Welcome to Alton. No love, no storms, no hurry, no revolution, no war, no epiphany, no broken windows, no days without cheeseburgers, no good music, no good monsters, not too much or too little breakfast cereal, or wind, or rain, or muscle. Welcome, and may God have mercy on your screen porch.
In any other town I might feel invisible. Doing things like, say, eating psilocybin mushrooms while listening to Rush Limbaugh and playing video football are only disordinary for their surface contradictions, which I am full of. But in this town I feel particularly invisible. These kind of subversive jaunts into absurdity go far towards being unappreciated here.
I live in a small one story house a little out of the way with a pharmacist, a career college student, and a job collector. They do things like taking trips into a nearby wooded areas in order to deprive themselves of twenty hours of Comedy Central so as to understand the ineffable suffering of, say, Afghani refugees. And they believe these nearby wooded areas located just between the new McDonald’s and a Blockbuster Video is close enough to a war-torn, impoverished desert wasteland.
I am the evil young right wing conspirator who lives down the hall with his shelves of obscure records and dog-eared novels about left wing college idealists who are too comedically angelic for this lost and unforgiving world of detached actors and industrial carbon specters.
Some nights I am invited to bars that promise to be filled with women, whose presence I am, admittedly, sorely lacking. And yet I shrug, and choose to remain here. This is the first cause for dissolution. Women in bars expect things I’m not willing to be, namely, charming, successful, witty, handsome, and weightless. I may be thin, but I am certainly not weightless.
Also, I don’t really fancy crowds, crap music, dancing, unnecessary laughter, or flat easy facial expressions. I do fancy a drink, however. But here I can drink to my own facial expressions, record collection, and comedic obscurity.
Contradiction #1: I am alone. I am alone, and have been known to complain about being alone, although I resent the idea of having to go out in public to remedy said problem. In this, I’m about as logical as a vegan butcher.
I will tell you now and again that I’ve had my share, that they’ve been for the most part, well beyond redeemable, and in some situations, both enlightened and ravishing. I will tell you this in a typically smug wistful low-toned poet drawl that deserves to be tossed against a wall in a bar every now and then. Do I contradict myself? Very well then. I am large. I contain multitudes.
In fact, I can qualify ever misaction with hackneyed poetry and stream-of-consciousness prose, because, this is the sort of thing I fall for. I’ve been known to turn contacts into glasses. I’ve been known to glaze over the uninterested eyes of those unfortunate enough to ask how I’m doing, and I have no real regrets about that. Why should I? Who the fuck is anyone else to characterize my madness? I’m perfectly uncomfortable here. And this is only the beginning.