Friday, October 22, 2010

buffalo skinners

Been away two weeks in America, three hours of which was devoted to a traffic jam in NJ sponsored by an eight-car accident. Luckily I was on a bus, so although I was frustrated and bored, I could read, and huff and puff, and curse Eisenhower and Mamie.

I finished Methland on the bus, a book about the scourge of meth in small midwestern towns. It’s easy to blame its spread on rural boredom, but actually it has more to do with economic hopelessness, corporate farming, big pharma, and wage dumping.

When I was in my late twenties, I took a job in a town smack in the middle of the US, in a county ranked #3 best place to live in America by Progressive Farmer Magazine. I thought it was going to be charming. I thought it was going to be good for me. I looked forward to the peace and quiet and solitude. Instead I was bored and very lonely. In addition to a home bartending course, I spent a lot of time running, cycling away from farm dogs, and taking clarinet lessons. Good thing there was no meth around! I grew one wild hair.

Between you and me and yonder grain silo, Methland was interesting and worthwhile, but far from a great read. I was lucky the jam afforded me a stretch of boredom. I might not have finished the book otherwise.


Kathleen said...

You are an interesting woman.

I fear I have actually visited the official meth capital of the world, a small town in Missouri, where everything you mention is probably true, alongside some regular people, making a go of it, and not bored. The bored people have turned to selfishness and murder as well as drugs, and the others are still kind, industrious, and loving, as far as I can tell.

Glad to see you and the rain in your purse again!

SarahJane said...

Have you read this book, Kathleen? I added it to my list after reading "Winter's Bone" by Daniel Woodrell, which I thought was pretty good. Never had heard much about meth before that.

ron hardy said...

I haven't read Winter's Bone but I recently saw the film version which is making the festival rounds and winning awards. I thought it was really well done, especially the performances of the girl and her uncle. I had no idea the Ozarks extended into Missouri.

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