Thursday, June 13, 2024

Chicanonautica: Cherchezing the Whither Goest Thou American Weirdness

by Ernest Hogan


The spring flowers died. Hello, triple digits. Memorial Day. Summer . . .

Emily and I hadn’t had any days off together for a while. But now, two in a row, we were thinking the same thing: Road trips! Pretend we’re playing hooky.

Besides, I was feeling cooped up. Needed to go out, see what the hell was going on. Cherchez the whither goest thou America weirdness . . .

Election signs finally began to pop up in Phoenix. A guy named Tony Rivero claims to be PROVEN CONSERVATIVE, REPUBLICAN, and TRUMP ENDORSED. Trent Franks self-proclaims being PRO-TRUMP PRO-TRUMP PRO-TRUMP promising to DEPORT ILLEGALS NOW! NOW! NOW! Abe Hamadeh’s signs have TRUMP APPROVED across the top, and often near them are other signs with pictures of him in a white toga and crediting him with saying “AMERICA WAS FOUNDED ON ISLAMIC PRINCIPLES.” 

According to news stories, the picture was taken in Mecca and the signs were paid for by Trent Franks.

These triggered futuristic flashes of Muslims for Trump rallies and brown folks wearing MAGA gear so they don’t get nabbed by deportation squads . . .

At a gas station, a white homeless guy didn’t talk, just stood and stared.

At a bus stop, a young black woman in an African/Mideast-style dress had headphones over her colorful scarf. I wonder what kind of music she was listening to?

All these dueling alternate universes. A good theme song would be Dueling Banjos played on thermamins.

Then, one candidate declaring himself to be a Democrat . . .

Off the 202, heading east, a billboard: LEGALIZE FREEDOM/GOD & COUNTRY.

Further on, a brown guy with a bullhorn blasted unintelligibly about something or other.

Eventually, the urban sprawl melted into desert with flower-crowned saguaros, and fire scars healing.


Further along: SECURE THE BORDER.

Finally, we came to Cypress Stewart Road, near Payson. A wonderful place to hike. Nature, with parts of the town leaking in, melting through the trees and hills. Big, fat lizards everywhere. Look out for the slippery gravel.

After tacos at La Sierra, we went to an antique store where Em bought some stuff. I took pictures of an invisible Mexican, a typewriter, and other artifacts of fading 20th century civilization.

Along Fossil Creek Road we saw a giant skeleton and a wooden eagle. Down the 260 a motorcycle whizzed past us. The passenger held a flapping American flag. The landscapes looked Martian along the 17.

The next day, we took off bright and early to have breakfast at the Coffee Pot in Sedona. I’m getting addicted to their huevos rancheros.

The election signs there had pictures of smiling women.

We hiked near Schnebly Hill Road, until it seemed too hot and colors got psychedelic.

Was the sign for a CONSTITUTIONAL CONSERVATIVE named Zipperman running for the Arizona Senate real?

There was another Zipperman sign as we entered Prescott. And a Trump flag on a tractor.

We checked out some of the surviving antique stores. Did the pandemic kill them off? Or did they just move? Can’t shake that postapocalyptic vibe.

Then, in the Peregrine Book Co., while we were signing a petition to pull Arizona’s abortion laws out of the dark ages, we found out that Trump was found guilty on all 34 counts in the hush money trail.

We checked the news. It was real. And there were no riots, or dancing in the streets.

Businesses in the conservative-leaning town were playing Bob Dylan songs.

The Memorial Day flags, being kept up for the 4th of July, took on a new meaning.

In a few days a Jewish female scientist/engineer was elected president of Mexico. I guess all things are possible.  And this summer of weirdness hasn’t officially started yet . . .

Ernest Hogan will be teaching his Gonzo Science Fiction, Chicano Style class again. online for the Palabras del Pueblo Writing Workshop in the fall.


Anonymous said...

Love to read how your brainseez things, makes me crack. DmileđŸ‘ŠđŸ€˜đŸ€Ÿ

Anonymous said...

Real life always seems to run in slow motion and more unbelievable than an bad syfi movie. Need more popcorn