While Doc was on his canoe trip a couple of weeks ago, I got to spend a few evenings at tiki. One night, Wednesday, which is traditionally tiki night, I got to hang out with my neighbor dudes and one of my coworkers. And what did we talk about? Cable wiring, in particular, RGB, HD, the value of having multiple boxes. At one point, I was like, "Seriously? This is what you talk about at tiki?" No one answered me, of course, because they were all in the throes of a heated debate over who was right on a job site issue. Three of the guys were working together to expand the patio of a local bar. Markus had said he didn't want to talk shop at tiki but one of the other guys persisted. I think they were looking to my other neighbor, Jerry the Cable Guy, to add his opinion and resolve the matter.
I have no idea if it was settled or not since I was bored out of my mind...and I'd had a couple of beers. So, at the first breath in the conversation, I said, "Peace out" and headed home. What a bummer. But I understand work issues, particularly political ones, can be the source of endless debate and conversation for those directly involved. Since I wasn't involved and the subject matter wasn't sexy enough for my taste, I couldn't be compelled to stay. I did try to hang in there, though and learn something. But beer on top of a full day's work triumphed and led me to bed.
It was a much different experience the following Saturday, after we got home. I had slipped over to the Tiki for a quick break and found Frank there alone. He gave me a beer, as he is wont to do and started a conversation. We ended up talking about relativity, which was a trip as it was a concept he was unfamiliar with and he kept trying to grok my meaning. We were both the worse for the beer and I found myself struggling to explain while he struggled to understand. This was more the type of conversation I was looking for. I think I might have helped him create a new wrinkle in his brain.
However, things turned ugly after a while, since he started to complain about the actions the government (he's not a fan) are taking to set up universal heath care. He's very upset that they are trying to spend money they don't have, since they robbed social security to pay for the war and other pet projects. He was very vocal in his outrage, so much so that I found myself listening more intently. People who yell don't scare me anymore and I believe they are yelling so they can be heard. So rather than fight back, I try to set aside my interior monologue and just listen.
I'm somewhat of a fan of government. I appreciate the protection it provides and I believe that, people being people, there will always be some foolishness involved. So I don't sweat the red tape, the bureaucracy, the inherent unfairness of the fact that the government can over extend itself financially, but I get busted for $39.50 if I overdraft my checking accont by seventy-nine cents. But after Frank's outcries, I'm starting to smart a little bit more from the unfairness.
I'm not sure what Frank hoped to get out of that conversation. Perhaps some catharsis. Perhaps some action. But here's a guy who's self-employed and a host of problems stemming from money (just like most of us have) and he's mad as hell and doesn't want to take it anymore. People are so wrapped up in their own financial maelstorms that they can't or won't look at the source...the butterfly flapping it's wings. And will killing the butterfly fix it? This is where Frank and I disagree. But there must be some middle ground, right?