No Class Warfare

I watched the old red truck pull up to the pump. Held
together by rust and countless bumper stickers, its bed looking barely stable enough to contain the empty beer cans and plastic Wal-Mart bags it held.

The driver, his face weathered far beyond his years. A shoulder length mullet hair cut put my estimation of his age at mid-thirties. He was shirtless on a crisp fall day, either believing he were above the normal accepted behaviors of society, or seeking a spat with the retail clerks who are sworn to uphold ‘No Shirt, No Shoe’s, No Service.’ He walked with a swagger as if looking for someone to challenge him..

Let’s call him, Dwight Earl; (his name proudly stenciled on the door of the old truck) he flicked the filter less Camel to the concrete before inserting the nozzle in his tank. A long string of obscenities followed as he attempted to fit the nozzle emissions bib in position to pump his gas.

“God dammed Obama.” He muttered as the pump continued to click off and on.  Obviously the bib had not been retrofit for a 79 Chevy step side pickup. An understandable frustration, but I was quite certain the President had little to do with engineering the bib.

“Son of a Bitch gas went up again, those bastard Muslim friends of his get richer!”I assumed he was also referring to that  “God dammed Obama.” And not the British energy conglomerate BP, whose station we were both gassing up in. And I was fairly certain he was unaware that speculators on Wall Street have a bigger effect on gas prices at the pump than even the enormously profitable British conglomerate. And ironically the price of gas had dropped within the last several days. Perhaps it was more bravado for an audience of none, I was not impressed, nor  am I the guy that will cheer you’re right wing views shared aloud.

“Damn it I forgot my octane booster when we were at Wal-Mart.” I heard him scream at the sheepish lady in the front seat of the old truck. She was busy corralling the three little faces that peered out under the gun rack and a “protect our second amendment rights” sticker in the back window of the old truck.

She fought with one child to clean his snotty little nose,which was running profusely as he coughed.

“God dammed EPA” Dwight Earl muttered as he decried the poor engine performance of his truck, sans unleaded fuel. I wondered what effect his child’s respiratory system would be in if he added lead to the unfiltered Camel smoke in the cab of that truck? I speculated why the little ones were not in school or even day care at this time of day,likely it was the result of reductions in early childhood education grants our school district no longer received. That explained using the Wal-Mart for a source of daycare, entertainment, as well as a handy place to find lead substitutes for his engine.

I listened intently as he continued to complain through the closed window to a woman who I suspected had long ago learned to tune him out. She looked worn out and a very tired thirty something. Sad blue eyes, that seemed to accept rather than fight her fate. “My damn Rim is bent from the pothole, with all the taxes I pay, I shouldn’t have this problem.”  He had just come one block west of the new I-64, a massive two year project beautifully executed as a joint project by MoDot with matching federal infrastructure funds. I began to suspect he just enjoyed bitching.

I was thankful he completed filling his gas tank, and walked inside to pay the cashier. He had the young snot faced tot in tow.

It took all the patience I could muster to keep my mouth shut. It seems complaining and unhappiness is everywhere now days. Understandably, people are frustrated by the economy. I get it, but I cannot comprehend how they so easily place misguided blame. I suppose I’m no better in my frustration and anxiety over the state of the country, I just express it differently.

I closed my fuel hatch and walked inside to pay the cashier. A glimpse at the back of the old truck revealed a Tea Party bumper sticker and several hateful, albeit cleverly crafted blame Obama bumper stickers.

I stood behind him and his young son in line. He was toting a 12 pack of beer, but snapped at the child who wanted a caramel apple from the strategically placed display. This rebuke caused an eruption of tears, followed shortly thereafter by more runny snot from the tot’s nostrils. Which begat more loud mouthed yelling from Dwight Earl. As though the crying children were the irritant in the store!

I stood in line as he exchanged pleasantries with the cashier; it came in the form of complaints about the Construction site across the road being a union shop. The need to place blame for the plight of the country and the middle class needs a villain, clearly the Tea Party was fulfilling this need for the man by supplying liberal suspects.

As I seethed silently in anger and disgust, I was reminded of a quote by Thomas Paine.

“To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead, or endeavoring to convert an atheist by scripture.”

I wondered to myself how life would turn out for all of us,and especially his three little kids. God bless and may god help us all, for I fail to see how tax cuts and budget reductions will help this. Why then do the classes in our society, support people and policies that are counter to their own well-being, as well as those of the country? It seems our national discourse,is now one of anger and selfishness. I’m as guilty as the next guy,but realize or research where the problems lie.

I waited my turn, paid for my gas, and bought 3 caramel apples. I slipped them in the bed of the pickup with the beer cans and his Wal-Mart bags, and watched as he drove away. In the end, if there is no class, we are left with only warfare.

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~ by onthedarkside on September 26, 2011.

2 Responses to “No Class Warfare”

  1. Yes, that scene plays out so often. Sunday morning I had the fat tattooed Mom with red bra and black tank top yelling at her kids. Her flouresent orange press-on nails were hard to miss when she sneezed and blew her nose into a gray t-shirt. She bitched about buying them snacks, only to drop the wrappers out her truck window when she drive off, squinting thru her busted windshield. Happened right over here at the BP station.

  2. Good article , I am going to spend more time learning about this subject

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