In Which the Night Owl is asked to tell a Story

The Trumpian, a Holiday Tale

September and October were surprisingly good months for selling art in the valley.  In preparation for the cold months, the poet had hoarded away her income in order to purchase, finally, carpet for the living room.  

And so it was that just a couple of days after the election in November, two young carpet installers arrived at the house.  On the sizable shoulders of one of them perched a large, imposing boom box.  The poet assured herself that this was no imposition, that she was an open minded sort, that she could listen to, or suffer through whatever kind of music were to ensue.  

She hadn’t counted on the unmistakable, mind-numbing sound of Rush Limbaugh, his voice yet more shrill, more hyperventilated, more bloated and full of certainty than she remembered it, blaring through the house -- and straight into the center of the weird, disembodied, bourgeois wound the election appeared to represent. 

Hey, guys, she begins, using her best half apologetic, half self-righteous voice, I can listen to just about anything...but Rush Limbaugh...I mean, come on...

One of them laughed uncomfortably, the other, the carrier of the monstrosity, said nothing as he ambled over to the thing and casually switched over to classic rock.  

There is no moral to this story.  It hardly matters that both the poet and the bringer of the monstrosity seemed to lighten, or perhaps recognize a shared sense of irony when a few minutes later, having both by now secretly identified the other as The Enemy, Come Together, (Right Now), sifted through the house.  Nor does it matter much that as the morning progressed, the poet found herself out on the front stoop, sharing a smoke with the young offender, discovering his particular story, his sense of humor, in short, his obvious humanity.  The uncle in prison, the little sister with Downs, the legacy of addiction he can't seem to shake, (who can?), the layoffs in coal, legion in the area, which brought him to the unlikely trade of carpet laying.  

Nor does it matter much that this bringer of the monstrosity, the caricature I mean, the one who carries Rush Limbaugh around on his shoulder, became, over the course of a smoke, a sensitive, articulate kid with a story and a tragedy of his own. It makes no difference to the world that that the anxiety ridden, middle class client who couldn't tolerate a little talk radio, had a husband in coal, that he was one of the few hanging on by his fingernails, with a mortgage and a kid's tuition hanging in the balance.  It doesn't mean much to anyone that the old poet chose not to tell the young man that financial self-interest be damned, the husband and many of his colleagues in the industry had voted against the T-rump.  No, that part didn't matter at all, for she'd lost all interest in proving a point, or scoring a point, or landing on the right side of anything, and so it seemed, had he.  She had resumed, perhaps, her natural place in the grey areas, in the in-betweens, at the cross roads and along the fringe -- or as some would say, on the fence -- distrusting, yet again, (for the lesson arrives again and again), her own ideology as a lens of any clarity through which to perceive the world.   

It is I suppose, an anti climactic story, one of questionable merit and of little interest to anyone -- except perhaps to the two of them, an awkward pair at an awkward moment in history, muddling through their own prejudices and suppositions, addictions and predicaments.  

Well, perhaps it also mattered to  the old goat, munching his feed and participating, somewhat reluctantly, from across the street.