You Know, Like Kerouac, But Completely Different #1

I’m sitting at a lopsided bench in a stretch of woods that straddle the line between Mississippi and Alabama. There’s a small, consistent, hiss of a propane-powered lamp that sits behind me. The sound almost resembles the low-pitched sigh of a teenager being told no after asking if they can go to a party “at their friend’s house.” But, you know, more incessant and unwavering.

To the southwest of my tent, mariachi music. Yes. Mariachi music, and the sound of laughter that thunders over the music from several men who I can only imagine are a few Busch Lights deep.

What I instantly thought of, however, is the palpable irony that seeps from that situation. Here I am, on the border of two adamantly southern states, listening to the sounds of mariachi in a newly Trump-ified, wall-bound nation. A nation that is partly (obviously I’m not blanketing this on every southern human, I’ve experienced some incredible kindness here) known for the no-nonsense, and almost comical lifestyle of the south. A nation that tends to slander those with a skin tone that deviates from the traditional vitamin-d deficient, sunburn-lined, white skin that so many are filled with pride over. And, here these guys are, filled with their own national pride and enough of it to spread the joyous sounds of their music.

It really is a great sound.

Good on you, guys. Have a Busch on me.


Ian Cosgrove is currently on a month-long, cross-country road trip. Check back for more short reports along his travels.


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