Yesterday we had our Memorial Day block party here in the Sunny-Side Way-Station of Impending Death and Tennis Lessons. Saturday was the day of the big softball game at the main ball field across from the Lonely Pines golf course. I missed it but I heard the hot dogs were finest-kind. Today I believe they are having a tribute to our armed forces down on the village green & croquet field with the Freshman Glee Club from Parris Island providing the tunes and an obscene number of gloriously decorated cupcakes for our eating pleasure. I’ll miss that too.
However, since the block party was right in front of my little house, I felt an obligation to drag my rusty old director’s chair out into the festivities and try to find a dry spot under the canopies that didn’t allow rain to drip down my neck or to dilute the mustard on my bratwurst. To show my neighborhood spirit, I even made a seafood-pasta salad with two-pounds of surimi and a nicely prepared Louie sauce (it went over big but I still have a 14-day supply left in my refrigerator that never made it across the street). Most of my neighbors know that I don’t do well in crowds and might even whack someone with my Blackthorn if they reach for the last stuffed egg when I was already claiming it; this usually results in my staying put in my chair (the one with the little flip-up table on the side) and having the ladies of the cul-de-sac preparing a plate for me, refilling my drink, or dropping off a sampler of all the brownies on the dessert table.
Eating was glorious but the hot dog buns didn’t stand up to large amounts of sauerkraut so I just ate my brats sans culottes with only a timid dip in the baked beans. For future reference: this is a good way to avoid those killer carbs and leave room for an extra slice of pound cake with strawberries.
The real trick I have at these neighborly events is getting out alive if the topic of conversation drifts into the area of politics or religion. You see, out of the 73 roof-tops in this neighborhood of SSWS, I am the only practicing anarchist and atheist. But if I keep my mouth shut, except when a fresh bratwurst appears on my plate, I can usually weather the stupidity I hear around me … usually but not always. For instance, here I am sitting quietly in the shade nibbling on a brownie with nuts and I hear that so-and-so is definitely voting for Mitt Romney because Romney is the only one with the experience to clean up the massive spending debacle Obama has caused in Washington. Besides, Mitt is one of us (sure) and he can be trusted (sure) not like Obama … you know how those, uh, Chicago people lie.
Now I understand that in a community like Sunny-Side there is a preponderance of people who are on fixed incomes with constant concern for their own personal future; I also am aware of how the Republican party has used fear and hatred in their campaign to bamboozle the American electorate into believing the lies they spread around, so it’s not difficult to imagine the worry in the average retiree’s mind … but it would be so much better if the worry was based on actualities which might be improved and not lies and misrepresentations which are chimerical at best.
Actually, that’s a brilliant strategy: make up problems, vow to correct them if elected, when elected declare the made-up problems fixed and take credit for both repairing the world and for being true to your campaign promises. You know, if you wave the flag around at the same time, most people won’t even notice when you steal tax dollars to make your rich friends even richer. Brilliant!
So I sit and listen to a group of old men (and women) telling each other that Obama is moving this country towards socialism (as if that’s actually a bad thing) and that Obama, as the first Muslim president, is personally the driving force behind allowing muslim infiltrators to begin taking over the country. Or how in the next few months all of Obama’s cabinet is going to reveal themselves all as queers, especially that dyke Hillary Clinton. And what about Arizona not allowing Obama to be on the ballot because he wasn’t born in this country? Then when the subject comes around to the recent census report, my neighbors are ready to send all those aliens, illegal or otherwise, back to Chihuahua were they belong … you know, the one’s who built all their houses, who care for their lawns and shrubs, and who make Mexican food in South Carolina some of the best in the country.
They are my neighbors (no, not the photo: they look like they’re having fun). I have to live with them every day and usually it’s not beneficial to start an argument (they might be dead tomorrow and then how would I feel?) so I try to keep my mouth closed. I did mention to one of our younger crowd (sub-65) who is now between jobs in his chosen profession—manufacturing weapons of mass destruction—that if he ever needs a reference for a clandestine bomb factory in a fifth-floor walk-up in Greenwich Village, he can use my name as a resident anarchist that once knew Bettina Aptheker and shook the hand of Curt Flood.