Saturday, September 7, 2013

third world?

So I'm in Portland.

Walking along Commercial St; there's a sidewalk craft fair. jewelry, scarves, and photo prints. Mostly cheap and ordinary.

One booth has stones, common beach or river stones, but beautifully wrapped in silver. I stop.

The proprietor is an older woman with a round face. She asks me where I'm from. This is a tourist spot. Boat, cruise, and island people pass here:  people from all over the world.

Lewiston, I reply.

Oh, what a shame, what's happened to Lewiston, she says. It's like a third world country.
She pokes my arm.

I wonder what she means. Then I think of downtown, the tree streets, once homes for Franco-American millworkers and now populated by substance abusing low educated low income people with deficient hygiene and coping skills, dependent on charity and government handouts.

Oh, I say to her. Right. The substance abusing low educated low income people with deficient hygiene and coping skills.

She looks at me, pokes my arm. No! All those Somalians!

I look at her, I back away. What? The Somalis are the best thing to happen to Lewiston in 100 years, I tell her. They're hard working peaceful people bringing new life to our city.

She gets in one last poke and starts a rant about police inventing crime to save their jobs.

I smile and walk away.

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