THE CITY LIFTS ITS MASK
by Royal M Hopper III
As a child did you ever open a box of brand new cereal with a shiny and a pretty toy prize inside only to find out it was really the same old thing in
a different box with a different wrapper. In the end there is only so much you can do corn, oats and sugar. Its still basically the same thing.
People and cities are much like that. If they change for the better or worse its a likely because underneath they were always that way.
Two weeks after the mask mandate has been lifted a struggled to decipher how the City had changed and then over the course of a few days
driving to my mortgage paying endeavor realized what a silly twit I was being. Underneath the costumes it wears the City is the City is the City.
Now granted The shadow of winter had hung over the City of Sin like the masks we were required to wear were like
a badly matched outfit worn by a brash child on his way to impress his friends or like an old uniform on an athlete that had long outlived his playing days. The City had always been brash and obvious unapologetic of its loud crass ways _ and wore its reputation as the
City of Sin like a badge of honor or a carnation in a Villains pin stripe suit in an old film noir gangster flick. The masks seemed almost unnaturally humble for this brash no apologies city.
As I made the daily commute to the first day back at my mortgage paying endeavor I began to fall back into old habits by actually noticing the people who were walking the streets pf the City of Sin
Then as the usual assortment of non descript locals passed by a strange sight hit my jaded Sin City trained eyes.
He is shaggy with a full scraggily beard and long shaggy hair that would have fit in nicely at Woodstock had his grandfather not been a teenager when it took place. He wears a plain black blanket over his shirtless shoulders and wears dark colored generic dollar store pants.
He is in many ways The opposite of the City of Sin_ plain poor and desperate _ pathologically humble and numb and lost.
Not wishing any attention to his plight and averting his eyes from any gaze that happens to come his way and perhaps as his brain clears away whatever
fog was covering its damaged corners realizes he is walking down the a Sin City street with no shirt in the winter time. Had he stopped and walked over to my plain blue Kia
I had planned to simply sway back and forth and speak gibberish until he figured I was another hallucination and stalked back into the haze of his lost world.
He wore no mask. he didnt even have a shirt and it was winter so I guess he figured whats the point. “What are you going to do arrest me,” his attitude
seemed to day.
A little further down the road a patch work Ragged Ann Doll of a woman walks. She is obviously in a similar situation but instead of plain she wears a patch work of layered clothing
as armor against the cold desert wind. The top layer is some kind of wool house coat/robe pastel and earth tone plaid, mismatched blue jeans and a colorful collection of shirts and jackets all tucked in and sensible. She carries herself much like the city does, a colorful patchwork of bold, proud colors and no apologies for her condition or caring about the stares she may draw. “Yeah what about it,” her very carriage seems to say. She wore no mask perhaps sensing the mandate would soon be lifted or perhaps because it clashed with the house robe and left over cast offs she was clad in. She would wrap her house coat sleeves around her face as people approached_ perhaps as a courtesy.
There is another who looks like an artist hurriedly making notes and taking photos ..lost in the bright chaos of the City of Sin bathing in its wonderful apathy absently mindedly pulling up his pants as a passing child leans forward from his mothers arms to point at his protruding underwear. He snaps the
photo and absent mindedly pulls at the mask on his chin but leaves his underwear exposed. He wears a mask it is brightly colored like an abstract painting.
He is much like the City brightly colored, talented and built to entertain and a little paranoid.
At yet another corner an older woman from a far gone era stares around the City of Sin. Her clothes indicate she has some money and has enjoyed some success in life
but the city clearly frightens her but for some reason she cant turn away from its abstract canvas of tragic stories. “Get away you scare me,” one glance then ” No wait don’t leave,”
her attitude seems to say. She wears her mask like armor or social cammo and slaps the hand of a stranger way as it endeavors to touch her masking event.
Some people still wore masks some for their health _ to fend off the pandemic that had raged throughout the nation and some because the governor said so.
Now the mandate is gone lifted by that self same worthy and the face of the Sin City Denizens was once again exposed to the world.
You know what it didn’t make the slightest difference. The City of Sin is still the City of Sin masked or unmasked.
The City doesn’t change unless it wants too. If you have changed somehow against the odds. You are much like the City of Sin. It was always inside you whatever mask
you wore before the change happed because you will it. Give yourself credit for that. It wasn’t the winds of fate or the will of heaven. You did that
Sinners that is life in the City of Sin