Monday, October 25, 2010

to kill a yuppie (or at least, her pride)

I'd like to say I am writing in defense of mercy, but this piece probably has more to do with my desire to enact literary revenge all over a yuppie suburbanite named Rosillo. If this was a blog of a zillion readers I might feel worse about this, but since my readership consists mostly of my mom and a bunch of former students, I will disregard charity and blast away.

I don't know all that much about her, but my guess is that Rosillo is not a particularly bad woman. In fact, she is probably about ninety-seven degrees closer to the norm that I. She is a college graduate and probably works in a bank, or as a retail manager. Her slight accent and familiarity with our mutual acquaintance, Ulysses - the Mexican mechanic who fixed her bumper - leads me to believe that she most likely immigrated from that or another Latin country as a child and has worked hard to assimilate into this culture. I also know that she is thirty-one, because she commented on our shared age as she copied down information from my driver's license.

Rosillo drives a Maroon 2010 Kia sedan that for a couple of days, until I paid five-hundred-and-thirty-nine dollars to Wilburn Auto, had a three-inch by one-quarter-inch white mark in the middle of the back bumper, deposited there by the front license plate of the twenty year-old Oldsmobile sedan I happened to be driving when it decided it wanted a more intimate connection with Rosillo's jinxed Kia.

I know her Kia was jinxed because she told me that it was - that this was her third accident in the few months since she had bought the car. But I don't want to talk about Rosillo's spastic driving style. I want to talk, rather, about how mercy and neighborliness have all-but-evaporated in a culture of justice, Justice, JUSTICE.

The truth is that, ultimately, I tapped Rosillo's car with my own not because of her spastic driving but rather because she stopped unexpectedly at the exact moment when I let my attention slip from the road in front of me. According to the laws of this country (which, in this particular case, actually make sense) the accident was my fault, and Justice demanded that I pay the consequences. So pay them I did, and with gratitude both for the fact that I had the money available and for the fact that Rosillo hadn't insisted on calling the cops, an action which might have resulted in me being bent over the knee of the hegemonic insurance company in a Kafka-esque spanking that would have continued, most likely, until I was dead.

Still, insisting on making a guy in a twenty-year-old car and a ratty green sweatshirt pay five hundred and thirty-nine dollars to maintain your vanity about the paint job on a car you'll most likely smash into someone else's car within the month hardly seems neighborly. It's a bumper for the love of everything that is not yet perverse in this deranged society and... I mean, SERIOUSLY, ever hear of a bumper sticker?

Besides, Rosillo, you just gotta get over the ridiculous idea that a car is an "investment." It's not. It depreciates a few thousand dollars the second you drive it off the lot and continues to devaluifize every year after until one day, forty years down the road, some other yuppie is going to say, "Hey, look! There's one of those old Kia's from back before Google bought Korea and re-named it Wonder-Bread-Land! I think I'll sink six million dollars (ten grand, present-day USD) into restoring it and trade it to my local comptroller for a travel pass to visit my Aunt Maybeline over in the Kingdom of New Southern West Third Georgia! Shweeeet (unfortunately, they say 'shweet' a lot in the future)!"

So why oh why, Rosillo, are you stressing about a paint mark?!? It's frickin' paint on a frickin' bumper that will rust, decay, fall off and end up in a landfill right next to your frickin' overpriced, planned-obsolescence power suit and all that other garbage with which you fill your house and those two storage units you pay for. Get over it and stop taking pennies from the pocket of a guy who did not obsessively turn off all the lights in his house for the past two years just so he could take those savings and buy you a few more days vanity on your soon-to-disintegrate car.

Stops. Breathes Deeply. I'm all right. It's okay.

Like I said - I had the money. And it's only money. I don't blame you, Rosillo, for assimilating all too well into a culture as perversely un-neighborly and un-merciful as this one. Before I make my exit, however, I will leave you with a few choice words from our good pal, Willy. Take note:

"The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes."

- The Merchant of Venice. Act 4, Scene 1 (written by Willy)

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