Where does one go to buy props when one returns to Iowa to perform a tragicomic one-human show about life as a non-gendered bumpkin who learned to use laughter in the same way one’s neighbors mastered the plow?
The human I speak of is TJ, my similarly sexed life partner, and we rode in TJ’s ginger cousin Jackie’s deluxe mini-van up a congested Walmart parking lot lane. Ginger Jackie talked some shit. She tore the engineer who designed the lot new ones. “I don’t understand why they made the parking lot this way. Didn’t they build this for place for efficiency? This parking lot has bad, bad…”
Ginger Jackie engineered her own parking space, we all hopped out of the van, swapping one flavor of humidity for another, and we walked towards the big box store.
Everybody said hi to ginger Jackie and her girls. This gave me a sense of Mayberryishness til I realized that was midday dew.
The Iowa, Waterloo, Wal Mart serves a buffet of evidence proving that if you make poor life choices, they will wear you. Peopleofwalmart.com documents this truth so sadly and well.
Staring at the large white people with tattoos of fading dream catchers, I intellectually interrogated my own thought processes. I tried exercising compassion. Humility. I asked myself a difficult question, “Am I otherizing the people of Wal-Mart?”
My conscience replied, “Fuck yeah. And don’t feel bad about it. Nebraska: Never Forget.”
To get to Iowa, we drove through Colorado, where I didn’t feel hated. Once, however, we entered the Cornhusker state, where Brandon Teena was executed in a farmhouse for being himself, I saw that my existence was discouraged. No one said it. Gasoline station merchandise made it plain.
I took the advice of one decal.
I approached the cashier.
“Hi,” I said politely. (Note that the words I translated into English for this Nebraskan are italicized) “We drove through Red all morning and this is my first time in Flat Water. Is there a Flat Bread Cupping Ground Beef and Yellow Cheese Bell in town where I could get a Little Fat Girl? I’m starving.”
She said, “Huh?”
“I thought you spoke English,” I said, gave her a dirty look, and walked off to go tour the original sod house they had on display behind the gas station.
Anyways, back at Wal-Mart, I didn’t feel bad for gawking. So many of the shoppers looked like the mongolingual gas station lady who wanted my family hunted.
We headed to the Walmart bakery, because one of Ginger Jackie’s daughters was celebrating her birthday. She chose wisely among cakes.
I saw the gayest cupcakes every created.
We ran to the Dollar General for more props, a set of Mason jars, and I channeled Quentin Crisp in the toy aisle.
White trash props in tow, we drove back to Ginger Jackie’s, so that TJ could begin preparing for her big show.