Identity is a weird thing. It's so... fluid. Dependent on circumstance. Able to change at a moment's notice.

Like when you're on a road trip. Driving across America -- very American, standard American pastime. When you drive past -- past the towns, and the open fields, past the strange roadside attractions that you'd swear were some sorts of shrines to strange gods, you're American. When you see the mountains and the forests and the salt lakes and the road stretching on and on, and when you watch the town, city, state line markers whiz past, you're as American as every last one of them. American, American. Past the strange iconic statue -- American -- past the just-as-strange statue so desperate to be as well know -- American -- past the only three other drivers on the road, all American.

But then. When it's been a while, and you need to go to the bathroom, and you pull up to the one restaurant at the tiny rest stop -- McDonald's, as American as they come -- you're jerked -- not exactly back into the, but perhaps sideways into a -- reality, and you're reminded that you've never (well, hardly ever) been in one of these before, never participated in this temple of American-ness, and as you put on a baseball cap -- maarat ayin -- and walk inside to go to the bathroom, very concious of how suddenly Not Part you are of all the American-ness around you, as you walk past the American eating the hamburger and the American making the french fries, into the bathroom -- all graffitied up by all of the Americans signalling, tagging, talking, existing in their American space.

And you -- suddenly you see how cut off you are from all that, how separated. In so many places you're American, American, but not here -- in this Midwest-rest-stop-McDonald's bathroom, an American Holy of Holies, and here you are, cut off from that American-ness and you --