Saturday, August 27, 2005

Saturday Morning Biases

I sit on the grass on the north side of campus as the Republicans drive by. Some have incredibly expensive cars, others have cars that are worse for wear: minivans and trucks dirty with the high desert summer. The dude who drove by in his forest green Jag knows he is something special. You can tell by the way he has his head thrown back. I wonder what sins he has committed to get that wealth. Excessive wealth, unless you are very lucky, always seems to be linked in some way with immoral or unethical actions. I know no such thing of this anonymous man, however, but have a predilection against him. Something about his need to show off his wealth goads me into thinking ill of him. Somewhere down deep in my psyche hides a judgmental Puritan who suspects all such extravagant wealth as ill-gotten.

The Republicans are here for their Fall convention, I assume, and I am here because I left something in my office that I will need this weekend. So I sit and wait for the bus and watch the Republicans (all clean-cut men in their 50s as far as I have seen) pass me by in their cars looking confused, uncertain where to park. I catch most of them staring at me as I sit here on the grass with my computer. No doubt I look younger than I am so I might pass for a student, but somehow I doubt that. Age has begun to show on me, I think. Any sense of condescension on their part could be equaled by my own condescension towards them: get out of your fucking car and walk, fat cat is my first response to their supposed prejudice against me and my fetish against driving and for mass-transport. Of course it is more likely that they think I am poor or down on my luck like so many who ride the bus. Somehow I don't think they would have much sympathy for the poor folks who ride the bus, what with the all-American drive to prove yourself through wealth and hard work. No doubt they would think that anyone who rides the bus is poor and therefore lazy. I wonder when they will realize that there is only a tenuous link between hard work and wealth? I wonder when they will realize that the meretricious society they lie to themselves about is just a fantasy fed to them to keep them working hard for that guy in the forest green Jaguar?

No doubt they are thinking no such things. I'm sure all they are thinking is where the hell do I park and why the hell have taxes paid for all this.

"Excuse me!" I am interrupted by a woman in a red blazer driving a champagne Cadillac who has pulled to the middle of the road to ask me a question. She is the first woman I have seen and sports a magnificent grey beehive hairdo.

"Yes?" I ask removing my earphones.

"Do you know where the auditorium is?" Immediately I know part of the woman's story. She has never been to college or she would know that college campuses have dozens of auditoriums spread around campus.

"If you mean the Lifetime Activities Center," (I use the fancy name for the gym thinking that the term might strike a chord with her) "it is over there," and I point in the general direction of where the GOP Convention parking signs lead. I assume they are all in the gym, convention away--making speeches against same sex marriage and for freedom and against the evils of a permissive society and against government intervention and how we need to put more money into our precious roads and against taxes, always against taxes. How people can easily deal with contradictions is just plain fascinating.

"Is that the auditorium?"

"No its the gym, but I think that's where you are all at."

She, however, has started to ignore me since I obviously am not going to confirm her mistaken terminology and pulls back into traffic cutting off a fellow Republican behind her. He honks at her and looks angry. She is oblivious. I wonder if they will exchange words on the convention floor.


  1. Excellent. Down with the tyranny of the car!

    I wonder, if more people were forced to walk or take public transit (or bike) if it would ultimately affect their political ideology.

    There's something about driving a big car that helps one maintain illusions of self-worth and autonomy.

  2. On my trip, I called the owner of one of the B&B's we stayed at to see if there was a bus from the burb we'd encounter just off the trail to the city center, where the place was. He gave me a few vague ideas about where I might find the bus, but then said, "I don't really know. We're rich. We have a car." gee, sorry for asking

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  4. There are very few things that I assign as a sin. Throwing away a book is one of them. and conspicuous consumption is another.

    How sad to asign self worth with a hunk of metal.

    No wonder they don't think of living systems. They associate themselves with non-living posessions.

    Beehive hairdo. How very SLC.

  5. I just heard that Texans consume 5% of the world's oil.

    Oh yeah!

  6. I too hate the automobile. But I hate LA public transport even more. Still, I use Metro whenever I can and it is always filled with poverty and mental illness. Public transport in LA is a service for the underclass and people who use it are definitely looked down upon. People who use public transport are seen as failures because, the thinking goes, no one would actually CHOOSE to use it if they could actually afford a car. So I try to ride it once a week at least...just to represent.

  7. Anonymous6:39 PM

    I too just learned about that herendous 5% Texas oil thing. I'm left floppy by the whole damn thing.

    but I quite enjoyed the speculative rant. I wonder how frequently those sorts of thoughts flow through the minds of grassy observers...

  8. A very nice piece: I've often wondered what was going through the minds of "grassy observers" I pass while in my car. I can't quite shake the stereotypes of bus users. When I have an extra 2.5 hrs I will see if I can get from my home to work.

    Even though I drive 30 minutes to work each way, I still hope gas prices go up. It's the only way we will face reality: create alternative fuels and build a decent public transport system.