I’m arranging things in the back of the truck when someone gets into my eye line. I look up and she holds a finger up to me in the time honored ‘I’m busy right now but the moment I’m not I’m going to want something from you’ pose.
She’s on the phone and, by the frenzied state of the conversation, I can tell she’s nowhere near the end. So I go back to moving things around the back of the truck. I’m still right next to her but now we’re both doing something. Seems a win/win.
But it’s not. I can tell she’s a little perturbed that I’m not standing guard over her phone call.
She talks, staring at me, for the next minute and a half, two minutes while I do my chore. I don’t know why she’s so mad. I’d actually be glad someone gave me some space while on what has to be, if the general outrage is to be believed, a very pressing conversation.
I can tell by the tone the conversation is getting to it’s conclusion. It’s not over yet, she still has to assure the other party that she’s going to get right on this, but it’s winding down.
So I stop paying attention to the truck. Remember, she’s still talking. She hasn’t stopped talking since she walked up. Just not to me. But I’m right there for when she decides it’s my turn to be honored by her attention. She’s not going to have to wait a beat.
“Well that was rude.” I’d like to think, because I don’t want this to start off adversarial, that she’s talking about the person from the phone. But we all know that’s not the case. I can feel the first wave of an ass reaming working its way into my smile. She doesn’t know that.
I ignore her comment and ask what I can do for her on the grounds that it’s a little early in our conversation to get the old ass reamer up to def con five.
“I mean, you just continued to fuss around in your truck when I came up to you.” She spits out the word ‘truck’ as if it were a persimmon seed. Complete with sour pursed lips.
At this point I’m sure I don’t have to tell you the duration and intensity of the alarms going off in my head. I keep telling myself, ‘It’s too early to shred her. It’s too early to shred her. Don’t open your book of insults. Try to get this one through without making someone cry.’
“Yes I did.” I’m looking at her wondering what in the world she needs me for.
And then she starts. She launches, without warning, into what seems like a replay of the conversation I partially heard. Why? Is she doing it because she thinks I missed something when I turned around? Maybe she doesn’t know that sound travels and I heard every little thing she said. But also, why would I be interested?
It doesn’t take me long to realize she’s doing this because she wants me to be outraged like her. And I do understand why she’s angry. But I also understand why this group ventures into lily white suburbs to have their little gatherings. They want those lilly white suburbanites to do what they do best (well, maybe second best after raising hellishly spoiled offspring): become outraged.
It seems as if the klan has petitioned her town to make a public speech. I remember this happened some years ago. People were outraged! People wrote letters to the editor! They had community meetings! People, those people got their ire up! People were saying the group was going to be armed! There was even talk about putting snipers on rooftops to protect the citizenry!
Sorry but I’ve got to think the klan is eating this publicity up. They hadn’t even said a word and they got more press than I’d seen about them in years in these parts. You want to get some press? Piss off an over caffeinated soccer mom.
In the end all that happened was some old guy talked while some pudgy donut addicts duck walked in front of him. If Charlie Chaplin made a klan version of The Great Dictator it wouldn’t have been more absurd played than this guy.
But I do sympathize with her. It’s terrible to have people talk hate right out in the streets of your fine city. Talk that’s normally reserved for your finer upscale private country and social clubs.
I tried to explain to her that, as much as I agree it’s a terrible thing, they normally win solely on the first amendment. The right, I don’t bother bringing up, that allowed her to saunter up to me and spew her unwanted words at me works for them.
All the pre-hysteria only brings more attention to their cause. I know that’s probably not a very popular rationale but I know if I don’t want more people to know about cat juggling I won’t be discussing cat juggling.
Outside of my very exclusive low rent unfurnished basement, of course.
My problem now was I still didn’t know what she came here originally to do. I had to get her off this conversation. And you know me, there’s only one way to do that. Piss her off. With humor. But I don’t think she’s going to see it that way.
“You can say anything you want about the klan but, you have to admit, their sun protection is second to none.” I see her eyes blow up. At first she doesn’t get it’s because they totally cover their body so sun can’t reach their skin. But when it does she is even more upset. I guess it’s time to def con five all over her face before she regains her balance. “I think they should change their recruitment slogan. I think it should be, Hate melanoma? Join the klan!”
As she’s storming away I find myself wondering who, at this moment, is she more outraged at?
I saw this after the event and, if she wasn’t so mad at me, I’d send it to her to give her an idea how to thwart that event: