101 Coffee Shop

Early morning, before my construction job. Drip coffee. Mugs. Creamer.

A man is singing a Jerry Jeff Walker song with a line about waves. Another man is heading out, his tan lab waiting for him outside. He greets his dog and they walk out into the drizzle. They are on the move, living out of cars, rigs or in the willows or woods.

The Grapes of Wrath, which I am reading again for the first time in 30 years (or is 35?) was written for them. We are there again, albeit in a different way, and with a much lower employment rate. I am diving deep into Wrath and I see the striking similarities from the Depression era to the New American diaspora underway today. No one drives jalopies today…wait they do…they’re called old RVS…and the members of the contemporary diaspora jalopy around in them, (or on foot or bicycle) and they aren’t looking for work like the Joads and tens of thousands of other were back then; they are looking to check out in protest or indifference or delusion or depression or depravity or defeat.

I see members of this diaspora every day. I often talk to them. I pet their dogs.

American politicians are oblivious to these people.

They are on the move but going nowhere except down the opposite path of what they are expected to do as Americans.

I want to know more about these people. I want to hear their stories.