Monday, October 8, 2012

Political Affairs

So there I was. Saturday. A crisp, sunny New England day in early October. Cutting my grass for the fun that was in it. (Not really, but it wasn't bad. The weather was gorgeous. And the grass? She needed cutting.)

Front yard is complete, now I was working on the back 40 at Le Château du Vieux Sergent. While so engaged, I had noticed an individual "wandering" the neighborhood. He looked far too clean cut to be a denizen of mon quartier, so I wondered, "Who can this be?"

He was carrying a clipboard, wearing a nice white shirt and khaki trousers. So I figured he wasn't a Jehovah's Witness or a Mormon. They usually dress in suits and travel in pairs. This guy was flying solo. Then the light came on. He must be a political type, canvassing the neighborhood for whatever nefarious reason the politicos do such things. After all, there IS an election coming up.

When it was time to empty the bag on the mower, I noted that the aforementioned individual was now on my deck. Looking in my direction. Oh crap. I actually have to communicate with a fellow member of the human race.

Now I'm not a very social guy. I tend to keep to myself and limit human contact. I find the members of this species to be somewhat annoying and tiresome. Especially when they want to borrow money from me. Or attempt to solicit funds from me for the purchase of something I don't really want.

Like the time (right after I retired from the Air Force) a couple stopped by the house and attempted to sell me a burial plot. The Missus thought it was something we should look into. My thought was that I'd just bought a house. It was expensive. Why did I want to invest it yet more real estate? Especially such a small piece of real estate?

The Missus said, "Well what if you die soon? Where will I put you?" Die soon? Does the wife have some plot going on here of which I am unaware? Is she planning to have me "terminated with extreme prejudice"? What had I done to upset her so?

Mind you, this conversation took place in front of the burial plot purveyors. Whom my wife had invited into the family dwelling while I was busy going through my emergency escape drill. Which was an epic fail. After all I was now stuck at the kitchen table, talking with people attempting to sell me something.

Well, indeed, the burial plot purveyors wanted to know, "What are your plans if you should die?"

I explained to them that at that point in time, any earthly plans I had would most certainly be null and void. Just put me out with the trash, I said. Or dump me in the backyard and call the police. That should buy the Missus a little time to make any burial arrangements. At that point I would have ceased to be and would have joined the "choir invisible" and probably would not give two hoots where they stuck my earthly remains.

No doubt you may well imagine the frustration of my Dear Wife and the purveyors of fine burial plots. Eventually they went away, I did not purchase a burial plot. But I see I've drifted away from the original story. Concerning the gentleman on my deck, looking all sincere and with apparent great patience in my general direction.

Mower off. Sigh. Ear protection pulled off the left ear and cocked at a jaunty angle over my very sweaty ball cap.

"Is there something I can help you with?", was the best line I could think of at the spur of the moment. A more clever man may have said, "Get off my lawn", in his best Clint Eastwood voice. An even smarter individual would have perhaps pretended not to speak much English, claim in some obscure accent that he was "just the gardener" and that the lady of the house, "she is not home Senor, so sorry."

At that point, the gentleman clad in white shirt and khaki trousers, departed from my deck and sauntered into the confines of my back yard. Saying, "Hi, I'm <insert name here> and I'm running for state representative for this district."

Damn. It's a politician. The emergency escape drill is a no go at this point. I am stuck betwixt the back hedge and the house, with nowhere to plausibly run, without looking like a complete loon that is. Not that looking like a complete loon has ever bothered me before. But usually that involved alcohol and a social gathering of some kind. Preferably with other members of the Air Force around. (And people wonder why I never made it past Master Sergeant in the military hierarchy. What's that you say? No one wonders? Oh, they all know why? Hhhmm, I guess acting like a loon while at an Air Force social function while having a full load of German beer on board is not the key to advancement in the modern Air Force. Damn. Okay, there's another mystery solved.) Again, I digress.

When the fellow admitted to being a politician, my immediate question to him was, "What party?"

Now I have to tell you that I was very wary at this point. Probably a bit of a hostile look on my face because this is little Rhody. A state so blue in political outlook that a Republican running for office in this state has about as much chance of winning as I have of being elected Pope. Actually I have a better chance of becoming Pope than a Republican has of winning an office in this state. And I'm not even Catholic. Setting aside all of the other reasons why I could not and should not be elected Pope. (Not that I'm a bad guy mind you. I think I would make an excellent Pope. But have you seen the traffic around the Vatican? No, thank you, I'll pass.)

Now I was expecting the fellow to say he was a Democrat. I was already preparing some witty put-down to send him off in shame. How dare you tread upon the soil of a dyed-in-the-wool conservative. He had, I must say, a rather nervous look on his face at that point. Perhaps he knew he was face to face with a member of his political opposition.

No, turns out HE WAS A REPUBLICAN!

OMG. The odds of seeing one of those in little Rhody are about as good as seeing a unicorn. Covered in glitter and singing some insipid song about birds. (Do unicorns do that?)

Well, the fellow and I had a nice 30 minute chat regarding the state of the world (not good) and the state of Rhode Island (not as bad as the world, but not good, especially the economy.) He has some good ideas and seems like a real nice fellow. Not a professional politician mind you but a businessman who is heartsick over the way things are going. We had a good laugh at the fact that I was one of the very few people he'd met that day who didn't immediately shoo him off their property. As I said, conservatives are a very rare breed in New England to begin with, even rarer in little Rhody. Though apparently there are small pockets of us scattered about the region. Clinging to their guns and Bibles. As I am wont to do.

So there you have it. That pretty much summed up my Saturday. Pretty exciting huh?

The Old AF Sarge cut his grass and talked to a politician. (Oh, and I watched Black Rain again on Netflix, hadn't seen it in a while. I do like that movie. Lots of action. Set mostly in Japan. So it was all good.)

Lawn mowing and politics. Life in the fast lane.


  1. Great story! Sometimes people will surprise you.

    1. Thanks Brigid! People surprise me all the time. Usually in a good way.

  2. Always a shock to me when my pre-conceived idea of someone turns out to be false...especially when I'm sure they're someone to avoided at all cost and then darn the luck, they wind up being someone I might like! But, what strikes me here is how 30 minutes was taken from valuable lawn mowing time to talk politics. I sure hope you were able to finish the lawn!

    1. Let me assure you Greg, the lawn was completed even with the political interlude thrown in. Though my Saturday evening activities were somewhat curtailed due to the loss of that 30 minutes. On the other hand, it did give me some material for the old blog!

  3. I like retail politics and living in a small town gives me the opportunity to meet our candidates personally. Several have knocked on my door during this election season and I enjoy the chats. The difference between you and I is that my part o' New Mexico is deep, DEEP red in color. Donkeys are rare in my part o' the world, but I hear there are a lot o' 'em up in Santa Fe and ABQ. :-)

    1. Sad to say, donkeys are a dime a dozen 'round these parts.


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