My good friend T. Wayne shares his thoughts on Orlando and the crisis of our national (international) love deficit. His words are soft and sad, hesitantly hopeful, a poignant antidote to anger and hate. Dalai Lama XIV tells us that “the true hero is one who conquers his own anger and hatred.” In the spirit of that sentiment, please check out this post and reflect with me on our collective responsibility to restore love to the world.
I don’t often issue warnings, but this time I will: if you continue reading, you are going to run into flagrant ignorance – including, but not limited to, overt racism and use of racial epithets. This post will also be the closest I’ve come to making any sort of political commentary on this blog.
Stephellaneous House Roles in effect: As always, anyone is welcome to disagree with me at any time. I appreciate and welcome varying perspectives and challenges of opinions and ideas. But anything even approaching blatant racism or hatespeak will be blocked outright. None of the regular traffic here needs that kind of rule…but you never know who may stop by.
The Scene: One dimly lit makeshift office, roughly the shape and size of a small, narrow walk-in closet. One long built-in desk along the length of one wall, just enough room for two people, three computers, six monitors and a bigass printer. I’m on the end, far side from the door. Office supplies, plants, and gnomes to my left, bitchass old lady to my right near the door.
The Players: One Stephanie, One Bitchass Old Lady, One Slightly Less Bitchass Middle-aged Lady, Several Garden Gnomes of varying size, a tiny plastic alligator and a tiny white goat named Garry bearing witness. Let’s call Bitchass Old Lady “Archie Bunker.” You know, the bigoted and racist prick from that old TV show. Let’s call Middle-aged Lady “Edith,” who – while softer and sweeter – was like-minded enough with Archie to have married him.
Archie may be the first old lady I’ve ever fantasized about punching in the face. But Edith…I love Edith to pieces, but she’s still…Edith.
I’m angry and stalling. Here goes. Take no prisoners.
It’s mid-afternoon, and I’m sitting at my desk. I’m bored out of my skull, head pounding, and I’m alternating between staring at my bank of four monitors, replying to you awesome people here on WordPress and getting lost in Facebook hell (you know, looking up family and shit from your past, an exercise you know good and fucking well will only end in pain and tears).
Archie is to my right, snoring off and on and listening to Fox News broadcasts at full volume. She’s semi-deaf. Because ancient.
Edith comes in at the Witching Hour. That is to say, at 3:00 all the coffee hounds have a fresh batch. So she came in with her steaming mug of burnt office coffee and leans against the wall, ready for chitchat and scintillating conversation about how slowly time is moving, but TGIF.
First the Bunkers share the ubiquitous gossip about our resident pill-popper (the most notorious of them, anyway). (White guy. Everyone in the fucking building is white. It wouldn’t make me mad if I didn’t know for a fact that it’s intentional.)
They then moved on to another drug topic. Bear in mind, please, that none of this was said with any hint of irony.
Listen in as Archie tells Edith about one of her Fox News reports. When I heard the topic, I turned the music down (I had my earbuds in – my only armor against Bill O’Reilly and cohort).
Archie whispers conspiratorially, “Did you hear about that…that guy the troopers pulled over?
Edith laughs, “Which guy? Guys are pulled over all the time.”
Archie snorts, “Don’t make me hit you, sassy mouth. I mean that…hoodlum they pulled over with all that….that marijuana!“
Stephanie stops the music but keeps the earbuds in, still facing her monitors.
Edith shakes her head, “No, but it doesn’t surprise me anymore.”
Archie: “Well, as you can imagine…it was a Mexican.“
Stephanie pops her earbuds out, still facing her monitors.
Edith: “Still doesn’t surprise me.” (Note: One of Edith’s sons-in-law is Mexican.)
Archie: “47 pounds! He had 47 pounds of marijuana! He swears it was all his own personal marijuana, but I don’t believe him.”
Stephanie chimes in, still facing her monitors, “He’s trying to shake a distribution charge.”
Both sets of eyes look over, and Stephanie gives a sidelong glance back.
Archie: “Well of COURSE he intended to distribute it.”
Stephanie: “Was it broken down? Or was it in bricks?”
Archie: “Bricks? I’m talking about MARIJUANA, Stephanie!”
Edith looks at Archie’s computer monitor, “Looks like bricks to me.”
Stephanie: “Mhm. Then they can’t prove it’s for distribution. Smart guy; he’s angling for a lighter charge.”
Archie: “SMART GUY?? He’s a MEXICAN with MARIJUANA. I hope they lock him away for good.”
Stephanie: “I don’t see what his ethnicity has to do with it.”
Edith skirts, “After a day like this, I may want to find that guy and go smoke one with him!”
Archie: “Stop making jokes. This is serious! All these…these…WEEDHEADS and and PEDOPHELIA TYPE PEOPLE are RUINING America! These Mexicans and that Islam Nigger President!”
Stephanie: “You cannot compare pot use with rape and molestation of children. Nor do I see how ethnicity has anything to do with any of this….Oh. And pot should be legal.”
Archie clutches her chest and goes pale, “STEPHANIE! You CANNOT be serious. Race has everything to do with it. And that drug has ruined lives and killed people!”
Stephanie (who rarely says anything): “That’s what you’re supposed to believe. Your fear of a literal weed that was supposedly brought here by Mexicans and Natives allows for the existence a multi-billion dollar industry run by our government.”
Edith: “She’s joking, Archie. She’s just trying to get you going.”
Stephanie: “No I’m not.”
Edith glares, Archie looks on the verge of a heart attack and Stephanie pops her earbuds back in but leaves the music off.
Archie: “Anyway. Them..them weedheads and pedophilias [sic] are everywhere. I bet you couldn’t even find a place to live on the moon without having one for a neighbor. It’s not safe anywhere anymore.” If she had pearls on, she’d be clutching them.
Edith: “Sooo…have y’all heard about that movie about assisted suicide?”
If blatant, inexcusable ignorance is this rampant in the PNW, I don’t know what the fuck I’m going to do. But I’ll tell you one thing: I’ve had it with sitting quietly while the people I’m surrounded by speak in this manner and think they can get away with it because my skin is the same color as theirs. I will no longer lend tacit agreement with my silence. I’ve been the quiet one all my life, especially when it comes to my elders. And I’m fucking ashamed of it.
The whole “respect your elders, Southern Charm” bullshit has overstayed its welcome with me. Just because Archie is 74 doesn’t mean she’s earned the right to spew ignorance and hate as gospel. That “good little Christian woman” is anything but. I’m Fucking Over It.