The Walking Dead

God knows I hate the AMC show as much as  I loved Breaking bad and Better Call Saul.  Maybe it’s because I’m from Liberty.   For the last twenty years I’ve been married and living up the road in Greensboro.  We work together everyday and I spend half the week in the rental in Liberty.  I’d love to dish dirt, but it really comes down to the fact that she is consumed with running a successful business, caring for three cats and I am not.

I run the website, show up early, ship, shoot and leave when I can.

It’s a good life.  On weekends, I’m literally mobbed with feral cats whom I adore and the Wife, with whom I am not only able to work, but also have a really good time.

We hit Atlanta two weeks ago, where she bought Fall and I stayed out of trouble.  We should probably get into this.  As an adult male, capable of being held responsible by a female, sometimes doing nothing at all for hours is the absolute correct course of action.  Trust me, if you power down for thirty seconds, a female in your midst will give you direction.

But I digress.  (Fuck it, I hit MARTA to Dillard’s and scored some killer shirts).  The Wife and I used to be popular, prior to opening The Store.  During the early nineties, we were  fixtures at our fave restaurant and among friends.  But the Wife was selling ads to people, among others, who owned clothing stores and set around all day reading mags.

Combined with the fact she couldn’t find nice clothes to wear, came a decision to open a plus size store.  That was in 2000 and we’ve moved thrice.  Of course, the last people I need to talk to at the show in Atlanta about the website are her direct competitors, so I am verboten.

It’s just as well, similar to bringing a four year-old:  I’m constantly in trouble for saying the wrong thing (anything.)  I hang out in the hotel rooms and wander around back stage.  (Sorry, that’s Jackson Browne. Our lives are so similar, I tend to get confused.)

Standing in line at Food Lion this evening was a beautiful woman sporting grey curly tresses and Doc Martin’s with little birds.  I was gobsmacked.  In the old days, I might have chatted her up, but now, I was much too risk averse.  What if she was hooked on heroin, or worse, a Christian.  The shoes said no, but I refrained.

At Oscar’s lab on main street, we’ve all struck off inviolate boundaries of conversation and contact, lest one of us contaminate the rest with unforeseen addiction to opioids.  Relationships like mine become tenuous to remain possible and the specter of fucking up looms large.

As ever, we desire the company of those denied us and revile those who would.  In my case, that includes some unsavory neighbors, whom I enjoy hanging out with, but must keep my distance, lest I become infected.

Unmedicated mental illness grows rampant like Kudzu, ruining every conversation with mania, depression and delusion.  Of course, these creatures constantly run afoul of the law, who prey upon them like buzzards.  I can’t imagine what it must be like for black people.  In Greensboro, you have 750 cops for 350K people.  In Liberty it’s a dozen for 3500 people, a small subset of whom dare to frequent the handful of bars.  The numbers are decidedly against them, and yet they persist.

What makes it so bad is that in the late ’70s, Liberty Drive-In was a Mecca for young adults to hang out.  Back then, we knew how to be cool and rap with one another.  Now, you get strange looks going to pick up a pizza.

So, I keep my shit very tight.  I don’t chat up women in the grocery store and I don’t hit the bars.  What I have is precious to me and I, like the few people I know, ain’t prepared to risk it by opening up to strangers.

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