So is this the Real America?
In my mediated view of America through cinema and literature, I’ve got loads of wildly different ‘Americas’ in my head but over the last thirty years I’ve only experienced urban US. The big East coast and West coast cities, with Chicago and New Orleans and Florida thrown in to the mix.
But I’ve never (except from 30,000 feet) seen open space America. The bits between the coasts. The vast middle.
So the drive from San Diego to Phoenix yesterday was an extraordinary six hour trip with riveting scenery at every passing second. And exciting glimpses of Mexico (because I do love borders, crossings, the liminal spaces of life).
Yet despite the newness of it all, it was strangely familiar. The extraordinary sight of a huge cactus sprouting out of the desert seemed perfectly natural. All those Westerns and kids’ TV series I never properly watched as a child but which were always on the television had informed my worldview at some unconscious level. Suddenly I now feel a need to go and view a few old episodes of something or other on You Tube.