I had a movie review, of sorts, ready to go. Then, I went to Thanksgiving with the very very very red-hatted, MAGA relatives. It was fine. It was okay. Except for this odd twenty minutes or so. When this young woman, who had a year-old baby, went on and on about how homeless people are the real villains of American society.
When I hear how the young people of ‘murica are woke as fuck, I just start laughing. Not in Idaho, honey!
I mean, it was textbook Fox News talking points. Right down to my aunt sneering how those homeless people parked their expensive cars around the block after panhandling all day.
How this one homeless woman had a million in the bank. No name, no details, not a name or a state or even the name of the bank this alleged homeless millionaire lady had her money stashed away in.
Just this vague, urban legends, sort of riff. The welfare queen, which has always more or less been with us. The shifty beggar who’s scamming us. The panhandler who’s raking in big dough! How dare they?! They spend all that money they get on drugs and liquor! They just throw away the food you give them!
There was also a brisk discussion of public parks, what homeless people do to the porta-potties and bathrooms. How guards have to chase them off. Because the homeless sorts are doing drug deals and probably having sex with each other.
In the porta-potties! I’m never using a porta-potty again, was, I believe, the conclusion drawn from all this.
There was the groaning from the relatives and this young woman, who’s a relative by marriage to my relative, I think. I find this young woman forgettable. A baby factory for the upcoming civil war, frankly. Yes, I am awful. Yes, I am.
Now, me breaking in with how full of shit that all was. No. Me breaking in with name names, what are your sources. Nope.
Because the relatives and relatives of my relatives don’t fact check anything. Why should they? It’s far more sexy to believe there’s a legion of homeless scammers doing lots of drugs, eating steak and lobster every night from their food stamps wrangling, and driving about in a Mercedes after spending all day in smelly rags pretending how poor they were. You don’t have to feel guilty about them folks, after all. Not if they’re all drug addicts, thieves and the worst of the worst. The beggars now are not the virtuous sorts they had in their days, no sir!
I think of my self-preservation during these absurd sneerings about the truly down and out. I also think I have to avoid Christmas, because I really don’t enjoy these people anymore. Nor do I wish to sit there doing a slow burn, with my fingernails dug into my leg to stop me from smacking the holy living verbal shit out of these clusterfuckers. Sure, it will feel so good, it would make a great moment in a play or a movie,. But. Real life, you have to deal with the consequences of turning into a rabid hyena and chewing up your racist, awful relatives.
Which marks me as a coward. A silent one.
Which claws at me far more than anything ‘those people’ can sneer out about this group or that one. That I kept my head down, rather than risk being flayed alive by the entire crew. As I have spoken up before, I have. I know what will happen, right down to the last eye roll.
That I kept silent so my own failures and lack of anything resembling a life or career would not be thrown at my head. I have not been writing. I have not felt bold lately at all. The rejections roll in in a thick, steady stream. My few submissions sent out net me zero results. Which is standard writer crap, but still.
That old crud of why bother, you’re a loser drifts into my head like a stinking poisoned fog. That old music playing and playing. And the realization. That I think every day of ending it. Every day.
I dread what they will say at any funeral services held for me. I dread hearing it. If I hear anything at all. But perhaps no one will notice that much. Be relieved I am gone. Or tell stories of how I panhandled, and parked my spendy ride around the block to fool everyone. Perhaps I will join the parade of unkind myths about such people as me. The next generation of babies will be trained to spew the talking points. Beggars bad, rich people angels.
The bungled and the botched, I believe, is what will be written in the dirt. Then carelessly smudged by passing feet. Spare change will remain in pockets as people virtuously ignore the scammers holding out dented old tin cups. My little world has turned into some sort of absurd Dickens-like tale. Like Miss Havisham, I seem frozen in time.