Wednesday. July 27, 2016. New posts below, but before scrolling down. Please read:
Once again, thanks to everyone who donated to the medical bill fund. Your help and generosity really saved the day. Surgery's this morning. Should be over by noon. I'll check in to let you know how it went as soon as I'm able.
Again, thank you. And thanks to all for reading the blog.
Trump’s core voters clearly don’t care that he’s a know-nothing racist. They like that about him. They’re racists themselves and they don’t think there’s anything to know worth knowing that they don’t already know. They believe that everybody who claims to know things they don't---experts, intellectuals, political policy makers---is faking it, making it up, or actually stupid, lacking in common sense, street smarts, and the real life experience that would have taught them how the world really works and how real people live.
They don’t care, either, that Trump is a liar, a cheat, a criminal, a thief, a conman, and a madman. They don’t care that he’s pretty much promising to govern as a shake-down artist. Clawing our money back from China. Making Mexico pay for the wall. Taking their oil. Breaking our NATO commitments and leaving Europe to fend for itself against Russia. These are threats along the lines of Nice little restaurant you have here, shame if something happened to it. They like all that about him too, even the madness. Sure, they’ll tell you, he’s crazy. Crazy like a fox. As far as they can tell, the country is run by liars, cheats, thieves, conmen and conwomen, madmen and madwomen. Blackmail, bribery, and extortion are the arts behind the all the deals. And it’s hard to tell them they’re wrong. What they want from Trump is that he lies, cheats, steals, cons, blackmails, bribes, and shakes down other countries on their behalf.
On their behalf. Not on the country’s. Not on America’s. On their own specific and exclusive behalf. No sharing. They just use America as a synonym for ME and MINE!
And they don’t care that Trump doesn’t play by the rules, either in business or in politics or in his personal life. They like it that he acts as if rules don’t apply to him. The way they see it, rules are written to benefit the people who write them and to be used against people like themselves. And like I said before, it’s hard to tell them they’re wrong. Trump has given them permission to say to hell with the rules. Trump, they believe, is going to re-write the rules so they work in their favor at last.
These are disappointed and angry people. They believe they’ve been robbed, cheated, abused, and suckered. And now they want revenge. They want to make THEM pay!
This is why I say Trump’s an infection. He plays to their anger and resentment and sense of having been denied what they’ve rightfully earned and he inflames it and encourages them to spread it to others. And part of what makes him so infectious is that he’s promising to get revenge for them. To take it back. Finally, he’s telling them, you’re going to get what’s owed to you. Finally, you’re the ones who are going to come out on top. Finally, you’re going to be the ones raking it in. Finally, you’ll be the ones pocketing the loot.
That’s what they want.
That’s what they expect him to deliver. Their slice of the pie. Their piece of the action. Their cut of the take.
Wait until they find out he’s planning to leave them holding the bag. Again.
The one waitress working the late shift is carrying on a conversation with a customer as she goes about taking orders, delivering food, and bussing tables. The waitress is in her late 50s, the customer in her 40s. Both are having money and marriage problems and they’re commiserating with each other as they exchange the sad details of their lives. The waitress is trying to sound hopeful and good humored. The customer is trying to be funny about her troubles which are worse than the waitress’. Her divorce was bitter, she was apparently at fault, although it’s not clear to me how, and now she’s estranged from her now grown children. She seems to accept the blame and whatever happened it didn’t leave her thinking highly of herself. The waitress and her husband have patched things up but it’s still a touchy situation. But the point of sympathy between the two isn’t their marriages or money troubles. It’s their brothers. Each has a brother who is disabled.
The waitress has been trying to help her brother get on disability and find an accommodating place to live. The customer went through the same thing with her brother, successfully, and she’s full of advice, recommendations, and encouragement. It was easier for her and her brother because he’s a veteran, but she’s confident the waitress and her brother will get through it. She also offers practical help.
“If you need me to take him anywhere or fill out any papers, don't hesitate to call.”
The waitress melts. “Aww, you're a sweetie. Thank you.”
“That's ok,” the customer says cheerfully. “That's what I do. I don't do anything else well but I know how to do that.”
So tonight at around a quarter after eleven I looked into the refrigerator and saw that we were low on milk. The convenience mart here in Mayberry closes at eleven. I decided to make a milk run anyway. Probably could have waited till morning but I was restless. Several local supermarkets stay open until midnight and of course there are gasoline stations that are open 24 hours. Our convenience mart is part of a chain that sells the best dairy products in the state, however, so I looked on line to see if any of the other stores were still open. Turned out, one was. The website said it was open until midnight. Off I went. Twelve miles north. Got there around 11:35.
A clerk was out front taking in the outdoor display of automotive supplies. He stopped what he was doing when I pulled up and came over to the car.
“I’m sorry,” he said when I rolled down the window. “We’re closed.”
I was startled by the news.
“Your website says you’re open till midnight.”
Again, please note the date.
“I know,” he said without a hint of apology or, for that matter, irony.. “Those are our summer hours.”
All straight, white, American men spend the first twenty years of our lives thinking we’re destined to be heroes.
Doesn’t matter that for most of us the evidence begins piling up while we’re still in grade school that we’re not going to be. We grow up convinced of it. We’re going to be the envy of other men and an idol to women. We’re going to be rock stars, movie stars, star quarterbacks, business tycoons, astronauts, generals, President of the United States, inventors of better mouse traps and curers of the common cold. We’re going to write the Great American novel, make Academy Award Winning motion pictures, found start-ups that will change the way Americans live, work, and play. We’re going to climb mountains, explore oceans, set records of all kinds. Secretly, many of us believe that in one real way or another we’re going to be superheroes.
The vast majority of us spend our twenties having it continually and brutally proved that we were wrong!
We learn that to a ridiculous and embarrassing degree we overestimated our talents and strengths and intelligence, our good luck, our merits, and our privilege. We learn that we’re not the geniuses and prodigies we thought we were, that we are, at best, mediocrities. We learn that relative to what we expected to be, we’re failures.
Those of us who don’t learn this in our twenties, do in our thirties and forties. Some lucky or just stubbornly obtuse few don’t learn it until they’re in their fifties or even their sixties when it dawns on them their youth is well and truly over along with their careers and they haven’t achieved what they set out to achieve and that what they have achieved doesn’t amount to as much as it seemed it would during the achieving and gives them less satisfaction than they assumed it would.
This means that that most of us spend our middle age coming to grips with disappointment and a sense of failure and loss. We learn to live with what we have and what we’ve done and accept our lot or at least resign ourselves to it. We find solace and contentment and the strength to keep going in friends and family and small pleasures. We even enjoy our lives and count ourselves lucky. Sometimes, often times, we’re actually happy. Some of us even feel blest.
But then there are those of us who don’t.
Many men spend their time brooding on their miseries and making themselves more miserable in the process. They grow bitter and sour, angry and vindictive, nursing grudges, storing up grievances, sinking into self-pity and self-contempt, which is no fun so they project it onto the world which they see as against them for no reason except malice and spite. They look for reasons to be mad and sad and sorry for themselves. They are constantly gathering evidence that others are to blame for their failures and disappointments. They go out of their way to get even. In---usually--- little and petty ways, they do what they can to make the world pay.
This is what those idiots marching around Cleveland with their guns strapped to their backs and their hips are trying to do. It’s not about their Second Amendment rights. It’s their way of making the rest of us feel as weak and afraid and at the mercy of other, more powerful people as they feel themselves. But it’s also what’s going on with the guy driving the over-sized pickup pulling up too close behind you at the light and then leaning on his horn when you’re not quick enough on the gas when it turns green. It’s what’s eating at the relative who ruins family get-togethers by spouting off loudly, rudely, and relentlessly about whatever he’s seen on TV or public offense he’s observed, or slight he’s suffered that’s proved to him that THEY are wrecking the country, the town, the schools, the sport, the food, the movies, the music, the economy, the whatever it is others are enjoying and benefiting from that he thinks they shouldn’t.
This is the core cohort of Trump’s voters. Angry, resentful, disappointed, vindictive, and frightened middle-aged and elderly white men looking for someone to blame and take it all out on.
Trump is a clown. And a con artist. And a dishonest salesman of shoddy merchandise. He’s a fascist, if he and his followers only knew it, but it doesn’t matter if he meets anyone’s textbook definition of one because he’s openly and consciously a would-be dictator, although more of the Banana Republic variety than anything else, authoritarian, self-aggrandizing, capricious, self-indulgent, vindictive, and dumb. He’s a malignant narcissist and quite likely a madman. But what worries me most about him is that he’s an infection.
He’s injected himself into the body politic. That is, he’s let loose a virulent strain of the hatred he’s infected with himself which includes a mix of envy and self-pity and---despite all the professions and demonstrations of self-love and the monuments to self-idolization he’s built---self-doubt and self-loathing. He’s set out to make people feel their anger at their disappointment and frustration and fear and succumb to it. But in order to do that he has to first make people feel disappointed, frustrated, and afraid, and to do that he has to play on their self-doubt and self-loathing. He has to convince them that they’re failures before he can assure them they’ve been unfairly denied the success they grew up believing they deserved. He has to make them feel like losers in order for them to be open to his promise to make them all winners. The germ at the center of the hatred he’s attempting to spread is self-hatred.
He was at it again in his acceptance speech last night, spreading his diseased view of America degenerating into a failed state of violence, crime, and disorder, a land of lost---stolen!---opportunity, with its people---its white people, the only people who count---at the mercy of thieving and murderous enemies without and within and prescribing his own wonderfulness at the only cure.
The fact is, however, he doesn’t have to work hard at spreading the disease, because people spread it themselves. They infect each other.
They infect each other while sharing complaints and anxieties and resentments in the break room at work, at a bar, on the sidelines at their kids’ soccer games, and while sitting in doctors’ waiting rooms with clipboards in their laps, filling out forms that don’t make sense. They spread it while standing in line at the bank or the grocery store or the DMV or the unemployment office. They incubate it within themselves while alone behind the wheel at a long light, late for work at a job they hate but don’t dare quit and pray won’t be taken away from them or on their way home to a house that’s underwater where an irritable spouse equally worried, dissatisfied, and distressed is ready to tell them all about their bad day. They aggravate it and inflame as they’re hunched over the kitchen table late at night with the checkbook open and a stack of bills in front of them, some of which, most of which, all of of which, won’t get paid.
I think I’ve made it pretty clear in past posts I don’t have much patience with calls by political analysts and journalists that we liberals should be sympathetic to Trump voters and their plight. The truth is I am sympathetic because just about all of us share the same plight. But I’m sympathetic only to point, right up to the moment someone says, “Fuck this! And fuck THEM! I’m voting for the racist demagogue and hate-monger promising to get revenge!”
This is the TRUMP brand. This is what he’s selling. Success as revenge. Success as getting some of your own back. Success as throwing it back in THEIR faces. Success as who the fuck cares what YOU think! Success as spite. Success as making THEM pay!
It’s a disease he’s selling. He’s the disease. And it’s catching.
July 19, 2016. Mining the notebooks again. I wrote most of this at the end of June before the Star of David horror and the farcical choice Mike Pence for VP. In the weeks since, Trump has shown himself to be more appalling and more resilient than he was looking at the time, although neither is surprising anymore. I probably should revise the post taking recent events into account and making use of Josh Marshal’s ongoing analysis Trump’s political and psychological pathology, this BuzzFeed article by McKay Coppins, and especially Jane Meyer’s interview at the New Yorker with Trump’s ghost writer, all of which work to confirm my suspicion below that Trump is his own first and most completely conned sucker. A post for another day. For today, here’s what I was thinking a couple days after his anti-free trade speech on June 28.
I have no idea what goes on inside Donald Trump’s head. Whatever it is, it’s apparently not coherent thought. The image of him from the other day giving his canned trade speech in front of stacks of garbage baled for recycling is symbolic on many levels but it doesn’t seem quite apt as a metaphor for his thinking. Sure, his head is full of recycled trash, but the stacks in the pictures are too neat and well-ordered. I used to think that whatever else there was going on under the weave, at least a part of him that knew what he was doing. Not about how to run for president, necessarily, but how to run a decent con.
Trump, I thought, had a side-show barker’s genius for sizing up a crowd, identifying the suckers, and making the right pitch to draw them in and part them from their money.
But he seems to have forgotten the flim-flam man’s first rule---Don’t let yourself get flimmed by your own flam---and fallen for his own sales pitch, which is: What this country needs to make it great again is to put a guy who knows better than anyone else how to get things done in charge and I’m that guy!
That notion, that Donald Trump is the guy who knows how to get it all done, as much as the racism, xenophobia, and misogyny, is a major source of his appeal.
Before I barrel on: I know. I know. We’re not supposed to sneer at the rubes who’ve fallen for his sales pitch. They’re just a bunch of regular working Joes and Janes who’ve been battered by the economy and had their interests and concerns ignored by the political elites of both parties. Democrats especially should know better. These folks---white, working class---have always been a major constituency and the party needs their votes.
All right. Again. All working class people aren’t white. All white working class people aren’t Trump voters. All Trump voters aren’t working class.
Economic anxiety and frustration are at work among Trump voters because they’re at work among all voters, even among the rich. But not all of us are dealing with it by planning to vote for a racist, xenophobic, misogynistic, ignorant, irresponsible bully boy and cheat who has no clear idea of how he’d govern except as essentially a dictator.
Yes, you bet they’re worried. For many the worry is how they’re going to buy groceries and get the furnace fixed and pay for their kids’ braces and if they’re going to have a job next week, if they have a job this week. But Trump’s voters also include a lot of people who are mad because they have to put off buying a boat. This is a core Republican constituency, people who think they should be rich and feel they’ve been done out of their due by THEM!
That THEM! Includes bankers and Republican Party establishment types doesn’t mitigate that THEM! to them are mainly black people, brown people, women people, gay people, liberal people, smart people, immigrant people, foreign people, and all NOT JUST LIKE US people.
What unites the truly struggling with the merely temporarily boat-deprived isn't economic anxiety. It's a sense of having been robbed of their due by THEM! They're united in their resentment of and their blaming of THEM! And they're not going to be persuaded to vote Democratic because the Democrats are the party of THEM! Which is fine with the Democrats and fine for the Democrats because THEM! is the the majority of Americans as well as the Democratic base.
I'm willing to believe that not all Trump voters are racists, xenophobes, misogynists, and other types of haters and bigots---although you have to wonder why those who aren't aren't repulsed by Trump's racist and bigoted demagoguery enough to vote against putting the racist and bigot in the White House. Do they think he doesn't mean it and that somehow makes it all right? Or do they not hear it? Or does it just not bother them? And if it doesn't bother them then what makes them better than the outright racists and xenophobes who are their fellow Trump voters?
Questions for another day.
I am not just willing to believe, I in fact do believe that not all of Trump's appeal is his racism, hatreds, and bigotries.
As I and plenty of others have pointed out again and again, all of Trump’s primary opponents were making the same appeals to the worst of the Republican base. He wasn’t saying things any of them weren’t saying either individually or in chorus. He just said it with more passion, force, style, and seeming conviction.
But all that passion, force, style, and conviction added up in his voters’ minds to the sense that he was the candidate who would get things done. And this is what they were looking for.
Someone who could get things done to make America great again, with the main thing needing doing being sticking it to THEM!
It’s a depressing or amusing fact, depending on how tragic or ironic view you take of human beings and their nature, that people have a tendency to think that all problems have a simple and obvious solution and that’s “The world would be a better place if everybody just did things my way way.”
When it comes to solving problems and getting things done, we don’t put our faith in intelligence, or education, or expertise. We put our faith in our own common sense. And that’s what common sense is: what I have and (fill in the blank with your preferred THEY) don’t.
We persist in believing this even when all the evidence adds up to our not possessing an ounce of common sense and our way being most definitely the wrong way. And rather than accept the evidence we decide that the reason our way isn’t working is that someone else is to blame. We’re not the ones who lack common sense. It’s HIM! Or HER! Or THEM! Someone else is screwing up or causing us to screw up. The system is rigged! The people running the rigged system are corrupt or stupid or perverse. The trouble isn’t we’re the screw-ups. The trouble is we don’t have the power to force people to do it our way, the right way, the unscrewed-up way. So that’s what’s needed. Somebody smart enough to see the problem for what it is and know what needs to be done to fix it. Somebody who thinks just like us but who’s tough enough and powerful enough to force them to go along or get out of the way. Somebody who knows the angles, knows the score, knows their tricks. Somebody who can beat the bastards at their own game.
Solving problems is always a simple matter of knowing how to get things done and taking charge. Everything is easy after that,
What the country needs, then, to make it great it again is somebody who will take charge. Not a dictator, necessarily. Not even an authoritarian in a literal sense of the word. But a boss! Somebody THEY! have to listen to or else. Somebody who’ll tell THEM! what do to do and make them do it.
Somebody like Donald Trump.
And that’s what Donald Trump has been selling himself as for years.
Somebody like Donald Trump.
The thing is that, like I said, I in my innocence assumed Donald Trump himself knew he was running a con. I assumed he knew that what he was selling, somebody like Donald Trump was a fraud and he knew he was nothing like Donald Trump because there is nobody like Donald Trump. Nobody like that Donald Trump, at any rate.
That Donald Trump is always and everywhere what the real Donald Trump boasts he is, the smartest, most getting-it-done man in the place. That Donald Trump operates in a world where there is a simple, commonsensical solution to every problem including problems that arise from running a country of 300 million people with a multi-trillion dollar economy trying to get along in the world with 6 billion other human beings.
I assumed he knew that, however smart he believed he was and on whatever evidence, there were plenty of people who were smarter. I assumed he knew that often when he got the better of people in a business deal it wasn’t because they weren’t smart or as smart. He’d simply outsmarted them on that one, the way he was sometimes outsmarted. I assumed he knew that often he hadn’t gotten things done as much as he’d just gotten away with it.
I assumed that the disarray of his campaign, the lack of staff and a field organization, the lack of money, his refusal to control himself, the things that looked as if he was flailing and floundering as the fun and games of the primaries were over and he suddenly found himself facing a serious and formidable opponent were due to his faith in the con. Why should he control himself? Why should he give up his clown act? It works! Works with his base, at any rate. And his business career was based on getting other people to pay the bills and do the hard work and then taking all the credit and pocketing as much of the loot for himself as he could. He was simply running for president the way he’d run his businesses. He was counting on the GOP establishment his base loathes to step in and put together a field organization and pay to staff it. He was confident the party’s regular big donors would pony up. And he was laughing up his sleeve as he bided his time.
But I’ll say it again, I assumed he knew.
Now I’m not so sure.
I forget what it was---a random tweet, a remark during a speech, something I read he’d said, or a sudden inspiration on my part---but something struck me and caused me to think, Oh my God! He really believes he’s DONALD TRUMP!
All through the primaries up until he clinched he gleefully called out his opponents for what they were, empty suits and lightweights, second and third raters, fools and dolts. I thought that was Trump’s one great political insight, that the Republican clown car was a clown car. The political media was dutifully taking the GOP establishment’s word that this was the deepest bench the party had ever had but Trump, with a bully’s talent for identifying others’ weaknesses, sized them all up, figured them all out, and seized his opportunity. When after he’d won the adjective presumptive he began talking about them as if they were each worthy challengers he’d had to take on and knock out one by one, like a prizefighter working his way up to a championship bout, I took it at face value, as an opportunistic line of attack on Hillary. Here he was, with 15 KOs to his credit, and she was still desperately trying to put away a bum like Crazy Bernie, so who was the real champ in this fight?
But now I think he really believes he was the political equivalent of his “friend” Muhammad Ali taking down George Foreman on his way to Manilla to fight Joe Frazier, except that Crooked Hillary would turn out to be a lot less tough an opponent than Smokin’ Joe.
In his own mind he truly is the Greatest!
Trump is a clown. And he’s a con artist. But what he mainly is is a salesman. And a good salesman has to believe in his product. So maybe instead of saying he’s fallen for his own con, it’s better to say that he’s bought his own product. He’s sold himself DONALD TRUMP.
The deluxe model with all the options.
He’s his own best customer.
He’s sold himself the belief that he is the smartest guy in the place, the only one who really knows how to get things done. He’s bought the conviction that all he has to do to win the election and go on to being a great president is to be show up on TV, at rallies, and on Twtter and be what he is. He’s going to win and govern on sheer force of personality and strength of will.
I don’t know if there’s much difference between his being an extremely satisfied customer or a complete sucker. Either way he’s a less interesting and more ridiculous character than if he’s a clear-eyed, calculating, cynical villain. But it makes him even more dangerous.
Trump seems to be motivated mainly by appetite, ego, vanity, and whim, but if that’s all there is to him, if there isn’t at least a cynical intelligence at work as well, if he has no common sense, then he has no inner restraint at all and that makes him a madman. I know people are saying he’s a madman. I’ve called him a racist lunatic. But I thought I was being hyperbolic with the lunatic part.
Friday morning. July 15, 2016. Posted Sunday morning, July 17.
Took my coffee back down to the landing and sat down on a bench to drink it while taking in the view of the river. Not much going on out on the water besides the occasional bursts of sunlight reflected on a wave here and there. A few ducks. No boats except for the ferry back from its run across to Beacon and waiting at the dock to carry its next load of commuters over to the train station. Nobody boarding at the moment. Nobody waiting around. Nobody here but me. I thought.
“Do you think the sadness will ever end?”
Guy must have walked up while I was looking the other way but I was startled out my reverie and it was as if he appeared out of nowhere. And that’s not really the first thing he said. First thing he said was good morning and the second was how are you today---I was tempted to say “Feeling blest, thank you.”---but that was prelude. Despite his mild manner and smile, he had serious business on his mind. My salvation. He was holding out a brochure. I pegged him at once as a Jehovah’s Witness, based on his politeness and the neatness of his dress. He was around forty, slim, blandly handsome, with graying dark hair and wearing dress slacks---no wrinkles---a periwinkle blue dress shirt---also no wrinkles---and a tie. I glanced past him and noticed that he and a companion, a blonde woman in her forties and also neatly dressed, in a white top and red skirt had set up a card table with a laptop streaming a video and a rack of brochures and booklets by the gate to the ferry gangway.
“Did you see the news from Paris last night?’ the man asked me.
I didn’t correct his geography. “I’ve been following it,” I said politely but warily, dreading what was coming.
“So,” he said in his unfailingly and maddeningly polite Jehovah’s Witnessy way. That’s the insidious thing about Jehovah’s Witnesses. Their devilish politeness makes me feel a craven obligation to be polite in return and listen to their nonsense instead of tearing up their brochures in front of their meekly smiling faces, dance on the shreds, and send them on their way with the kick in the behinds that all doomsday cultists and other door to door salesmen deserve. “So,” he said after we agreed that what had happened in France was terrible, “do you think the sadness will ever end.”
“No,” I said, trying not to be a coward about it by matching him in civility but not being anywhere near as rude and abrupt as I should have been, “Way of the world, isn’t it?”
Of course he didn’t take the hint. He was determined to make his sales pitch for the end of the world. “The sadness will end,” he said, as if assuring me that the weather report was for the rain letting up. And he opened up his brochure, which, by the way, was titled, “Will the Sadness Ever End?” At the top of the first page was a quote from the Book of Revelation, which he recited. The gist of the passage is that the sadness will end on with the end of the world on Judgment Day, which this guy omitted giving a specific date. The Jehovah’s Witnesses have been burned on this a few times in their history, as you may know. God will put an end to all the sadness and wipe away all tears when He establishes his Kingdom on earth or calls us all up to the one in heaven, I’m not sure where the JW comes down on this question. It’s probably in the brochure, which, moral weakling that I am, I accepted and then, doubly damning myself, made a show of looking over.
“Well, that’s the plan,” I said, “Long way off yet, though.”
I don’t know if he was inspired by the Holy Spirit or just naturally intuitive and sensed by growing distress or if he got worried that I would find my courage at last, but at this point he gave up and backed off. He said he hoped I’d find the brochure helpful, wished me a good day, and walked back over to join his companion at their stand, where he put on a pair of wrap-around shades like baseball players wear.
I hung around for a little while longer, finishing my coffee and, I’m ashamed to confess, re-reading the brochure. It was all nonsense, of course, but the quote from the bible is one of my favorites and I wish it was really was the plan, although I can stand for it to remain a long way off.
“See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.”
Friday morning. July 15, 2016. Posted Saturday morning, July 16.
After dropping Mrs M off at the ferry, headed up into town for coffee at McDs. Followed an elderly black man in cargo shorts, moccasins and white socks, and an olive drab 1960s era Marine flat-topped fatigue cap in the door. He was very thin, the skin tight to his face, moving a little slow, frail and not all that steady on his feet. As he stepped into line he was greeted by a friend having his breakfast in a back booth. The friend was much younger, in his fifties, Hispanic, barrel-chested, broad-faced so there was plenty of room between his cheeks for his broad smile, with a graying mustache and long gray hair pulled back in a ponytail.
Friend: How you doin’?
Old man: Feeling blest, thank you. Feeling blest.
Friend (his smile broadens): So, just another day?
Old man: That’s right. Just another day.
Another friend, whom I didn’t get a good look at, on his way out, asks the old man how he’s doing.
Mined from the notebooks. Saturday, July 9, 2016. Posted Thursday, July 14.
Late this afternoon. Two hard-featured, harsh-voiced, heavyset women in their twenties dressed in what look like work clothes smoking at one of the picnic tables outside the convenience mart as I pull up. They've been arguing.
First woman: This is America! I'm Indian! I belong here! It's called freedom!
Second woman: All right. Calm down. You've made your point.
First woman (not calming down): I'm pretty sure all of ISIS isn't coming here to shoot us all dead, yet!