The Lowest Common Denominator

I tend to believe I'm a worldly woman, self-supporting most of my life with a real career, traveling both domestic and international for business and pleasure, and going through some harrowing life experiences. Yet, for some godforsaken reason, in this town where I reside, people here who have never left this town treat me as if I've the word, "Schmuck" branded on my forehead.

I've complained about this before in my blog with other situations. Right now, I'm trying to calm myself from braining someone. For there seems to be a trend here every time I have some sort of transaction where every year, like Wonder Woman, I fend attempts to rip me off.

For example, there's this homeless guy who is quite popular here. This summer, he lives in his car and every morning he wakes up, opens the car door and pukes his guts out in front of a local eatery while patrons eat their food at the seats provided within to witness his matinal activity. Then he gets out, stepping in his vomit, removes his shirt and tosses it under the car. When one person complained to the owner of the parking lot property, Judd, he simply shrugged. For this homeless guy is quite popular here.

Everyone hires the homeless guy to do manual labor. He's dirt cheap and does good work. So, I retained him to do a little manual labor that I can't do. In the midst of this job because he stretched a half hour work to two days, needing to relax a bit before he finishes. While he was doing lord knows what far away from my home, I sat at the cafe, quietly sipping my coffee, eating my scone and working on a ferkakta manuscript. Suddenly, he enters and spotting me, leaves. He did this three times. Evidently, there was a subtle message going on that I didn't understand. Finally, he comes in and stands next to me, hopping on each foot and declares, "I can't finish the job."

"Why the hell not?"

"Well, I've nowhere to stay and will have to leave town."

"That's YOUR problem, not mine."

"Well, Judd said you've a spare room where I can stay."

My heart nearly stopped. For the owner of the parking lot approached this homeless guy and told him to live over my house!

"Well, you tell Judd that you can live with him. He owns two homes and has six empty bedrooms."

The guy ran out of the cafe. He didn't want to live with a fat old guy. He wanted to move in with a woman. I learned right there that beggars CAN be choosy with the full support of the community where I live.

I shouted after him, "You better finish that job!"

He went ballistic when I paid him for 3 hours' worth of work (at minimum wage) when it was only an hour tops and called me a cheap motherfucker. I don't see why I have to pay someone for work they don't do, someone who sat on my deck and watched ME work for hours on end, someone who interrupts me to blackmail me.

This is the stuff that tends to drive me up the walls.

Clutching the money before he spent it on meth, he ran over to that lunatic owner of the parking lot. While I parked in his lot, Judd approached me and asked, "Why can't the homeless guy live with you?"

Imagine, this is the shit I have to contend with - people in this town believe they're the boss of me.

"What the fuck's wrong with you?" I yelled at the parking lot proprietor while the homeless guy slept in his car nearby, parked in front of the eatery. "If you got a hard on for him, go ahead, sleep with the guy! Leave me the fuck alone." Judd was stunned that I had the audacity to tell him to back off because this is another piece of shit who believes he walks on water.

The bottom line is that I'm the bad one here and socially ostracized once more among these mouthbreathers.

Yet, that's not the kicker. Mind you, I'm busy at work ripping the shit outta this manuscript that my first newly signed author gave me. Ordinarily, I wouldn't give it the right time of day, but the back story's fascinating to me. In essence, I rewrote the entire goddamn thing which takes me forever because I'm a labored writer. And have difficulty concentrating due to my rampant tinnitus.

At any rate, the kicker is this boat mechanic approached me a month ago while I sat in the cafe sipping coffee and reading the newspaper. He asked me if he can fix the engine of my boat in exchange to riding around in it. I said to him, "Listen, I'm broke and can't afford to pay you. So, what's your game?"

He gave me a smile. "I have none. I just want to have a boat to ride in that isn't owned by my employer." He works for a marina across from me. "Besides, last summer, I had the same thing going with Mel."

Mel's another guy who, like me, has a temperamental boat. In a small town, everyone knows everyone's business. Well, everyone has towed either Mel or myself back to shore numerous times. Our boats defy logic and we gave up trying to get the engines repaired because the gremlins always succeed. Our boats are legendary in this regard.

We went to the boat and realized the only problem is that the battery was dead. "So much for the work," I told him, "please get me a battery." Finally, after a month, I phoned him. "Where the hell's that battery?"

"Oh, you want one?"

I smacked my head into the wall. This is part of what gets me crazy: the mixture of stupidity and arrogance. "Yeah, please order it."

It took a week for him to get it right, interrupting my concentration on this manuscript because I tend to get agitated with nonsense. I had to go back and forth and handed him $105 cash to receive the battery in one day. It took two.

Then, I received a phone call. "Your battery arrived!"

"Terrific," I said.

"But, the owner of the marina wants to know how much I get paid."

"It's none of his business what our arrangement is because you're doing this in your spare time."

"Well, I'm taking business away from him."

"COME ON! GIVE ME A FUCKING BREAK!" I shrieked. Knee deep in the manuscript, I went ballistic. "What the hell goes on here! You approached ME you miserable piece of shit. Let's rewind this to when I said, 'I have no money to pay you.'"

He shut up for a second. I lost it again. "What kind of game is this? Why is everyone out here trying to fleece me? Also, how fucking hard is it to replace a battery?"

That must've been the ace up the sleeve for no mechanic wants to admit that a battery defies their ability. Especially in a small town where smearing a reputation is the #1 activity.

Of course, he no longer has the time to give me my battery. I phoned him and he told me he'll dump it in my boat early the following morning. I expect to find the battery floating in the lake later today.

And there you have it. I know, I'm partly guilty for I interact with these morons. And that makes me one as well.

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