"The world is not a lodging-house at Brighton, which we are to leave because it is miserable. It is the fortress of our family, with the flag flying on the turret, and the more miserable it is the less we should leave it."
-G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy
This here blog is a glimpse or two or three at the condition of the 'fortress of our family' through the eyes Timothy Goddard, a Christian writer with an unhealthy interest in politics living in the Puget Sound area.
From "1275 to Seattle" Tommorow morning, I leave for home for a week or so. Two years ago when I did this, I took a bus, and the result was what is possibly the best overall piece in all of Bright Orange Sweater-Coat, "1275 to Seattle." I really like this piece, and think the book is almost worth buying just for it. So, without further ado, here's the first few paragraphs.
1275 to Seattle
He strode around the bus station cockily, an almost surreal representation of the schizophrenic nature of the early 21st century, clad in black from head to toe. The only exception to this rule was gold—a gold hatband around his cowboy hat, gold chains around his neck, gold buckles on his boots. Black leather working boots, specifically, to match his black denim jeans. Black cotton T-shirt. Black leather jacket. Black cowboy hat. Black telephone headset.
Black telephone headset? I blinked in surprise when I noticed it. This last accessory threw the whole gritty tough guy image right out the window. The all black wardrobe couldn’t save it. The scraggly country-boy goatee couldn’t save it. The too-tough-for-teeth gaps in his smile (it would have been a smile, anyway, had he not been too tough to smile) couldn’t save it either. It was all trampled to dust by a headpiece, its microphone hovering next to his mouth like a well-trained horsefly. It looked like something worn by a telethon phone answerer or a wealthy TV preacher, as its black plastic cord trailed under his jacket down to the shiny silver Nokia cell phone hooked to his black leather belt.
And there was more. Once the take-no-crap redneck image was shattered by the headset, I noticed other aspects of his appearance that seemed incongruous. His neck was not red at all, but as pale as the uncallused, unmarred, untouched skin of his face, and as thin as it was white—as was the rest of his frame, not quite disguised by its brooding black coverings. Whatever he did for a living, it did not appear to involve much heavy lifting. And those coverings themselves, his black on black on black wardrobe, they were too sharp, too snappy, too new.
A cursory glance would have labeled him trailer park trash, likely to have a mullet under his hat, were his hair not cropped short. But a second look revealed that he would seem out of place in a trailer park, like James Bond visiting Harlem in ‘Live and Let Die.’ The headpiece made certain of that. But even so, he would have looked just as out of place anywhere that headpieces were the norm. The missing teeth made certain of that.
He was too tough for the yuppies and too yuppie for the toughs, sometimes looking like he belonged in one world, sometimes another, but owning neither. So he strutted around this bus station, and it seemed somehow appropriate. Appropriate that this man without a world should do his strutting here, in a place between worlds, where Brainerd, Duluth, Houston, Chicago, Seattle and anywhere else were all closer than ever, and yet just as far away.