So today I went on an odyssey of rediscovery. I ventured out of the compound to get the oil changed on the older car. I had a free oil change pass that I earned when the service station botched some expensive repairs and felt that I should be assuaged to a small degree. So, I drove out, full of excitement, as I headed into the big city, well the, slightly larger town anyway. And because I am twenty minutes from nowhere, I arrived in about a half hour.
I dutifully handed in my business card with the words “free oil change” and a scribbled signature on the back that was as good as gold at this locale. And after signing here, here and initialing there I walked into the waiting room and memorized the free Wi-Fi password and sat down to see what was going on in the outside world. And then my whole world came crashing down. No Wi-Fi service. Oh, the pain, the pain.
So, I started writing a screed on my laptop about fake elections and their consequences. I began to warm to the task at hand and I invoked Chicago’s Richard Daley and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and I was just getting ready to start summoning the peasants with torches and pitchforks to begin the reckoning when another customer showed up in the waiting room.
When he walked in, we both gave the polite head nod of acknowledgement. I began writing again but I could tell he was fidgeting about. He announced that he was going to order the $5 car wash to go along with his other service. I averred that it sounded like a good deal. And off he went. But when he returned, I could tell he had some conversation in him and after thinking for a second I thought why the hell not? Being locked away for the last nine months how many random conversations had I had in that time? Why the hell not?
My auto mechanic’s waiting room fellow inmate was an older fellow. He couldn’t have been younger than seventy-five and for all I know he could be ninety. I’d guess he was a healthy eighty-year-old. Without much in the way of introductory remarks we began to discuss a wide range of topics, self-learning artificial intelligence, ivermectin as a treatment and prophylaxis for COVID, the security and surveillance state we live in and the appalling state of physical fitness among Americans. I found out that my friend lived in my town and in fact lived on the same street as my daughter’s family. I learned that he is a medical doctor interested in starting a hydroponic farm to supplement the food he currently serves at a restaurant that he owns in the area. In addition to this I learned that like me he was born in New York City and was of Italian extraction. And finally, after a few guarded questions we discovered that we were both of the conservative political persuasion.
Now we commiserated about the fate of conservatives living in New England and the general degradation of the American polity and we probably would still be there talking except that before we knew it my car was ready for me. We parted on friendly terms and I promised to check out his restaurant sometime soon. And all the way home I thought about the odds of a chance meeting on the first day out of captivity in weeks in ultra-blue southern New England being someone so obviously aligned with my world view. The odds are very remote. Or maybe they’re not that remote. Maybe even in a place like this there are tons of good people left out there who are not crazy and who are working to make this world sane.
Giving up on this country is a bad idea. Organizing the good people is the task at hand. There are millions of us. And even where we are not the majority, we are still a mighty force. And that’s not just numbers. It’s because we are the good and useful part of society and we can find a way to live the kind of life we want to live. I’ve got to start getting out there again. There really is a lot to see.