Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee
I was talking to a man who doesn’t know how to read or write. Also, he runs a business, employs the disabled, is a homophobe, jury-rigged a big-screen TV into his RV, and makes a mean rack of ribs. We talked about the weather. He gave me good guesses on when it might rain.
The worst thing happening right now is no-one wants to talk to each other. There’s different reasons for it – money, time, technology. No matter how you get there, though, all roads lead to Rome, and our Rome is made up of closed doors and closed opinions.
It’s easy to cut yourself off from the complicated middle-places where people used to meet. You read all your news with whatever slant you want, share your opinions with like minds on the message boards, and order groceries to be delivered so you don’t risk running into any unsavory characters at the store. You’re the king of your own castle, and thought it might be small, god it feels glorious to be in control.
I think there’s this assumption nowadays that people have to be perfect. They have to have spotless ideals and live to a strict code. No-one, in the end, is so perfect, but its not that hard to trick yourself into thinking that the people you already love must be.
What a boring world.
I remember how the hairs shot up when he threw that slur. He was talking about a guy he worked with at a different store, a cashier, who wasn’t running the money the way he thought it ought to be run. He said the guy must be gay, though he didn’t say it so nicely. And he repeated that a few times, almost spitting, then laughing about it, and waiting for me to laugh along. I didn’t laugh along. But I didn’t cut him off for it, either. I said “That can be a hard job. Maybe he was having a bad day.” And the guy says “Maybe,” and that was it.
Should I have fought harder? Should I have taken this guy to task for the slurs? Maybe. I think there’s a place out there for people who want to fight every fight, bloody their knuckles for good causes.
This guy – pushing 70, illiterate in the information era – goes on to light up as he tells me all about working on that RV. And then we talk about memorial day, and cooking, and though I’m not a meat eater anymore, I can appreciate the savor he puts in those juicy, crackling ribs. If you asked me point blank, I couldn’t tell you he was a good man, but no one with those bright eyes is wholly bad.
Look at an album of family photos, then find your reflection in the shiniest bit of steel in your kitchen sink, and admit that you’re not as perfect as you think you are. Then go out and find some bastard to talk to and try to suss out the good.
Currently Reading: NOTHING! Couldn’t get back into Bourdain, no matter how much I tried; will pick a new book soon
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i even tried to bury myself aliveRupi Kaur, self-hate, in The Sun And Her Flowers
but the dirt recoiled