Certain patterns are repeated over and over again in my life. Some of these patterns I create subconsciously and others, at least on the surface, appear to be random. One pattern is that similar things happen to me in threes. Most of the time, I don’t pick up on this until after event number three has occurred. However, this week I noticed immediately that two similar events had occurred in short order and I was bracing myself for the third. And it was a doozy.
In the months leading up to the election, the political climate in Stepford was, let’s just say, odd. There was an unusual blending of the Stepfordians and the Rednecks who live in the areas that surround the suburbs. There was a dawning disbelief, despite the Stepfordian and Redneck cult-like certainty that they were on the right side of history, that McCain may lose the election. The frenzy of anti-Obama emails, bumper stickers, and water-cooler talk was unlike anything I had ever witnessed. It was as if the Stepfordians and the Rednecks believed if they said Obama would lose enough times, they could make it come true. I kept imagining Dorothy repeating, “There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.”
Imagine their disappointment on election night when their mantras and clicking of their symbolic ruby slippers did not produce the desired result. Many McCain/Palin signs remained in the front yards in Stepford well into December. It seems no one has gone to the trouble to remove their McCain/Palin bumper stickers. And the anti-Obama chatter? While most of it now goes on outside of my earshot, it is as vicious as ever.
It’s no secret I try my best to stay away from right-wing propaganda. No Fox News, no talk radio, and absolutely, positively, under no circumstance do I allow Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh into my head. However, I’m neither blind nor deaf, so I’m not completely successful at eliminating all sources of offensive material. Last Friday night on my commute back into Stepford was one of those times. Just as I was about to cross into the Stepford city limits, I pulled the Palinmobile to a stop at a red light behind a very nice and new Ford F-250. On the back glass of this truck was a bumper sticker that I had never seen before and I hope I never see again. My reaction was instantaneous irritation at the sticker and the driver. I understand completely—oh trust me, I really do understand—that in Texas I am surrounded on a daily basis by people who feel the way this driver does. However, the audacity and anger that would propel a person to put this sticker onto their truck for the entire world to see is beyond anything I can wrap my mind around.
The sticker was black with white lettering. It had two lines. The first line read “Obama, you want my gun?” At this point I’m thinking “Okay, seriously, you paranoid Redneck, I am very doubtful that the President of the United States cares what the hell you have tucked under your seat as long as you a) leave it there and b) have the proper permit.” The second line read “MAKE MY DAY.” WTF!? I’m thinking “OH, uh-uh ... Oh no you didn’t just make a not-so-veiled threat against the life of our new President.” I picked up my cell phone and shouted my outrage at my dad all the way home. Thank God for my father. He was appropriately outraged in return.
Saturday morning produced event number two. My family is currently ridding ourselves of our four ATVs and the ridiculously large trailer that is required if you want to ride said ATVs anywhere but our backyard. We have a small ATV that my eight-year-old daughter rides listed on Craigslist. Last Saturday morning my husband calls me into the office and says, “We have an offer on the small ATV.” I can tell by the way his goatee is slightly skewed that something is up. So I put my hands on my hips and say “What is it?” He says as monotone as he can muster, “They want to know if we would be willing to trade the small ATV for a 40 caliber handgun.” I stare. He waits. He knows this is not going to be good even though in a sadistic way, he will enjoy my reaction.
I take a deep breath and say “Let me see.” He rolled the chair back from the computer and there it was in black in white. “Would you being willing to make a trade for a very nice 40 caliber handgun?” I took a deep breath and said to my husband, “May I respond?” He quickly rolled the chair back to the computer and said, “I’ll tell him we want cash.” So I say, “No, you need to tell him yes. Tell him that your wife feels she has a moral obligation to remove his 40 caliber handgun from the double-wide where the child he wants our ATV for happens to lay his precious head at night.” He wouldn’t do it. It was probably a bad idea anyway. It’s been my experience that you shouldn’t really mess with Redneck handgun owners living in double-wides.
Which all brings us to event number three. Monday morning while driving to work, I’m talking to a friend who has approximately the same commute time as I do. It’s a ritual she and I share a few mornings a week. Our husbands are very close and get together with a few other Stepford husbands once a month for breakfast. The monthly breakfast happened to be two days prior to this conversation. The very same morning of the ATV/handgun email offer. Anyway, I’m relaying my story about the bumper sticker and ATV/handgun trade when she busts out with, “Well, what do you think about the boys getting their handgun permits?” I’m thinking “Boys? What boys? Even Texas wouldn’t let our eleven-year-old sons get handgun permits.” After a pause, I say “What?” She says, “The guys. They decided at breakfast Saturday morning that it would be fun to get their handgun permits.” I’m almost speechless. I manage another “What?” She says, “I guess he hasn’t mentioned that?” Ummmm. No. He hasn’t.
You know you’ve been living in Texas too long when … okay, okay, when any of the above happen to you.