I think I’ve been reading too much Vonnegut, because all of my latest posts involve Vonnegutian ideas about helping people because they deserve it, which in turn improves the world. Why do they deserve it? Because they’re human. And that should be reason enough. This is hard for me to choke down, not because I don’t like the world, but because I don’t like most people. George Bush and Dick Cheney are human. Do they deserve anything good? No. Vonnegut would say that every human deserves to be loved (I don’t know if he truly believed that because he was a cranky old bastard), but I disagree.
I’ve had it with believing people are mostly good. I tried it out for half a week there, and you know what? I don’t really like being passed too closely by uncaring semi trucks and having a gush of wind hit and nearly knock me off the road. I don’t like the way cross walk signals take forever to turn white when all those damn cars get to keep going through the intersection without ever having to stop. I don’t like how the poorest people are the only ones out using the sidewalks and crosswalks while everyone else drives—and when a poor person trying to cross the street at a non-intersection has to J-walk because it would make no sense for them to walk all the way up another three blocks to use a cross walk—when that happens and some jerk driver blares their horn at him (THIS IS MY ROAD GOD DAMNIT DON’T MAKE ME BREAK!!)—I don’t like that either. I especially don’t like seeing people driving Hummers or jacked up monster trucks. I don’t like seeing people throw McDonalds trash out their window. I don’t like over-hearing high schoolers at the park calling a girl a whore and a fat slut (she wasn’t fat anyways). I don’t like the police patrolling around the park music festival as if the dangerous crowd of hippies and suburban parents and children are going to start raging against the machine to bluegrass and flood into downtown and riot the streets of Bend Oregon. I don’t like the fact that I found $3 on the road the other day and every time I go back on that section of road, I subconsciously start greedily scanning the ground for more cash. I don’t like seeing a million sprinklers in the desert watering sidewalks and driveways. I don’t like green eggs and ham, Sam I am. I DON’T LIKE GREEN EGGS AND HAM!!!!!
I don’t like having to deal with one of the idiotic women who lives here:
Her: “So are you entering a marathon soon?”
Me: “No, I’m not a runner.”
Her: “Well, a marathon for bikes?”
Me: “No, marathons are generally a run.”
Her: “Well, OK I know that. I mean, a long biking…long distance event?”
Me: “Yes, that’s what I’m here training for.”
Her: “My friend volunteered for that bike race a last week.”
Me: “Uh huh.”
I’ve told her a baker’s dozen times what I’m here for. I’ve explained the races. I’ve told her when the races are. I’ve told her how long the races are. And she has told me that her friend volunteered for the bike race last week about 30 times.
And it’s not just her.
Scene: Kennett is walking out into the garage wearing all his bike clothes and shoes and helmet and sunglasses and just filled up two water bottles in the sink. What might he be doing? Where is he going? I have no idea, I better ask.
“Kennett, are you going for a bike ride?”
This question is asked by almost everyone in the house every time they see me going for a ride. I realize that they probably know that I’m going for a bike ride, and that they’re just making conversation. But when I see someone going to the bathroom I don’t ask if they’re going to take a shit. When I see someone looking in the fridge for something to eat, I don’t ask if they’re going to eat something. I was in the process of drinking a glass of water and someone asked me, “Are you thirsty?” with genuine sincerity. Please, use that thing above your shoulders for something other than spewing out idiotic questions.
And of course it’s not just people here at the house.
Outside a noodle shop downtown where I left my bike leaned up against some chairs:
Guy: (Asking about my bike) “What’s the base of that made out of?”
Guy: “Is it that sprayed on stuff?”
Me: ?? “Uh, you mean the frame? It’s made out of carbon fiber.”
Guy: “So is that a kind of aluminum?”
Me: “No, it’s like plastic.”
Guy: “Cool. So do they forge that. It looks forged.”
Me: “No, you can’t forge plastic. It would melt or burn. They do, uhhh (me looking for an easy explanation) molds of it.
Guy: “And it looks sprayed on. Is it?”
Me: “Uhh, they painted it if that’s what you’re talking about.”
Guy: “Yeah, it looks sprayed.”
Guy: “Could I pick it up with my pinky?”
And it’s not just about bikes.
At the Fred Meyers meat department:
Butcher: “Can I help you?”
Me: Thinking—“No, I just like to come stand here and stare at the meat for 5 minutes until you finally come out of the back, after which I walk away, completely satisfied and full because that’s how I consume calories—by sight and imagination.” What I actually said: “Yeah I’ll have two pieces of this chicken breast.” Pointing at it.
Butcher: “Which chicken?”
Me: Pointing-“That stuff right there.” There was no other chicken around.
Butcher: “How many pieces did you say?”
Butcher: “Which pieces did you want?”
Me: “Uh, I don’t care. They’re all the same. How about those two pieces in the front.”
Butcher: “Which two pieces?”
Me: “I don’t care.”
Butcher: “Are these two OK?
Me: “Yes, it doesn’t matter.”
Butcher: “You said two right?”
The butcher, who must have been extremely stoned and extremely dull, then took five minutes to weigh and wrap, and then re-wrap the two tiny chicken breasts. Maybe this was his first day on the job. And his first day interacting with another human. And his first day learning how to use his hands to pick things up and punch buttons on a scale.
My point? People are cruel and stupid. Very stupid. I still think that a lot of people are nice. Maybe in general, more dumb people are nice than smart people. It’s hard to say. I’ll leave that undecided for today. I’m sure I’ll have quickly made up an answer in a day or two. But anyways, people are dumb and mean. We do mean things because we’re dumb. And we do dumb things because we’re mean. So why should I care about us? I don’t care about green eggs and ham, Sam I am. But I must since I’m writing about it. It must be my dumbness, not fully realizing all the contradictory things and ideas I’ve written so far.
I apologize to all the people vastly more intelligent than I. I apologize for being so dumb, and I feel your pain. I only ask that you humor me just a little, so that I don’t realize how dumb I really am and how much smarter you are. I try. That counts for something at least, right? I don’t squash spiders for no reason and I don’t drive a monster truck. But the people who do those things probably don’t know they’re doing anything wrong either. Just like I don’t know about all the dumb, cruel things I’m probably doing. I’m sure a vegan would look at me with disgust and contempt for how much meat I eat. A true animal lover would spit at me for smashing all those fleas I had on me the other day—yes I had fleas for a day somehow. A humanitarian would shake their head in dissaproval for all the middle fingers and “suck it” symbols I give to motorists. A true conservationist would avoid eye contact with me for all the energy I waste—fans, lights, stove, fridge, flushing the toilet when I pee, altitude generator, ridiculous amount of food consumed—most of which is shipped from Argentina, laptop, etc. In fact I’m so dumb I don’t even know what etc. really stands for. I’d have to look it up. But I won’t. I prefer to live in ignorance.
And now for something completely different:
This is to be rapped in the accent of a low-class Britt. Like Cavendish.
I found three dollas on the street today
They was layin’ in the road, GW on display
I stopped to pick ‘em up and me eyes was ablaze with hunga’
The bills were callin’ to me like the sound a thunda’
They said, “Hey Kennett why-doncha come out n’ play?”
“You’s needen a snack at a Circle K.”
And I say back to em’, “Yo dolla bills, you’s my honey.”
I’m gonna trade you in for for somethin’ sweet n’ yummy.”
But before I dun get to the next gas station
Me eyes is stuck scannin’ for another paper sensation
Every Starbucks cup on the side a da road
Is a 20-dolla bill starin’ at me cold
Every scrap a paper in the ditch to the right
Is disguised to me eyes as a big wad a bills, rolled real tight
A can a soda, an empty thing a Gu or Hamma’ gel
All I see is money, even though it’s hotter n’ hell
I don’t care bout no wata’
Don’t want no ice
I just keep scannin’ the ditch for somethin’ green n’ nice
I swerve along the street, not noticin’ where I go
Eyes locked on the ground, now I’m feelin’ kinda low
A car passes by, wondrin’ why I’m on the wrong side da road
I miss me turn, not carin’ a bit
What’s come ova’ me? Three dollas aint shit.
Who knows, who cares? I gotta find me next load.