Love’s complicated, man.

So (relatively) recently I moved from the Barren Periphery of Austin to Austin-Actual, and one of the benefits of my newly situated situation is that I live basically next door to an Asian grocery. Now, aside being a fucking dope place because they have (slightly freezer-burned) red bean ice cream and (a single bottle of) CC Lemon, I also found a brief moment of beautiful patriotic reflection there.

I’ll explain.

So I was buying the week’s groceries at Wal-Mart. Strapped to the numbered posts of the checkout lines were tiny, cheap, and almost certainly foreign-made American flags. It was a statement. “America,” it said. “That’s where you are, mother fucker, just in case you forgot!” It was gauche, it was tacky, it was like shouting “I love you” to someone in that troubling way that makes you realize you’re trying to convince yourself the statement is true. It’s everything I hate about cheap, mandatory, “patriotism.”

Afterwards, I swing by Hong Kong Market for my bean cream and God’s gift to soft drinks. At this checkout line, I saw a Hispanic gentleman speaking through his rough accent to a Chinese lady working with her rough accent as they exchanged money for goods in the middle of a bigass English-speaking city full of white people. And in that one small moment, unnoticed by time and regional  management, I remembered the thing I actually love about this country.

Now, what’s all that have to do with a silly webcomic about people in space? Fuck if I know, man. But for just a brief moment, buying snacks felt a little bit like Star Trek, so I thought I’d share.