48. Wheel Out the Doughnuts and Get Out of Town.
Well I must say that our corner cafe experience for me was one of only two overtly obese American experiences. The second experience happened to be the very next day.
When in America, we like to do as Americans do, and all Americans like to drive, drink coffee and eat doughnuts, right? I mean if the yellow school buses on the movies are true, then everything thing else on the movies is true, right?
It was time for us to leave the foreign speaking ‘Up-North’, so this was our morning for doughnuts, coffee and the rhythms of the road. We drove into the oversized intersection of Antigo and searched for a bakery. I parked in front of the bakery and waltzed on in. It was as you would have expected: an L shaped counter flanked by all sorts of fresh, warm delights. But at the same time it was an odd place, either Antigo has a very low socioeconomic demographic or all the poor-fat people congregated at the bakery on a Saturday morning. I was forced to wait for a strenuous amount of time, whilst watching fleece clad and sport clothed obese statistics buy most of the outlandishly brightly coloured doughnuts. Some of them even wheeling themselves in on their mobility scooters and leaving with their baskets overflowing with food colouring wrapped around cream and attached to preservatives.
To be perfectly honest the whole experienced grossed me out a little. I am sure these people are wonderful people, it is just that sometimes the unknown scares me a little. Also coupled with this was the fact that these people seemed to be their own little or perhaps large community and that little ole me was feeling rather unnoticed and insignificant. Evidence of this was that many of the people who came in after me seemed to have some kind of priority over me. I just stood there gob-smacked and watched them buy all the doughnuts I had wanted to buy. Eventually I was served by a middle aged, plump but not obese woman who clearly resented having a healthy non-obese customer giving her bakery a bad name.
I grabbed my doughnuts, fled to the car and got the hang out of town. We were on our way to Green Bay and since it was not far out of the way, decided to drive through the Menominee Indian Reserve.
I cannot pretend to know anything about American Indians and most Americans that I spoke to could only tell me that their indigenous populations like to be left alone. Which is a rather strange concept, considering that most Reserves support at least one large casino full of outsiders. Upon entering the reservation I noticed that the standard of living decreased dramatically, houses turned into trailers surrounded by fleets of rusted out cars. This reserve had a high police presence, but very few people could be seen. We stopped at a service station and asked for directions. The first two or three people ignored me, then a middle aged non-obese man pointed us in the right direction. He did not look at me when he spoke to me and he had a rather nice and interesting accent.
This encounter was the only known encounter that I had with an American Indian or should I say Native American on this trip, and it only served to freak me out even more over how ghettoised America is. I wonder how much more super the superpower would be if it were to pour a super amount of time into integrating its divided people into ‘one nation under God’. I wonder how tall and proud the flag would stand then or indeed I wonder if the same flag would be standing or if the Americans who have been oppressed by it would request a new one and if the oppressing American populous would be humble enough to grant such a request.
‘One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all’, it is a very big claim that obviously does not include race-relations, the war in Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay and especially healthcare. Still I guess it sounds nice.
And speaking of ‘pledging allegiance to the flag’, my next stop was the town of a former Girl Scout pen-friend of mine. I had been waiting twenty-three years to visit Pulaski, Wisconsin and this day was the day.
As a teenager I had been totally spellbound reading Pamela Sue Sarah’s letters. I loved the stories of snow, ski-doos, the Great Lakes and American High School culture. Twenty three years ago America and Pulaski were totally foreign cultures for me. And today driving though this boring middle America town, I realised that nothing had changed, America still is a totally foreign culture for me. We stopped and took a photo of the totally exciting Pulaski water tower. It was white, with a brown stripe and had its name written on it. Pulaski, in capital letters.
I had not been in touch with Pam for probably twenty of those twenty-six years. We lost contact during her college years. Something inside of me wanted to re-connect, so we stopped at a local service station and asked the middle aged woman behind the counter if she knew Pamela. Pulaski is a small town, so of course she did, they both went to the same school. She promptly flicked through a telephone book and gave me Pam’s family address. In five minutes time we were parked in front of her childhood house. I hummed and haa’ed about going in and knocking on the door, curiosity as to who Pam turned out to be was killing me, but in the end I took a photo of the house, jumped in Betsie and headed to Green Bay. Maybe next time we will catch up.
Tune in next week to learn about the secret social tactics of Nigel.
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You may have noticed some bracketed numbers in this chapter. These numbers correspond with explanations and definitions that are in an accompanying glossary. To read the glossary you will need to by the yet to be released book. Sorry!
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