There’s been lots of doings transpiring at stately Von Ottomatic manor lately. You may recall that I entered into an unwanted period of funemployment a few months back. Rather than hop right into a job search I took the opportunity to invest a little time, along with some severance and my two plus months of accumulated vacation time that got paid out to make massive progress on some remodeling projects that had been dragging along. The house in now about 90% complete with just some trim work and minor staining/finishing projects left to go.
Well, right about the time that was wrapping up I got a call from a company looking for a contract recruiter. One face-to-face and one phone interview later I had an offer letter in hand and a start date. The new company is great, all the people on the team are outstanding, and the old bank account is fattening up again. Summer of 2013 was shaping up to be a good one.
Then came another phone call. An old friend from high school rang and said he was back in town. He asked if I had an extra room he could rent until he was back on his feet. I wasn’t thrilled at the prospect of a roommate – if I wanted one I’d have already had one – but decided that a friend in need etc. etc. and said, “Sure.”
I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
Remember that movie/TV show The Odd Couple? You know, where stuffy neatnik Felix Unger moves in with slovenly sports writer Oscar Madison? And the ensuing hijinks as Oscar tried to live with his new roommate’s foibles and idiosyncrasies?
Picture if you will a man that believes health care is a right and opined Occupy Wall Street was “great”, who’s lived in New York City and Maine for the last two decades, moving into the Texas home of a man who believes starvation is God’s way of punishing people who don’t embrace capitalism. How’s that for an odd couple? I’m living in a sitcom and it ain’t funny.
People use the word gobsmacked a lot these days, but I am gobsmacked at the behavior and thought processes of what can only be described as an East coast liberal straight out of central casting. I goof on here sometimes about how if I made this or that up you wouldn’t believe it because it’s just too over the top. Well, my friends, the truth I’m about to share is far, far stranger than fiction.
Let’s start with a profile. White male, mid-forties. Bachelors and Masters degree from East coast liberal arts universities. School teacher, drives a Volvo. Sold everything but his clothes and car, loaded up, and drove here from Maine with no place to stay and no job lined up. Unemployed since July of last year (???!!!!) and used up all his state unemployment benefits.
So, the guy’s down on his luck. I’m not without some degree of compassion but since he’s moved in it’s become obvious that he’s extremely comfortable being unemployed. And by comfortable I don’t mean he feels no shame over his situation, although he apparently doesn’t, I mean his daily routine would be the envy of a Manhattan retiree. To him looking for a job means dropping off a couple of applications a week and waiting for the job fairy to land beside him while he’s parked on the sofa watching movies for five or six hours a day.
Sleeps until at least ten a.m. then heads to Starbucks for a five dollar latte and a New York Times. Once he gets back he spends an hour or so reading the paper, then fires up his MacBook to listen to NPR and look at whatever the hell he looks at for the next couple of hours. Every single meal he’s eaten since he’s been here has been prepared either at Whole Foods or a restaurant.
Now I’m no Joe Frugal but when I was out of work my daily routine consisted of getting up early, knocking out projects around the house, and a whole lot of non-gourmet sandwiches – many of them prepared in my garage while the kitchen was torn out. When I went to bed every night I did so knowing I’d accomplished something that day and hadn’t squandered a bunch of cash on frivolous niceties. So yeah, his living like a wealthy divorcee gets under my skin.
I’ve tried to stress the importance of not starting bad habits. Yet when I point out he’s never going to save any money by drinking five dollar cups of coffee and getting cupcakes at Sprinkles he shrugs it off. It’s just a couple of bucks, dude. Well, yeah, a couple of bucks here and a couple of bucks there every day for a couple of months and you’ve got yourself first and last months rent for your new apartment.
But carping about his rock and roll lifestyle isn’t delving into the mind of a liberal as the title promised, now is it?
He moved in with me the weekend before the bombing at the Boston Marathon. As that fateful day unfolded my first reaction was, naturally, to make a too-soon and crass joke – I want to make some t-shirts that say “I had a blast at the 2013 Boston Marathon!” and sell them on eBay. Beyond that I didn’t give it much thought. As I always say, drawing conclusions from developing situations generally leads to stupid conclusions.
Within minutes my liberal friend was mumbling something about tax day and Patriots Day. Over the next 24-48 hours he assured me it was a white guy who had done it. Once the wanted posters went public he said, “See, I knew it was a white guy.” I said he looks Lebanese, but before I could get the words “or maybe Chechen” out of my mouth he’d already responded with a “Dude, [email protected] you.”
Ya know how the left is always mocking folks who disagree with them as sheep who just regurgitate Rush Limbaugh? There I was being assailed with the left-of-the-left storyline straight from NPR/MSNBC.
Less than 24 hours later after the brothers Tsarnaev had been I.D.ed as Chechen Muslims he asked me why I thought they did it.
“Because they’re jihadis,” I replied.
“No, no,” he countered, “the guy was pissed off because he didn’t fit in. I guarantee you he snapped because he couldn’t getting along and relate with people in the U.S. ”
Needless to say my liberal friend hasn’t had much to say about the situation now that it’s pretty obvious the bombing was yet another case of jihadi violence.
I pretty much avoid talking politics or related events with him. A stereotype only needs so much validation. It’s like teaching a pig to sing, it wastes your time and just annoys the pig. Although a pig would probably accept the reality in front of it rather then twisting itself into knots avoiding the truth. And a pig has a tasty, tasty job.
Nevertheless I’ve learned an important lesson from all this. The next time you see an article or TV appearance by some liberal journalist or opinion writer where they let loose a stream of left-wing invective you assume is so over the top it’s done deliberately to be provocative, it almost surely was not. Lord knows I’m occassionally guilty of the right wing equivalent. But for the most part I do it with tongue firmly in cheek. I’m the first to admit I’m an idiot and a hit-whore. Not the left. When you hear them say something that seems like it’s self-parody they really are thinking that way.
But when I kick him out it’s not going to be because he’s a liberal, it’s going to be because I can’t stand a freeloader. My hospitality comes with an expiration date, and when a house guest who shows no real motivation to find a job is spending more on food and beverages every day than I do my hospitality clock starts spinning like the propeller of a P-51. Occupy Wall Street my ass. He’s fixin’ to be occupying an overpass. Or his parent’s basement.
And, of course, it will be my fault. That’s the mind of a liberal for you.