It was a good day for the most part, when I reflect back it was full of discovery. We began our day with the last Walmart from the first day (maybe that could metaphorically reflect something)
the day went on…
We encountered several situations as we passed through Oregon. I mentioned in the last writing our experience of being in the first Walmart that told us not to take photos, what I failed to mention was what Morgen pointed out as signs or other occurrences that reflected the environment we were in– the guy riding with the confederate flag who rolled down his window and screamed at us and also the woman who warned us about the cops– totally random.
- During our gas station break we brought some lovely jerky.
- I had previously predicted I’d make this purchase.
- It was set into motion because Morgen was skeptical about the gas.
- He said it would put air in the tank.
- He stopped the pump at $26.41.
- I paid the difference in coinage to preserve the budget. Jerky and Coffee.
- We both pooped.
- I had a strange feeling she could see us in the restroom handling our business.
- I paid with dollar coins.
- I asked and she told me the truth about the coffee. (There was a Folgers coffee container but it was not Folgers coffee, it was Farmers.)
- someone told us about the exciting volcanoes through Oregon and washington. That we missed, obviously.
Pulling up to Walmart, I expressed concern to Morgen, I wasn’t sure I would feel safe sleeping at this Walmart and it was our last stop of the day. Before we got out of the car we put our belongings in the trunk and under the seat. I think we were both slightly tired. Morgen left his phone in the car, he asked for the keys to run back. I was apprehensive about it, in frustration I handed him the keys, I figured he could have used my phone, but whatever– I thought.
A guy asking me to take his photo gave me a sense of relief– noticing my camera (should I be relieved– now thinking back.) I begin my task and its more tedious than I imagined, logging the material contents, the price and where its made, I realize I’m creating an inventory.
What does this mean and how can I think through this as an approach? (see sketchbook)
I saw Morgen a few times so I knew what he was up to. He was planning to try on women’s clothes. My initial feeling was that it was too soon, he was enthusiastic about it though… Really
thinking, Ya know?– really engaging! It’s new to ‘em, which at times is the best part. His unknown becomes the most generative.
My logging escapades make me weary, I think to myself, “it’s been a long day and lots of new insights, I close my journal and walk over to the dressing room. I knew Morgen was inside, I saw his legs, laughing to myself because in my memory, they were bouncing. My expectation was that things would be, ‘good,’ (easy to digest.) Walking closer, I remember something Morgen told me earlier, this walmart in particular was serious about the number of items folk were allowed to take into the dressing room, so, although I wanted to enter in with morgen it didn’t seem appropriate. To be certain, I asked the associate was there a guy in the fitting room, the associate replied saying,” yes.” I call Morgen, by voice, exclaiming that I want to see and to let him know I was outside the dressing room.
“Morgen burst out of the fitting room– smiling awl big!”
I couldn’t see what he was wearing but he caught both the associates and my attention. As I begin to focus I see that he’s wearing a skirt, but it being dark tan, it practically blended with his body. Morgen animately began to exclaim that he didn’t like the it… “ I don’t know… I don’t think this look ri–ite” He was like… How does my this make my this and that look (rolling expressions– carrying) Everything happened in this moment, so– maybe it was me but when I saw and heard this everything just came crashing down– I know… I felt… I saw the woman’s look of frustration, annoyance, disgust, and disinterest, and although it had nothing to do with me I feel it had everything to do with me. When Morgen emerged from the dressing room everything immediately took a turn. He seemingly began to perform and my sensitivity to it only allowed me to see this as an embodiment of me, all control was lost; mockery– I feel mocked, was this some strange way that Morgen thought he could entertain us? I felt impossible. My inclination was to have nothing to do with the situation– protect myself by disengaging. His performance was simultaneously too far and too close. I wanted to explode! I wanted him to hurt, I wanted him to know why that doesn’t work, why I couldn’t take/tolerate that and why I wouldn’t… Maybe I want control too! My control seems like freedom– I want to control the uncontrollable until the control is uncontrollable.
– The dressing room attendant was replaced.
– Morgen had interacted with them both.
– Morgen and I started arguing.
– I’m trying to listen but this really isn’t the time…
Teresa, finally, after something was revealed and she read context clues (my camera and journal) she queried into the project.
I’m still highly upset but more than anything I’m ready and hoping to share, hoping she listens, hoping– excited because she is the first person we speak to about the project. She ask what’s happening, we totally both break from one another and begin to share with her… It’s a three way dialogue and she’s checked in– I feel it.
It’s a lot happening.. I’m baring the experience that I just had alongside sharing the project with her; Morgen’s responding to me and sharing his thought process with us.
She begins to speak..
We ask her questions..
Her insight comforted me in ways that I can’t explain– but needed. I think in some ways her insight could have been revelatory for Morgen, Teresa shared with us real experiences of shoppers that shopped, “at the boundaries,”– their limits and the moments that go unshared– the estranged customer but also maybe the policy that continues the estranging.
What she also shares, is, her opinion and personal experience, her mexican identity/heritage, her past, and how it shapes and affects her knowledges that relate to ideas of gender and sexuality. She also shares with us more intimately, by having an African American lover, she is aware of a version of black shame/embarrassment and its intricate relationship to black queerness. After talking for a little she shares with us her support, expresses excitement, and wishes us luck, I told her that she saved Morgen. I hadn’t worked through my feelings, it’s all of sudden, but I certainly grew from her– from this.
(she said she felt what morgen did was mockery too, she figured it would be an unfolding experience for us.) [ I don’t want to be over-reacting]
Headed back to the car I was still pretty salty.
We were standing in the parking lot face to face…
“Do you guys have… can you help me?” a man approaches us asking.
I can’t not help someone… but ya know, I have to trust Morgen can shut up… and not go and tell a total stranger, in a place that I was just beginning to feel safe, everything– Morgen shares too much with a guy who is asking tooooooo much… Ahhhhhhhh…. On top of everything I feel Morgen jeopardize our safety or maybe I did by helping in that way. We then decided to drive an hour into our trip for today– we fuss, it was a rough night.
Morgen starts rambling about a movement and our inability to do anything, that the work we’re doing is in vain– that we are the only ones that can be changed by this.
I told him he just wanted attention– recognition, it’s all for show to him. We were at one another’s throats.
We calmed down.