Today I hauled an incredible amount of Mr. Scummy's trash into a pile, from the backyard of the Santa Cruz house. Wood, boxes, cans, rags, car and motorcycle parts. Mr. Scummy is a real friend of the industry if you know what I mean. Stacked on the crossbeams of the back fence were two canisters of battery acid, and a glass jar with a screw-top lid whose dark contents swirled with greasy menace.
Walked around Santa Cruz, downtown, for the first time in a while. The same oddball mixture of grimy young people, sniping passerby with requests for change, and fussy rich adults, scurrying disdainfully from one posh storefront to the next.
Sometimes, I think the only reason these two groups exist is because they create each other. The poor can't afford a house or even an apartment, so they hang out downtown. When the rich emerge from their castles to go shopping, they tighten into little myopic groups like cliques on a schoolyard, or fix their eyes on the pavement, closing themselves off, to avoid embarrassing confrontations with people who want their money.
I can feel it happening, myself:
Whenever I look someone in the eye, and they're poorly dressed, they ask me for spare change. It makes me want to avoid looking at them.
Whenever I look someone in the eye, and they're well dressed, they don't meet my gaze, but walk past as if they have far too much on their mind to notice any people nearby. I find it irritating.
Whenever I pass someone wearing ordinary clothing, we both say hello.
'Tis a funny thing. I've noticed it before, and it amuses me still. Get some people a certain amount of money, and they'll start altering - undercutting - closing off - the way they act in public. For the sake of protecting their money. Hee hee hee! They don't even notice they're doing it!
On the other hand, perhaps they just don't give a crap.