Some friends recommended that I expand my posts into a wider range of topics. I think it’s a good idea. How much more can I trash Republicans? Although, I’m afraid, that no matter what I write about I will be inevitably skewed into looking at things through a political prism. Whether I write about money, sex or drugs I like to put things into context.
Here’s a good story about my real American first-hand experience.
Many years ago when I was living in Phoenix Arizona I hung out with white trashy types a lot. At the time I didn’t know about that term, I just thought they were some poor white folks. I didn’t have any money and I just happened to live in cheap housing area and I guess it was inevitable that I made friends among them. At first I found them genuine but as our friendship progressed I began to see their ugly side. Almost all of them smoked crack, their children had weird names like Chastity or Destiny, they always needed a ride somewhere or to borrow a few bucks or to ‘crash’ at my place for ‘a few nights’. If they didn’t have the money to pay you back, they needed, you guessed it, a ride, usually to pawn shop or some ‘old boss’ of theirs that ‘owed’ them money. Despite working and studying full time but being a good girl, I spent hours driving these ‘friends’ around Phoenix to recover my money, but soon I gave up both lending and driving. But my naiveté didn’t stop there. I also tried, please don’t laugh, to have ‘intellectual’ conversations with some, because, I figured, so what if they’re poor, they must have read Castaneda. They live in Arizona, for Christ’s sake! There’s peyote growing everywhere. It was almost like talking to Cambodians about whether they have seen Apocalypse Now, I keep making the same mistake!
My circumstances for a time being wouldn’t allow me to move to a better neighborhood, so I approached the whole set up as a unique experience. But there’s another thing I’m grateful for: that being a stupid 23 year old I had the brains not to get married or to get pregnant or get a confederate flag tattoo. It would look great here in Manhattan on hot summer days, though!
Speaking of confederate flag. Almost all of these friends turned out to be conservatives, despite the fact they were universally on welfare and foodstamps. Like you probably know I was pretty apolitical at that time and the way I discovered their political affiliation was by accident. Clinton just got a blow job and for the whole country that was the only topic of conversation. I couldn’t even understand what was the big deal, but when I casually tried to express my amusement with the whole brouhaha, I was met with spitting anger. I thought to myself – that’s fucking impossible! These former felons, crackheads, serial welfare recipients and habitual law breakers were upset with Clinton, CLINTON (!), who, let’s be honest, knows a thing or two about growing up poor in the South and truly ‘feels their pain’, for getting a blowjob. Suddenly I saw moralizing fucks sitting in their Lay-Z-Boy chairs, putting a lighter to the crackpipe, Old Milwaukee in hand screaming at TV, that, predictably, had Fox News on. I confess, I myself watched Fox News in those days, but not because I cared about their political content. I don’t know what the reason was, perhaps they had cooler graphics.
So anyway, that image of a conservative is so deeply ingrained in my head, that my subsequent discovery of William F. Buckley and a handful of other conservative intellectuals wasn’t enough to repair it. Yes, tax cuts, yes free enterprise, smaller government, bla-bla-bla. But just like when somebody on the left says ‘social justice’ and ‘civil liberties’ and conservatives immediately imagine Al Sharpton and black riots, when I hear the above Republican talking points I imagine a Billy Bob or a Peggy Sue being forever stuck in the self-perpetuating poverty, whose only attempts at getting rich is buying a lottery ticket, blaming the Democrats for their misfortunes.
As such, I feel I have earned my right to bloviate about real America. And besides, what is real America? America has many faces. That’s the beauty of it.
One thought on “Real American Experience”
enjoyed reading your perspective on small-town low-income america. not too many immigrants write about that.