Today, I woke up with absolutely no idea that I would do something my parents, television, and society at large always said not to do: I picked up a group of hitchhikers.
In October of 2004, I attended Scott Air Force Base Elementary School in the Mascoutah Community Unit School District Number 19. My best friend was a boy named Max. My favorite food was a double cheeseburger. My best subject was world history. 9/11 was still fresh in the collective conscience of America and John Kerry pushed desperately against the rising tide of neoconservatism in the home stretch of the Presidential election. My most pressing dilemma? Which color to paint the shoebox for a diorama.
Suitcases, backpacks, hiking boots, and bodies line the glass and concrete terminal. Metal benches produced in some no-name factory in an arbitrary city by sad little people who once believed in upward mobility are held in place by other equally sad men and women who still cling to the hope of making it big. A life-sized Barbie on the TV overhead decries this political atrocity and that and brings news of yet another murder in our precious hidden gem of a flyover city.