Once upon a time I felt like a surrealist sitting in front of The Alamo. The grackles were coming to roost in the live oaks, squawking and whistling and chirping. The crepuscular light also brought hordes of bats who appeared from the west and I wondered why no one worried about a rain of droppings.
I missed the photo of a lifetime. A woman walked past in a full black hijab over an iridescent blue burka. She crossed the street in front of an illuminated Cinderella-themed wedding carriage drawn by two white horses driven by a mock lonesome cowboy.
The street lights came on which made it hard to read the FREE HUGS placard held by the handsome, smiling young man in torn blue jeans. He wore a black polo shirt with a green fringed V-neck. It seemed incongruous until a young black woman did hug him. Then she took over the pitch. He walked over to a team of students across the road who I realised were watching, taking notes. It was all faux, some kind of student social exercise.
I wondered if Davy Crockett would have reconsidered laying down his life if he could have looked into the future from The Alamo. What would he have made of a bobbing T-Rex across the road in Ripley’s. Believe it or not, there are enough other things on view to have bewildered him long before the model T-Rex. The road itself. Cars.
He’d have been pleased to see there’s no shortage of food in San Antonio though what he’d have made of the girth of his descendants is anyone’s guess. Is girth correlated with success in our minds? What would Davy have made of the tattoos? Their colour and artistry would, I think, have amazed him. I doubt he would have understood why some were only blue, thought he might have questioned it because, as I sat there, they accounted for one in every three visible tattoos. I still have my obsessive compulsive counting disorders and I wonder how many of the inked still have those tattoos?
I noticed that a paparazzi of flash had arrived. Or perhaps a flash of paparazzi? Dusk was closing out another day and the tourists continued to photograph each other’s gurning and mocking poses, augmenting and infilling the faded light with phone flash from flash phones. Squares were the ‘out of touch’ when I was a kid. Somehow squares became Insta cool.
Three college kids were shouting as they passed me. ‘She called me narcissistic then said like that’s not a compliment’. Very drunk white kids, they shouted to each other to defeat their ear buds. The hispanic kids just strutted and posed, the black kids hipped and hopped and gesticulated.
There were identifiable air force kids, graduates with their parents, fathers looking strong with stiff upper lips though standing shorter than their vitamin-sufficient, buzzed-head kids. The women of this tribe looked very proud and pleased. But not smug. These are hard working tribes, passing on a work ethic to complement the inheritance of little more than dna. Their pride is that of their nation. Unlike the heroes of The Alamo, one suspected they will be providing a service for which there will be little thanks in the years to come. One wonders at the home-coming reception that awaited General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna who somehow lost the battle.
Then I needed to find a place that served food. Sadly, it proved too hard to locate a place with reusable crockery and cutlery.