Be prepared. This will be a two topic post.
Part 1: I used to be big into hunting for ghost towns. I love all things abandoned. I love imagining what they were like in their heyday and trying to figure out what went wrong? Why was this thing abandoned? When was the last time someone was here? It’s like when you come upon ancient ruins in CIV5 even though you’re in the ancient era. How was this thing just left to crumble like this? When we ventured out to Big Bend in January I figured we’d come across a lot more abandoned towns; west Texas is practically teeming with them; but we didn’t. There were abandoned buildings here and there, but not much in what I’d call ghost towns. If we’d had the time to actually explore I’m sure we could have explored several, but four days isn’t much when it takes a full eight hours to cross half your state. We found this abandoned motel in Monahans, TX at 8 in the morning after sleeping for a full two hours and driving almost six. It was right off the highway and on the way into town where we planned on getting breakfast but ended not stopping. I didn’t get to explore as much as I would have like, but I was also about to fall asleep standing up and the whole thing was honestly a little scary and possibly still inhabited.
Part 2: It’s weird to me to think that people woke up on Friday morning with Dallas on the front pages of their newspapers, or popping up in their news feeds. It’s strange to me that their television programs were cut into for breaking news from my home city. It doesn’t make any sense. It’s weird that words and places like the BoA building, El Centro College, West End, Lamar and Commerce and Main, DART were popping up on people’s screens all over the nation, maybe even the world. It’s strange that there was a live feed on Reddit and a mega thread with time-stamped updates. That they were mentioning places I’ve been to countless times, streets I’ve walked and photographed for years. And it’s heartbreaking. That’s the only word I can think of; heartbreaking.
I grew up in the suburbs north of the city and still live there now. We venture to Dallas for rock shows, and nights out on the town, for barbecue and a day at the brewery. We take 35E (not west) southbound to Woodall Rodgers to Pearl St to celebrate a birthday or a wedding and we complain about the traffic and construction on the way, then sigh and smile as the skyline comes into view. “That’s ours,” we say, “that’s our city, it really is great, isn’t it?” And then curse some more as our exit is coming up too fast and we’re in the wrong lane. But she is great. I think we have proven that.
I complain a lot about living here. I say things, like it’s boring, or it’s too hot, or I can’t wait to get out. But when asked where I’m from I’m standard Texan – full of pride and polite – “I’m from Dallas, Texas, sir.” And there’s a bit of a drawl even though I know how to speak without one. It doesn’t matter where I go or how far I travel, unless I am home, in the northern part of the metroplex (which is apparently a made up word), I am from Dallas. This is home and always will be.
The events of Thursday night have shaken us and sent us reeling. We are heartbroken. We have no words to fill the voids left the by those who have fallen. And really I’m clueless as to what to say or think or feel. I’m sad. I want the violence to stop. I want to understand. I want to help and when I say that I mean both sides, all sides. I want my country and my countrymen to be better. We have to be, if we’re to have a future. I want people, including myself, to just stop and listen. Listen to the other side. Listen to the person next to you. Even just for a moment have an ounce of compassion, of concern for your fellow human. Realize that the fear and hate have to stop because until they do we will keep dividing ourselves up and more lives will be lost.
I’m sadden by the events of Thursday night, by the shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota the nights before, and all the events that led up to this. My heart is breaking, but it will heal, just as Dallas will.