Tuesday, December 3, 2019

The Other Side of Rich

After the dentist, we wandered into the poor side of town that the tRump motorcade never passes through. Although a main drag in Palm Beach, its lanes are narrow and harrowing for an old lady driving a commercial van. No SUV's grace these tiny parking lots. If I didn't have my handicap sticker I couldn't have parked the van. Regular sized trucks and compacts that have seen better days snuggle into the tiny parking spaces designed to get the maximum number of little stores into a strip mall bursting at the seams.
We often walk the other strip malls getting between stores. No one ever makes eye contact, smiles or says a word.
What a difference a few dollars makes! Even if talking on the phone, the people took time to smile at us. I even got a compliment on my necklace from a young man who had been removed from the bar for obviously a few too many. He had joined the line of leaning men awaiting the time they could return to the dark cave where no one cares who you are. It was a rainbow of skin tones, all happily getting along and commiserating. No one cares what you are because you are human, just like them. Cheap food, cheap booze and laundromats are the hallmarks of this area hidden in the industrial section of a wealthy county. A Spanish grocery thrives in an area where not a word of Spanish was heard. Harbor Freight caters to tired men covered in honest grease with a very different kind of stock. On my side of the county, which I occupy not due to money but tenacity, the reviews for Harbor Freight are scathing but in this little slice of heaven, they are glowing for price and quality. Things look different when it takes a few weeks to save up to buy them as opposed to swiping an infinite credit card. People actually use turn signals and let people out onto the road over there. Everyone is tired and no one is going anywhere fast. I know the feeling of going home to the place you can afford littered with other people's cast offs in an imitation of decor knowing dinner will be greasy starch not known for its flavor but its ability to fill the stomach.
I think I like that side of town much more than the one I exist within. People smile. People talk to strangers. People even use turn signals!

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