Monday, July 9, 2012

Two Broken Jaws: Poverty & Motel Subculture

The deranged hijinks's of the usual full moon, missing earlier in the week came roaring to the forefront beginning late Saturday.  If not the full moon, it was a superb imitation.  Regardless bad driving and minor tragedy smiled a sardonic grin, suggesting that even if not an active participant you might as well enjoy the performance, admission free to all.

Early Sunday morning I got a DSHS/HopeLink ride Harborview to Valley Medical Center, the passenger literally having had her teeth pushed back into the interior of her mouth by a smashing punch.  She praised HMC staff for repairing the damage.  She made mention of some kind of stalker or other variety of unsavory acquaintance.  Her prevailing fear had me drive her directly into the hospital's parking garage where her battered steed waited.  After that I had to take a nap before making it back to Seattle, exhaustion overtaking the weakened mind.

Much later early Sunday evening I took yet another victim, again courtesy of DSHS up to her State Route Highway 99 motel in Edmonds, Washington.  Unfortunately she was in far worse shape than my early morning fare, emitting low groans throughout the ride northward.

Pulling into the motel I was pleasantly surprised to see that she was greeted by a small legion of concerned folks ranging from teenagers to  senior citizens.  Too often I have dropped off the maligned and injured to uncertain destinations.  Thank goodness this occasion was different.

 Unless you are a taxi driver or a cop you might be totally unaware of an impoverished underclass dwelling in our nation's motels.  I first encountered these denizens of America's social underground way back in 1963 when my father moved us to Todd's Trailer Court located beside East Colfax in unincorporated Adams County just east of both Denver and Aurora, Colorado.   Along with the dilapidated mobile home parks were equally sad motels dating from the 1930s and 40s, all of us in a welfare-generated trance pretending that we were just like everyone else, a myth dispelled by Cragmont sodas and uneatable government supplied commodities.  I remember exploring an abandoned motor court, as they were sometimes called, fascinated by faded postcards advertising a reality literally crumbling before my nine-year old eyes, my father accidentally introducing me to marginal worlds better avoided by the childish and developing brain.  Perhaps it created empathy.  Lord knows these two particular passengers are deserving of lighted candles and fervent prayers.  May domestic violence and the battering of women soon become a distant memory along with the millions of other ills afflicting our daily and confused existence.

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