turned out to be a myth — economically and politically. Fake food, fake housing, fake privacy and fake peace have flourished. And fake diversity too. People are badly struggling. Tea Party and fascism are flourishing. In fact, their society is thriving in USA. Immigrants and Americans alike — the politically conscious variety — are hurting. I never meant to denigrate the people. I talked about the new, Ayn Rand-model neoliberal system.
Want to thank Kansas City friends for their hospitality and kindness. Very special. My note was, again, not about the people. It’s about the system that has changed Middle America once and for all, in the name of development, prosperity, peace, privacy and American Dream. I am deeply troubled how we do not realize about the fakeness and extreme disparity. Also, even though I have nothing against religion, but this hyper religiosity and conservative-church-dominated life is disturbing for me too. Is the conservative-variety church going to challenge the economic and political status quo?
SILVER LINING. — I had a chance to work for some time, as a requirement of the conference I attended, with some small kids at a poor, inner-city elementary school. I helped a few youngsters to learn the alphabet and count numbers from eleven to twenty.
I cherish that precious moment. Those who are creating and sustaining those communities, against all odds, I salute them.
Sincerely, Openly, Honestly,
Brooklyn, New York