By Bob Ferris
I have been thinking a lot over the past week or so about the content of that old Dire Straits song that included a refrain line about installing microwave ovens (above). Not a surprising association as my wife and I installed a new microwave oven when the old one started running just as we opened the door. It was like the machine was possessed. I seem to be on one of those manual labor cycles as this was also the week when I started building a home office in our garage. I have blisters on more than my little finger and thumb.
|While we waited for our new microwave oven my wife filled the empty spot above our stove with a sketch we ended up calling Magnetron in honor of deceased appliance.|
Once I had my cart loaded with several hundred pounds of materials I pushed it towards the check-out stand. A young Asian lad half my size in a red vest assured me that he would be happy to help me load it on my truck. Hmmm. A week before, when I was much younger, I demurred a like offer and then took some pride at pushing a similarly burdened cart half-way across the parking lot and then loading it myself. But this time, remembering the truth of that experience, I accepted his offer and went to retrieve my truck.
|The start of the garage office.|
True to his word the Asian kid appeared as if by magic ready to help. He gazed for moment at our dueling bumper stickers parked in close proximity and mentioned how it reflected the country. As we humped the first pair of gypsum sheets into my truck bed we started to talk politics. He acknowledged that his political awareness spanned only one presidential election cycle, but that he sensed something was terribly wrong and getting worse. He is right.
On my drive home I reflected upon the imagery of my shopping experience. All that I had seen on my visit this fall morning sang of the problems, conflicts, and hope that is America in 2018. It started with the melting pot demographics that many are trying to ignore or reduce and traveled to the elderly still working long past when our parents retired. The loading zone too. My new "friend" in the pointy boots proceeding as if rules and customs had no meaning to him is absolutely the same critter as those whose business practices purposely straddle the gap between the lawful and lawless or who aggressively duck taxes and civic responsibilities. It was all there, if only you looked.
As I arrived home and started the unloading process, I thought that perhaps next month those shopping this country's aisles for candidates might speak up and tell the cleaned-and-pressed cowboy and his allies that the loading zone is not for parking. It is time that we remind them that parking zones work not because there are parking zone police but because people following rules is the right thing to do if this particular society is to survive or thrive. We must again be led by those who drift towards being the best that we have to offer not those who happily waddle in the worst.