Thursday, March 27, 2014

hella fantastic people watching at the walgreen's tonight

and i'm terribly sorry this is out of focus, because i'd love to see what she's trying to print

soooo many things to say about what was going down at the walgreen's tonight.

we have a large amish community about 10ish miles south of here in kalona, and they're quite conservative even for the amish.  that they were even out of kalona, at night, is weird enough, but that they were at a walgreen's trying to print out photos at the self-service kiosk was just bizarre (they don't allow photos of themselves because of that graven image thing in the all you out there shooting selfies have much for which to atone).   since they were acting as a group (there were six of them) and they were fairly young, i'm guessing they're on rumspringa, but who knows.

i am absolutely KICKING myself for not standing behind the bigger group and shooting a better picture of their heads crowded around the photo kiosk screen...but i thought i might be pushing my luck as it was.  this is why i find this whole sociological event aberrant and fascinating:

1. if you didn't already know, these young people are kalona amish, an old-order amish sect.

2. the amish are extremely conservative in that they do not believe in using zippers or wearing jewelry or neckties or patterns or women wearing pants or cars or electricity...and they definitely don't believe in using the photo kiosk at walgreen's.  their view is that the world peaked in like 1820, so anything that came after that is heathen and wrong.

3. ironically, they do believe in modern healthcare.  you see them at the hospital all the time.

4. they speak this very harsh-sounding, bastardized version of dutch and american english, which sounds like someone is gargling roofing nails and vodka...whilst smoking all i could hear was this chatter of guttural noises and "oh yeah" or "just do this" and "try again" or something like that thrown it.

5. there was no horse and buggy in the parking lot (that is their method of conveyance), so someone's driving a car illegally (unethically?) as well...

6. for just doing what they are doing in these photos, these kids could be permanently shunned out of their church...but if it is their rumspringa, which i think it must be, then they could be forgiven once they "grow up."   they could even be forgiven for doing much worse than this, assuming they ultimately return to the church.  but i find it somehow sad and pitiful that their expression of youthful rebellion takes the form of using the self-service printer at walgreen's.

it is such a foreign world just in my backyard.


  1. ouah! I can see you're getting back on your feet :-) Life looks really interesting your side of the ocean! For me hamishes are a movie :-) I know I need to get out more!!!!! Maybe I could ask for a trip to Iowa as a birthday present, who knows!!! Take good care of yourself Missy! xo

  2. Wade and I were witness to a lovely little scene in the furniture dept of a big dept store one day recently when we were shopping. This store is one of the biggest ones in the city, and the dept is in the basement, far away from the crowds of the mall upstairs. Tucked into the corner was a loveseat with two young Hudderites with happy smiles cuddling next to each other. Hudderites live in collectives much like Amish, (although without the ban on modern technology, they wear long dresses and caps but drive big shiny king cab trucks) speaking their own dialect and with very scripted social contacts. So these two, the girl in her long dress and carefully kerchiefed hair, and the boy in his big black cowboy hat were probably risking something by meeting in the basement of The Hudson's Bay Co, but it was a sweet scene for us.
    Though we had to try to pretend we weren't looking and not linger so that we didn't make them nervous. It was the first time in my life I have seen such a vignette.I imagine that the world intrudes into the lives of all these people no matter what.

  3. beautiful, lia. thank you so much for sharing that scene. i can imagine the "english" world looks strange and confusing to them, as they seem to us. and i was being horribly intrusive with the photos--i do hope they didn't see me--but i can't say i regret taking them. the more we know about each other...

  4. They're probably rural Mennonites, not Amish.