“Views are colorful and interesting and life-enhancing—as long as we know they are views.” – A. J. Bocchino
I overworked by 56-year-old body Saturday riding my bicycle then coming home and putting new lumber on my deck. After lifting sixteen foot boards, carrying them from my truck to the backyard, cutting them in half and screwing them to the deck frame for six hours in the heat I felt like I was 100 years old at the end of the day.
I went to bed early Saturday night and woke-up at 9 am Sunday morning stiff as the deck boards I had laid the day before. Every inch of my body from my hair to my toes was sore which led me to make an executive decision, no bike ride Sunday. Today was going to be an easy day, a day of eating and beer drinking.
My wife and I traveled up to a small mountain community about 90 minutes from our home. To our very pleasant surprise it was 65 degrees, a welcome change from the 95 degree days with 80% humidity we have been experiencing.
This town is a summer home community for the rich, the very rich, Ranger Rover, Mercedes, Porsche, and Maserati rich. We stopped at our favorite restaurant and the parking lot was easily filled with $1,000,000 worth of cars including some sporty, two-door Mercedes I had never seen before called a GT Coupe, starting price $120,000. My Honda fit right in.
Most of the stores in this community sell stuff that Mr. and Mrs. Rich from Atlanta feel the need to wear in the mountains, eat and drink in the mountains, and the knickknacks one would hang on the walls or place on the shelves of their $1,000,000 mountain “Cabins”. My wife and I don’t buy anything when we go. We like to eat burgers at the restaurant, they have Guinness on tap, and gawk at the ultra-rich in their “mountain clothes” eating brunch and drinking Bloody Mary’s. It is and they are, very entertaining.
The one exception to all the high-end retail in the center of town is an old white house right off of Main Street next to the park. The front yard is littered with, for lack of a better word, quirky stuff from metal goats, and wooden chairs to grape-vine arbors. The store sells a few antiques inside but mostly just junk, junk that would give your $1,000,000 “Cabin” that rustic feel.
The guy that owns the store is about as off the grid as you can get in this day and age. No cell phone, website or email. He doesn’t take credit cards but will accept cash with the proper id as he likes to say. He and his crew of buddies sit under a tree and shoot the shit while customers mill around the yard and inside the house. If you want to know the price of something you have to walk it out to him or describe it, he doesn’t like to get up from his chair and mess up the conversation. They are solving world problems under that tree.
I am looking for a couple of wooden chairs for my freshly planked deck so my wife and I ventured over to his store. As usual, he was holding court, with a cigarette dangling out of his mouth, sitting in one of the chairs I was interested in buying. Next to him was a guy who looked like life had beaten him down with a stick wearing a red “Make America Great Again” cap and drinking a tall-boy Budweiser in a paper bag. Parked next to them was an old Ford Ranger pick-up truck covered in dirt, rust and TRUMP stickers.
The contrast struck me. Less than 100 yards away was a parking lot full of $85,000 automobiles driven by rich, white, Republicans, and I would assume Trump supporters and here was a guy who didn’t appear to have a pot to piss in drinking his tall-boy Bud, smoking Marlboro’s and proclaiming to the world that he too was a Trump supporter. Same view, but with much different results and needs.
As I have done in the past, and much to the chagrin of my wife, I tried to engage the man in the red hat. I wanted to know what he saw in Donald Trump. What did he hear that I have missed. What did he see that I haven’t and didn’t see. His simple and succinct response, “Get the F*ck out of my face”. Oh well, maybe it was just the Budweiser talking.
I understand why the rich folks voted for Trump. They would expect “one of their kind” to work on their behalf. To not only preserve their wealth but their elite status as well. But in an area where the average price of a house is $700,000 against an average annual income of just $25,000 for the full-time residents I really don’t understand Ford Ranger guys attraction to Trump. Is it a white thing? A Republican thing? A government thing? A rich thing? What is his “colorful and interesting and life-enhancing” view of Trump that I am simply missing?
I hope I live long enough to read what the historians write about this period of time, the Trump reign. I will want to hear their views, and how they dissect this man’s rise to the top. I will want to read the stories of the people who voted for him, those wearing the red baseball caps making $25,000 a year and those driving their Ranger Rover’s they bought just to travel to their $1,000,000 “Cabins”. Right now the view I have is just that, my view, a view shared by some, but a different view others have against a wide socio-economic spectrum.
I would hope Ford Ranger guy would want more out of life than a fresh pack of smokes in his shirt pocket, a cold Budweiser, and a crazy old white guy as President but maybe he has everything he wants and needs. Maybe this is the time he has been waiting for, his sunset, his peace. I can’t argue with his view, it is his view, one that I just can’t share.
“I’d rather live in a cave with a view of a palace than live in a palace with a view of a cave.” – Karl Pilkington