Wednesday, August 17, 2005


Not California

We are not in California any more.

Reactions to our journey are different in Arizona. In California, the trip evoked a good deal of enthusiasm, even among strangers. Taking a political stand, going on a march, joining the fray. But out here, maybe it's the heat, but many folks look at me like they have no place in their brain to put the information I am giving them. It's not that they wonder if I am crazy. They look at me like some of my students who don't speak English very well and have no idea what I'm even saying. So they nod their heads and talk about the directions to the rest rooms.

At the Phoeniz AAA, the very funny, very helpful lady at the reception desk suddenly got very still and very quiet when I told her where I was going and why. She said nothing, asked no questions, gave no opinions of her own. Just a pleasant shut down of personal warmth, though her professional warmth continued.

There is something antisocial about political action, I guess. It inconveniences other people. It is often rude, even if in the right. The necessity for breaking social codes to get to truth or justice feels like being forced into low behavior when truly nice people would have made the protest unneccesary. So there! In that view, no one is apolitical, and niceness is just a cover.

But the reception lady was nice. I would rather she debated with me, and we could have possibly hung onto our humanity even as we held opposite views of right action. It was the human element that has gotten me on this long road to begin with. I do not want to lose it.

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