I was born in the south. I live in the south and will die in the south. This is only a small part of the memories I share.
Stories--short and long, front page, sports page, Jerry Richard's got the muscle--and the scratch. Front page slotted for 12 inches above the fold. This NFL stuff will sell when the works of Tolstoy lay stagnant. God bless the richer-than-rich.
I Didn't Know Much But
I knew that I was out of place. I didn't feel out of place, nor did I tell anyone near the Galleria's main fountain that I felt out of place, I just knew it. Much like those hitch-hikers, those "real" hikers, who hitch rides from Alabama to San Diego, who wear cardboard signs that read: "Will Work For Food!" The Scam Hikers look much the same as a Hitch Hiker, but Scam Hikers don't have nerve enough to wear a cardboard sign.
Out of place. Almost as having the last 77 days of a terminal disease. Cold, nervous, the onlookers staring at me behind their whispers. I was innocent as innocent can be. Just looking for a place to spend some scratch to buy something above special, so I drove from my Shanty Town--one hour, 15 minutes to the west. Was in a panic to find a parking spot. Wish I could just sell my car, but one has to have a car in order to sell a car. Supply and Demand. I don't have a Car to Supply someone Demanding to buy one. I remember something about Economics in my senior year of high school.
No one who patronizes places like Riverchase Riveria, Hoover, Ala., I mean no one! Not even the packs of Hell's Angels who you'd think would love to pillage such a Sodom and Gomorrah, but they don't even come near. All of this you are reading is true. Every word. I remember the Riverchase Gallerie and frankly, I didn't see much, but tons of kicked-back cement. It went on for miles. I sat and took my personal tour of the outside of Riverchase and the more I looked, the more I just wanted to change my name and head home. Start a new life. I've been to the mountain top! The dream is over.
In the parking area outside the Riverchase, there were NO vehicles that you would see on Alabama's best used car lots in Montgomery, Mobile, and Atlanta. Not even the Upper Level, High End Mercedes Benz lots, those you have to have an appointment to just look . . .NO vehicles like those I saw at the Riverchase. I stood for a moment and silently prayed that one of the people who owned one of these fine chariots would come out--to give me the flimsy excuse of asking where some street was located. I hate lying. And liars, so that idea went up in smoke.
Finally. A college student, coming my way. Probably to tell me that if I didn't scram, the Riverchase Rent--a--Cops would haul my back end in the hoosegow. No. She went by me. And did she smell great. Just like when she walked out of her sunken tub which was made of pure Italian Marble. And that was in her basement of one of her art studios that she had built by her parents so her artistic spark could be kindled and no other place would do but in an expensive, high end place like her parents' home with the 20 or so art houses--two rooms and coffee. You know? Art and coffee go hand-in-hand.
The poor girl. She went to her Lexus to get something she had forgotten. It wasn't her purse because she looked to be one of the Upper Crust of Jefferson County--maybe a granddaughter; an only child from parents who made tons of money in their prime and went on to publish recipes oh How to Eat Your 50-Dollar Bills . . .naaah, I don't even believe this tripe.
I wanted to call this girl, "Lilly." She looked like a "Lilly." You have to look super-clean to even be called "Lilly." I'd bet that this "Lilly" girl had never tasted Folger's coffee. Or even drank tap water. Only the best for "Lilly"--imported processed Canadian water; Liquors (for dad, mom, and their wealthy friends); caviar; champagne; Italian bread, wines and cheeses--the girl had it all. She even walked with a certain neurotic rhythm of her left and right buttocks hidden underneath that cotton fiber Colonial Betsy Ross dress with flat wooden sandals. Swish! Swash! Swish! Swash!
I had stayed and studied the lay of the land, as it were, on how to get inside the RG, short for, you know. Saves time. And you have a delicious meal to enjoy, so I will edit wherever possible.
My hour-long study of the RG parking lot, to recap, had NO regular pick-up trucks, Chevrolet, Ford, Toyota, Nissan vehicles--just the biggies. Just the costliest. I wish that I had what these vehicles ran per the Automobile Blue Book. I might pay off my house, a few hospital bills and have some left over to take my wife to Logan's Roadhouse, saw one on the way in.
I walked as slowly as the oldest Galapagos Tortoise when I entered the RG. There were so many rich people that I almost upchucked from their "smell." That's right, Bucko. Smell. Wealthy, Elite people put off "that" smell and when you meet one and somehow catch a whiff of their "smell" nausea hits your lower stomach. I've theorized over the years that Wealthy, Elites upon reaching either their Trust, Inheritance or Grandparents' gift Monies, the Wealthy, Elites are sworn to secrecy about having to take "a pill" unlike your average GNC store---open for anyone. No, Bucko. These pills are specially-imported from Munich then on to Rome and then to the Mobile Ports where 12 Bonded Armour Trucks line up after an obscure tugboat has unloaded the "pills" guarded by people such as Jack Lambert; Brian Bozworth and a handful of retired Israeli Commando's whose job it is to keep these pills secret until they are delivered to a secret place near where some of the more-powerful Wealthy, Elites live and socialize until the time comes to give out the "pills" that cause regular people to have Nausea Attacks on the spot--a clear and decisive way to keep Regular people from the WE. I abbreviated to save you more time.
I sat down at one of their highly-expensive fountains where I could catch my breath and just stop feeling so out of place and what really scared me was I did not see ANYONE that looked anyone like me--not a common laborer, police officer, construction worker . . .not even a nurse! What was this, a Neo-Nazi Commune to keep away the grit and grime of our country? If so, I was going to give them something to read upon my getting back home--if I still felt out of place and discriminated against, I was going to tell the world (Julie Andrews too) that We Care. I mean, We the People Care.
I was sitting there trying hard not to smell the various expensive colognes and body wash, when I heard a familiar nose: Swish! Swash! Swish! Swash! I couldn't believe my eyes. It was "Lilly," still wearing her Betsy Ross dress and wooden sandles. Oh, and a meager hair band that kept her Designer Bangs in place
Are you laughing right now? Have you laughed at one or two things you have already read in this commentary? Just checking. Do not get so paranoid. There is no Secret Bug inside my sentences to find out how you really feel.
"Lilly" walked past me along with her one Trader Joe's shopping bag that was smaller than small and bigger than medium. I didn't try to see what she had bought. I felt the breeze as she walked by and I really thought that she had walked past me until I looked and there she sat--just looking at the tops of her wooden sandles and it really looked that she was about to cry. I had to find a camera. Wealthy, Elites do NOT cry for anything or anyone. And I got that quite well! I have studied these wealthy, powerful people so much that I can talk harshly to myself to motivate myself.
I looked her way. She looked at my way. We both looked away. Fate, if there was some, was not with me. I really didn't care. I just wanted to find out the truth if Regular People ever visit RG or not and if they do, I wanted to get their name. That's it.
I found out that the very same people, the Wealthy, Elites, who owned (that) billion or so dollars worth of Automotive Creations were the same as the people who were in the RG--lifting their heads and noses high as the sky not because of their love for America, but Money. Filthy Lucre, not opposed to being transported into burlap bags on Black Bear's Charleton's Beach . . .money in stocks, bonds, bearer bonds and pure cash crisp and snappy sounding when rolled into those dollar counters that the bank employees (who earn MW) use when counting out other people's scratch.
There was Not one, not any one in my inside RG Tour that hardly resembled the Bill Gates or Warren Buffet's of my homeland, which I shall keep to myself. If I were a gambling addict, I would wager $20 Billion Dollars that Gates, Buffet or anyone in that League of High Class Loot would dare be driven through my homeland or be flown by private jet to see where I live.
"May I ask you something?" "Lilly" said in her almost muted voice.
"Sure. What is it?" I asked in my very best Jason Robards impression.
"Did you just write that down--the part about Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and the rest?" "Lilly" said looking right toward the sky.
"Yes. So?" I said not feeling any remorse about feeling out of place.
"I, well, think that you are right to say those things. I'm a Wealthy, Elite, and I don't dress outlandish. I don't own an art studio on my parents' spacious mansion grounds. I do work, that is true. But I teach. That's it. I teach high school Algebra." "Lilly" explained.
"Okay. What's your name?" I asked.
"Lois. Lois Jan Wickerstreet," Lois said looking so mischievous.
"Wow! You even sound wealthy. Why are you talking to me?" I said halfway laughing.
"The dress and sandles, rented. The Lexus, rented. I find that I may not have big money, but I get a charge from people like you whom I love to con," Lois said.
We both laughed.
And agreed to have dinner at the Logan's Roadhouse that I had seen going in.
No moral. No catchy ending. Just feeling a bit more foolish now than when I started.
© 2018 Kenneth Avery
Kenneth Avery (author) from Hamilton, Alabama on February 24, 2018:
Dear Robin -- you are the sweet one. Not me. I do want to present an honest image. I am forever indebted to YOU for cheering me up so many times when my health issues cause me trouble. . .so Thank You, Robin.
I will be Your Friend Forever.
Robin Carretti from Hightstown on February 23, 2018:
Such kind words thanks for replying back
Kenneth Avery (author) from Hamilton, Alabama on February 23, 2018:
Hi, Robin -- thank you kindly for the nice comment and I agree with you. The place in my commentary REALLY exists in the metro-area of Birmingham and I can speak from experience--my wife and daughter made that ONE visit and would have stayed, but we walked in a Banana Republic to check the prices on leather coats and the sales staff were all ganged up at the main cash register, but when they saw us, they all looked away from us.
Only God knew just how close I came to really telling the manager and everyone with ears just how sorry, low down, and self-serving they were.
And the worst part, the sales people I knew, were from the Elite Families of Jefferson County and the kids were "there" to put on their 12-page resume for private school because now they are Superior Court Judges and the like.
And me? I am still here. Talking to my Great Friend, Robin. And I mean it.
Write me anytime.
Robin Carretti from Hightstown on February 20, 2018:
Yes everything gets pricey these days we all want the top of the spice of smells of life we try to avoid it because we cannot afford it but at least we can see things for truly what they are all con games by far