If you look past the dull roads and little or no life, Alabama is breathtakingly beautiful.
It is not necessarily Sweet Home Alabama as the song suggests but it is wonderful. It is like the countryside and the suburban outskirts had a baby and named it Alabama. Alabama is not pretentious. This is because encountering Alabama is a lot like dating an older man. What you see is what you get. It does not try, just like the old man who rolls over after two minutes of cheating on his wife and snores.
The beauty about Alabama is that it is so rusty and calm, you can hear yourself think on most days. It is one of those places that one hopes to retire to. Or a place one runs to and hides in after robbing a bank. Or where one builds a house for the other woman, you know, the one that does not wrap her hair in some hideous stocking when going to sleep. It is refreshing and intimate. No one really cares about the other. Six weeks in, the neighbors are stranger than fiction to me. Their dogs are familiar though, only because they have tags.
The thing about rusty states in the southern part of the country is that they are a bit conservative. For quite some time, it was illegal for a white person to marry a black person in this state. I can’t begin to imagine what they think about men who stick it into each other, or women who give scissors a whole other meaning.
If Alabama were a parent, it would be the mother that stares hard at you in church when the preacher talks about virginity and condemns fornication. It is more uptight than the chief’s daughter. The only time it comes to life, glowing even, is during the football season. It is a state that worships football and can be obnoxious at it. When not worshipping Nick Saban, the Alabama football coach, they are looking for better and more pompous ways to worship him. Such a vain lot.
The long and short of it is that I’ve had it. One more stare and I’ll go mad. When people in Alabama stare, they do it shamelessly. They stare until you feel your blood cells blushing. One more, ’’Your hair is so nice and interesting’’ and ill strip and run on the streets, just like your favourite Kenyan politicians promise to do every time Baba breathes.
Anyway, this is not about that. Black Panther made black people feel like they are too big for this earth. Heck, when I was not drooling over Chadwick Boseman and Winston Duke, it made me feel like Wakanda was not just an illusion created by Marvel. Black Panther made me feel like a god. Which is why the staring in this state drives me bad. Excuse me Mr. Smith, I have beautiful black skin and your tan sucks. Now move along.
It is a bit tough being black, nay, Black and African in a predominantly white state where strains of the racist Ku Klux Klan Klan still exist, and menacing rednecks are a common sight.
Just the other day, the white cashier at the store chatted heartily with the customer in front of me. When it came to me, the cage between the monkey and the superior human came up. It was as if she was struck dumb. That is not what irks me the most. Small talk on encountering other humans drives me nuts. There’s something about overfriendly people that comes off as closet racism. The snide compliments such as, ’’Oh, You’re so gorgeous. Where are you from?’’
‘’Your closet, colonizer’’ Well, maybe I am overreacting and obsessing over things.