Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Clarice Doorknob

Well, I've found another way Clallam Bay is more civilized than Port Angeles.

Jury duty yesterday. Sitting reading Les Miserables (finally -- huge thick book you can't get through in jury duty), in the Port Angeles Courthouse.

Nice little old lady and nice little old man had the following conversation (I'm not bothering to point out which was which. It's equally nasty, but you can probably guess from the tone):

"Oh, the way those indians stopped the graving yard. I mean, what is wrong with them? That would have been lots of jobs. It's just spiteful."

(The Port Angeles port was going to just go ahead and put a graving yard on top of a native graveyard, but the natives stopped them. Mostly by bringing to light the nasty racism that's still going on in that town. As these conversations illustrate).

"They've had all this welfare all these years. They want to live in the best of both cultures."

(Yeah. Being forced to be on the kind of sour-faced stingy welfare our mean-spirited government gives. Oh, that is SOOOO the best).

"The government should just take away all those reservations and just make them citizens. And what's the problem with the bones? I don't care what they do with my body."

"Neither do I."

(Oh, right. Just throw 'em out in the yard for the dog to eat. I'd like to see what their relatives and friends do then.)

"They should be happy with a few of those bones for museums. What more do they want?"

I'd like to buy those two a clue -- the Indians will forgive US the theft and destruction of their graves, way of life, land and water when the Jews forgive the Germans the concentration camps -- FOR THE SAME REASONS.

Okay? Does that put it into perspective?

You never hear that crap up here. It's because so many people are related to the natives. Their kids play together, and go fishing, and everybody owns the same dogs.

And the Makah are the funniest and nicest people on the planet (I'll bet the Elwah are, too).

But you know white people -- if somebody else has a mouthful of water, or food, or an inch of land, or a tree that WE want, then we go to pieces.

Greedy, greedy, greedy.

I wonder why we don't just get rid of the eagle and take the ravening hog on as our national symbol?

I couldn't butt into this conversation, of course, or start vomiting, (I wasn't raised in a barn), but today I realized how I could have expressed myself (They sure as hell were!).

Fake cell-phone call. Who would know? People set those things to Vibrate these days.

"Yello. Yeah, we're still waiting. No, I decided to catch the bus. Was great -- got to look into the woods all around Lake Crescent, saw all kinds of cool streams."

(I'm usually the driver. Don't get to see anything.)

"Oh, and I picked up some great dialogue for the next book."

At this point, repeat the nasty sludge Mr. and Mrs. Master Race were spewing.

"Yeah! Oh, I've got her named already. Yeah. Clarice Doorknob. What? (Laugh). Chester Butthead! Naw, that's a little too obvious. But it's great lines. People ask where I get dialogue. Why write it when it's all over the place? Yup. I told 'em I needed to catch the 5:00 pm bus. Pick you up some apples? Will do. Okay. See you tonight -- or earlier if they let us out."


Quietly go back to my book.

And if they get all appalled and try to butt in -- glare at them and snap, "Do you MIND? I'm on the phone here! These minutes add up!"

And you know they would have hated it. Take comfort in this -- no matter how nasty somebody is in private, he or she knows it's wrong and don't want it published.

So we DO have a sense of decency as a species.

At least when somebody offers to tell somebody else.

(How to stop nasty email: "I have a long email list. And a forward button. And a SHORT TEMPER." They'll take the clue.)

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