August 22, 2020:

The exiles with their TVs and monster trucks and portly lack of exercise. Mountain tribes, the redneck variety, closer kin than I to my Ozarkian origins. They're unmasked, unconcerned, focused on bickering and television and pizza toppings, not whether their parents or their kids or their neighbors live or die.

The American Southern white working class, laborers with a peasant mentality. I know them, they're my people. I am of them but I am not in them, if "in" means "among". I ran, half a century ago, with my books and guitars and rebellious plans to fix a broken world.

Nowadays I like them, but they frighten me. They're angry, armed, defiant. I realize with a certain shock of recognition that now they all remind me of the bikers I once knew in San Berdoo, who were after all of them and in them. Now everybody's angry, not just the most overtly racist or sociopathic. A culture of sociopaths, maskless and bickering.

I wait for night to go for walks. They're in their cottages shouting over televisions. Outside the night is stone black but I know the neighborhood. I've been here for conferences and offsites and dates many many times. A raw stretch of not exactly pristine coast, but close enough to imagine. It's warm, I see orange horizons from fires north and east. It's summer in California and the world is on fire.