Five Points, Vol. 17 No. 2Spring 2016
From Sindiwe Magona: "I do believe that writing is always about self. Because even when you propose to write something that is not self, you are still tapping into who you are."
In Spite of Everything
If you live in this town, you’ve already heard the story of how I got fired. Maybe you were the one telling it, around the bar at the Commercial Hotel, and maybe you got some laughs. Well, laugh now, asshole, because your turn is coming. The next time you misspeak or fall down or get pulled over for some imaginary bullshit, some yokel with a police scanner will alert the public like it’s a matter of national security. Trust me, it will happen. You too are being watched.
Here’s an example. One day after work—back when I still had a job to go to—I stopped at the Dog Chopper for dogfood. Keith Partridge is diabetic, and I’m not supposed to feed him leftovers. Humping the bag to the checkout, I ran smack into Miss Gaussner, my second grade teacher. “How are you, Doreen?” she asked.
She’s eighty and probably senile, so I explained (nicely) that Doreen is my sister.
“Oh, I’m sorry.” The old cow sounded insulted, as though her forgetting my name was somehow my fault. “How have you been, Janet? Are you still living with your mother?”
And there you have, in a nutshell, exactly what’s wrong with this town. Because no one has anything better to do, your every failure and humiliation will be catalogued, analyzed and remembered forever, by people who can’t be bothered to get your name right. Small town boredom meets big city indifference…