Sunday, November 22, 2015

1:10 A.M.

Lying in bed. Remembering an investigation I conducted many years ago in a small Texas town. I'd fly in to Lubbock and drive and drive. Not a mountain on the horizon. Scattered farms. The occasional small town with a garage, a hamburger joint, a church, and a few shops and then - bam - you're past it and heading for the next one. Some are so close to one another that you wonder what draws people to live in one versus the other since they are almost indistinguishable, at least to me, but if you're going to live there then such distinctions probably don't matter.

I met with managers who wore white, short-sleeved shirts. All carried a multitude of pens. All were friendly. I was the alien from another world, come to learn about their operations. My every move was studied. If I chose a Dr. Pepper from the vending machine, that would be remembered. 

The office workers had been there for years although some would occasionally escape to a better-paying job with more benefits at a nearby prison. The mill workers had equal longevity. They would be covered with lint and during each visit I'd wonder how long it must take every evening to shower away the dirt. Some jobs require an evening or afternoon shower. My guess is it provides a different perspective on each day.

It is easy to visit a remote location and silently ask, "Why are you here?" But if they visited me and saw the traffic and masses of people they may believe I live in a strange and remote spot where you can't possibly know over 95 percent of the people in town.

They may want to ask me the same question.


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