When I wrote The Budget Activist (which Amazon gives 2.4 stars despite having only 5-star reviews why?) as a directive to make a fuss about injustice I wasn’t really talking about the lack of red meat at the town pool snack bar.
I also didn’t take into account that every single person in 2023 would be rightly unhinged.
At the Memorial Day Weekend town pool opening it was revealed that a local organic, vegan, gluten-free business would be running the snack bar. I knew two things for sure: 1. Everyone was going to have diarrhea in the pool from the probiotic soda (I stole that from my friend Trish who will likely be blogging same tonight and can sue me for plagiarism) and 2. It would be less than a week before an Op-Ed turned up in the local paper about how the town snack bar had gone woke.
It took less than 24 hours to hit Facebook.
Here’s the thing: I agree that this vendor was not the ideal choice for this meat and potatoes town. And as a former “green blogger” who is no longer orthorexic, I would also like to see 50-cent Doritos versus $3 gluten-free pretzel sticks. But in the grand scheme of things, I also could not give a shit.
The pool snack bar is the stuff of lore. Older folks will lament the days when you could get a hot dog for a nickel. There are stories told of “the world’s best fries” and a vendor who was fired for racism (allegedly – don’t sue me for libel these are all suburban rumors). Last year the town went absolutely feral posting Fyre Festival-style images of sandwiches to shame the vendor who picked up her shit and left halfway through the season.
That said, my small-town pool is the deal of the century and I wouldn’t complain if I had to dig my own well to get drinking water (at this rate we may have to). I come from Philly public pools where you aren’t permitted to bring in a chair. This heated pool with nice new chairs and working toilets costs my family of four exactly $2.50 a day in total. I can bring my own snacks!
My point is that if we are going to have a CALL TO TOWN-WIDE ACTIVISM maybe it shouldn’t be over… this?
I don’t know. I, myself, am in no way immune to complaining about nonsense these days. Minor inconveniences trigger me into rage-texting my mayor who regrets giving me his personal cell. I may be a hypocrite but at least I’m honest. I guess we all just want to try to exert some control over literally anything in this hellscape.
My 2 a.m. brain led me to think a lot about late ’90s activism or lack thereof – at least in the suburbs. When I was in high school, I wrote a scandalous poem for the literary magazine that the administration only agreed to publish if they could cross out the word wet. In reality, I think that poem was about going to raves and was mostly Tori Amos-style word salad, so I didn’t care. I only recently learned that the students who put together the literary magazine very much did care and tried to fight this censorship, unsuccessfully.
In that same dead of night, I also vaguely remembered an episode of My So-Called Life with a similar plot that aired around the same time and had to open my eyes to Google it. Wow, that poem was scandalous AF and if Sharon Cherski or I tried to publish that shit as 16-year-olds now our parents would be reported to CPS.
Anyway, these days they are banning Toni Morrison so this all feels very Joni Mitchell “Don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone.”
This juxtaposition of rambling thoughts really isn’t even to say what’s right or wrong anymore. It’s just an observation: we are all stark raving mad.
Last night, my husband and I watched the documentary Hell of a Cruise in which passengers of the first COVID-quarantined cruise ships recall the most traumatic, harrowing experiences where many people died at sea due to corrupt, capitalist negligence. At the end of the documentary they asked all the participants if they would cruise again and they unanimously said YES!
I personally love a cruise but can you imagine wanting to get back on board after that TRAUMA? Truly, I think humans have had a good run and we should all just cash in our chips as a species.
Salty, greasy, cheap, orange chips, of course.