Mine was the last car in the lot yesterday after conferences. A strenuous 2 days that always sees staff scurrying to their cars and the well-deserved weekend beyond as soon as that clock ticks 4. The day before is an at least 12 hour day and the kids have been late-winter nuts and there is enough free time in the 2 days of conferences to be well prepared for the week ahead so these hard working educators who usually stay long after the din of the last bell has subsided on this day get to leave post-haste. It took me a while. I stayed until around 5:30 and then slowly headed to the gym.
I had been invited to my friend’s house earlier but it was far and his kids were there and I just didn’t feel like dealing with that whole thing. I didn’t put 2 and 2 together that not only had his birthday just occured but that some problems he’d been having in his life had escalated beyond anything I was aware of. Two of my other buddies, who were aware of what the night entailed – helping a friend in need, did what friends of a certain feather do and forcibly removed my self-centered head from my ignorant ass and before I walked into the gym plans were made to trek out and cheer up. Or at least listen.
Irish whiskey flowed like beer and it was the normal type of night when we four get together. The homeowner’s children stayed upstairs, watched movies, and eventually went to sleep. We listened to music downstairs and talked. We’ve been friends for about 25 years, more than half of our lives. We are family for each other. Our topics of conversation run the gamut. We dabble in my little sadnesses, hit sports, movies and music, other friends’ lives, we flame each other every chance we get, we laugh tons, and as the night progresses we tend to get louder and louder. Cross conversations get deep wherein 2 guys are yelling over the stream on a totally different subject than the one the other 2 are throwing back and forth at each other. About three-fourths of the way through the night these streams cross Ghostbusters style and the main event commences and it is slice-worthy and Idealiotic to the core.
Our champion imbiber and I wound up pitted against the other 2. The irksome topic was started with the other two and I was happy to jump on it because to be honest I didn’t fully understand the talk I was having with the homeowner and I think that might be because what he was saying actually didn’t make sense. Either way the whiskey was affecting one of us. This argument epitomizes Idealiotic thinking which means there would never be a winner.
My team’s thought was that the country (or world i guess) would be better if literally everyone made 30 thousand dollars a year. I don’t know enough about economics to know if this is Socialism or Communism but I do know I’ve just always hated the greedy aspect of capitalism. “Greed is good” and all. At first the other two were having none of it but eventually the one who lived closest and drove us all, therefore the soberest among us, was the first and only guy to at some point admit the gray area between both sides is where the solution would probably be found. The sober guy! Go figure. Ha.
I keep mentally working on part two of a post I wrote the first part to a while back. I know everything I want to hit on it but it sort of has tons of seemingly disparate themes which keep coming up so I’m going to hit on one now so maybe I can cut that post down a few superfluous paragraphs (I am well aware that brevity is not my thing). Injecting myself into this debate we were having I explained at one point to these 3 men who live in large, beautiful homes with their children and the partners they purchased them with that in my case, the system just doesn’t work. At that point they’d been arguing hard-working neurosurgeons versus “lazy welfare crackheads” – extreme ends of the spectrum and how it could ever be fair we’d pay them the same – more on specifics like that in a minute. I told them how much student loan debt I had. I told them since last year was my first with a real job that my pay-as-you-earn loan payments just shot up. Like from nothing to something. I told them how much I made per month and then I told them how much a STUDIO apartment cost to rent. I worked very hard to earn my degree. I work very hard at work. There just aren’t single parents with 3 kids who are first/second year teachers. I mean I’m sure there are but it isn’t economically tenable. Mathematically if I paid all the bills I do now plus rented an apartment (I will hit my living situation in that other post), a studio apartment for the 4 of us no less, I would have like 50 dollars a week for food and gas and life and with 3 kids that’s literally impossible. So I get another job and then I don’t see my kids on the limited occasions I currently get to, can’t coach (couldn’t afford them to play sports anymore anyways), and can’t use the time outside of work without my kids to work on work stuff which we all know is very much needed. So from a personal standpoint, and a perspective none of the other three could possibly fully understand, this Idealiotic radical economic plan made sense.
The 2 guys we were up against brought up what they thought were valid points and simply because they were respected friends they were valid points. We weren’t meeting common ground. On the crackhead vs doctor fight I told them that most crackheads become that way based on hopelessness. Currently some people just don’t have the mental capacity to see any way out of the world they are born into. I would posit things like that for them to ponder. If everyone were guaranteed 30K to go to work everyday I think that hopelessness will go away mostly. We also added that healthcare and education under this system would be free. That a country as great as ours should ensure all of her citizens are housed and clothed and healthy and fed. I think the guys who mow lawns and bust their butts doing landscaping before going to their night jobs as fry cooks and work 70-90 hours a week to feed the humans they are linked to show that they have the type of work ethic where, if given the opportunity to get an education, they would definitely work hard to become doctors or lawyers, or maybe they love being outside and doing work or cooking for people but this way they could do just one of those things, provide for their people, and be able to watch them grow up and help guide them in a better manner than modeling for them that what life is, is an 80 hour work week from cradle to grave.
They kept asking what about the lazy people who would take advantage. My response was always “they’re people, they deserve nutrition and health and a chance”. The people who have a deep down desire to doctor will doctor, not just those who want a shinier car than everyone. And they won’t have to work as hard because I truly believe more people will use their new opportunity to go into this and many other fields currently blocked from them. Even if it is just in their perception that the fields are blocked. I told them to look around. I told them that we won the socioeconomic lottery. Even me without a pot to urinate in. Compared to so many other people us 4 white males in 2018 America simply got lucky we were born as such. It’s not fair. Eventually the homeowner dug in a little too far and my partner finger pointed and screamed steam from his ears and ubered away even though we had made the night’s plan to cut down on the need for a $40 uber. On the way back to my other buddy’s house where I usually crash, the guy with the middle ground who was still pretty firmly on team capitalism, he tried to continue the conversation in a more subdued manner. I was tapped out. I just stared out the window, said “yeah, but they’re PEOPLE” a couple times, and fidgeted with ideas of doing things with my phone people at 2 am shouldn’t do with their phones.
When we woke up this morning the homeowner sent out a picture of the 4 of us before the whole thing went to hell. All of us chimed in what a great and then crazy night it was. Just another one for the books. There were no hard feelings. Uber guy added to his impulsive diva legend after a night of brown medicine. And it was then that I realized that we never actually addressed these seriously serious issues my buddy the capitalist homeowner was having. We simply toasted his birthday and went for it in the Friday night friends in a basement department. I hope that’s what he needed. I hope we gave him a break. What I do know is that in doing that for him, or at least trying to, I was able to sublimate the ick that kept me at work until 5:30 dreading a solitary weekend without kids. Now I am awaiting word on if the PTO mom’s annual early charity Easter egg hunt is still on even though the skies dumped February flavored sno cones all over everything for some reason. If it is I get to see my kids and take them there. Bonus! And if not, I have decided that since tonight the world will be filled with Irish friends I’ve never met, I’m going to throw myself at them and see if any of them want to celebrate this holiest of holidays with a single second year teacher with three kids and a penchant for the melancholy. I’d be fine finding 3 other people who just want to yell until the ubers get there. Be safe everyone. And kind, please.