Wellington is a small matrix of crossroads, 20 miles south of Wichita on the way to Oklahoma. I'm there for my niece's wedding; I hiked from the motel to downtown for breakfast. I found alien bits and pieces along the way, symbiotic remnants of former unions, earlier passings and swaps in the pond.
A 1930s house .... 3 storied, asbestos siding, pink with two solar panels on top. Likely the only such gadgets in town and perhaps descendents of Carter's energy conservation program. Escapees from the recurring tornados that march the surrounding plains. Another home further along, 2 storied, adobe in a long line of stick houses with wooden siding. I'm told it has no kitchen and the second floor is bogus. I never noticed the sham from the outside and accepted its false display as genuine.
The one restaurant downtown, the "L&L Family Cafe," has wide vertical blinds, fluorescent lighting, the counter with a moulded back lip, 3 inches upward from the horizontal, apparently a migrated strip of bathroom or kitchen formica. Another invader ... the state lottery numbers ... occupies the wall. Still, the waitress called me "Hon," most of the people wore jeans, and I felt at home.
The next seat was eventually taken by a round, bespectacled 40 yo male in blue. He opened with weather and progressed to teaching "kids with behavior disturbances." The district has a program for about 15, a way station between jail and school so the kids can travel in two directions. We talked about the apparent need for some teens to hit walls and rebound, for taking a family history of achievements in order to find areas of likely success for the kid, for getting them into niches wherein they could be themselves, and for cautiously buffering their self-esteem with a little risperidone so they became team players. The poor guy wanted eggs, homefries, and bacon. He collected behavior genetics, some Brian Goodwin, and a little speculative psychopharmacology. I walked back to the motel, an opportunistic virus, making passage to a future by planting DNA in host organisms.
The wedding .... a lovely mosaic of formerly competing traditions. The lanky, toothsome groom, a willful clown, was Scottish and Methodist and in Air Force dress blues, my Catholic niece her demure wholesome best in her grandmother's satin ivoried wedding gown. (I think my niece chose fairly well after dropping one who failed to meet all of Symons-Buss.) Her sister was maid of honor and waited on her older sibling without complaint, perhaps for the only time in their lives. The service did not include Communion (a major shift from traditional Catholic views on weddings, formerly equivalent to not inviting God to the service) but the rings were blessed under a swinging thurible. Two guys wrapped in skirts and bagpipes up in the choir loft woke all of us just before the Wedding March; I teared up despite thinking about memes, Dawkins, symbiosis, and "Consilience." My limbic system integrated the pipes into the Mass ... guess I'm not hopeless.
Later chit chat.
"What do you do?"
"My second job is clinical psychology; my first job, my love, my passion that pays nothing is human evolution. What do you do?"
"I'm a chaplain at a hospital in Dubuque."
Uh oh. Moment of silence from which he rescued me. One question unfolded another. He mentioned the sea and once thinking of it as his mother. I've had similar moments. We became allies, two evolutionists in a room of special creationists. I'm sending him "Consilience."