i really wish the small town midwestern scene wasn’t so inherently conservative-slash-racist-slash-
generally-depressing because I feel a lot of affection for its Weirdness From Mundanity That is Both Comforting and Unsettling
Shitty fish frys during lent sponsored by the OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL SORROWS PARISH that even non-catholics go to; no one has a problem with it, but no one seems to know why or how they show up either. That single restaurant in town that isn’t a chain and you see at least six people you know there every time you go; the owner knows your parents and your parents parents and sometimes you wish they didnt. the 8 million churches, like, surely there’s not enough people even living here to keep all these open? that one sorta-creepy office-looking building that there’s always threeish cars at, but you’ve never quite figured out what it’s for. The Character who Everyone has seen jogging down main street in a bright neon track suit doing a bizzare aerobics routine no one can figure out (it’s funny until your mom tells you what she heard about them at the PTA meeting one time, which is invariaby something terribly sad and Everyone knows). The subdivisions built in the early aughts on the edge of town that are slightly nicer than the houses in town, but all look the same, and every street has a pretentious-fancy stone wall with the name of the street on it, and they’re all something crazy generic like “Crestwood Hills” or “Stone Ridge Court”; the person you hated in eighth grade lived in one of these, and somehow you know that they will again someday. the taco bell off the interstate that is, somehow, shitter than the average taco bell, but all the high school kids get high and go there after dances and over the years their energy has imbued with with some kind of trashy youthful magic. that eerie feeling when you’re at a crossroads out of the way at night and you stop at the red light for what feels like a really long time, but there’s no other cars in sight, and you have to take a moment to acknowledge that you’re following society’s rules Just Because rather than for any practical reason here and you could TOTALLY just run this red light without any consequences and and and then it turns green and it’s a huge relief
ok i am expanding upon this
deer like it’s the 11th plague, all their round milky eyes reflecting your car headlights. they look like they know things.
The empty, dilapidated building across from the CVS with “FOR RENT CALL” painted on the windows in big neon yellow bubble letters, but it’s sat there for so long the paint is chipping and the number is no longer readable. You think it used to be a bike store? But your neighbor swears up and down it was a flower shop, the CVS cashier seems convinced it was a CASH FOR GOLD place, and the guy smoking outside the CVS says it was a Radio Shack.
#Steak n Shake at midnight is a liminal space (via @goingforpoetic)
There is a Community Event. Is it a carnival? a parish festival? a fundraiser? a potluck? You don’t know. All you register is the gravel parking lot it is held in, dissolving into weeds on the edges. There is gross beer in those little semi-transparent plastic cups, and picnic tables older than you are. You dimly register children playing and screaming in the background. Women named Linda and Terri and Barb are talking at great length about their only-slightly-different potato salad recipes. There is an underlying tension to the conversation.
abandoned blockbusters like staunch reminders of mortality standing sentinel over their empty strip mall parking lots.
parking lots in general. Running errands is like being adrift in an ocean of cracked asphalt and faded yellow lines. And yet, somehow, the scrubby woods beyond always feel like they’re encroaching.
The antique store on main street that has been there, with the exact same window display, probably involving a wooden chair or two, for as long as you can remember. You have never seen anyone go in or out, but it somehow stays open for business day after dusty day.
Somewhere in town, a building that was once very obviously a specific fast food place has been repurposed for another use. It is uncomfortable to look at or be inside of, although you can’t really articulate why.
There isn’t a good season. Winter is a frozen, rock-salt covered void, summer is an oppressive and mosquito-ridden cricket concert, spring is Yellow Pollen Hell. Fall would be alright except that every able-bodied citizen is mandated to spend Sept 15-Nov 15 raking fallen leaves into bigger and bigger piles. where do they all come from? Every year someone says that it’s illegal to burn them, and every year everyone does anyway, the smoke so thick and grey it feels like burning an offering to some absent god.
There is That One Family with a million trillion aunts and uncles and cousins all in town, who all clearly look related and have the same last name. You went to grade school with at least four of them. They’re all perfectly nice, there’s just so many. Almost too many.
Grandparents who think (Denny’s/ Olive Garden/ Applebee’s) is the height of sophistication and can not, will not, be convinced otherwise.
There is much fanfare surrounding “homecoming” events at the high school. You know it’s just a phrase that doesn’t really mean anything beyond an excuse for football, but there is still something unsettling about the concept: who (or what) is coming home? How did they manage to leave this town in the first place? Why does the celebration of it feel so oddly ritualistic?
@darkersolstice idk I just assume you like (area) Gothic posts
I do, and you have no idea…