Sunday, January 07, 2007

Seeing them suffer

My boy Steve said something really profound when I was down in Sarasota visiting him the other week. It was so deep (and yet hilarious) that I can't get it out of my head. We were relaxing on the beach, having a few beers, and talking about covering hurricanes.

Steve is a reporter, and said he enjoys covering hurricanes. I asked him why.

"Because I like to see rich white people struggling with real-life issues," he said. "Oh, so you have no water? Boom. OK. What, oh, you're stressed out and have no electricity? Boom. OK, what else?"

Damn. He has a point. And it got me to thinking about how we handle adverse situations. I have seen, time after time, rich people get upset and bent out of shape over small, seemingly non-important situations. For example, there was a situation here in Houston a few years ago where people in a neighborhood were trying to save a tree. They were serious about it. They didn't want the tree knocked down, which is what the city wanted to do.

They organized. They protested. They chained themselves to it. That's all good. I'm a pseudo-environmentalist. I like trees. More important, I like hell-raising.

But. These fools went so far as to say they were willing to mortgage their homes to save the tree. That's where I stop. No way in hell I would ever do such a drastic step just to save a tree. But these people were perfectly willing to do so.

And did I mention that this was a fairly well-off neighborhood?

I agree with Steve. It's not that I like to see people struggle. It's just that rich people's "struggles" are so far removed from those of us working class folks that it's surreal to see what they get upset about.

But, I suppose that's what happens when you don't have to worry about paying the electric bill. Must be nice.

2 comments:

James Burnett said...

I was at a coffee shop on South Beach recently, and watched a woman on the phone break down and nearly cry - I mean her lip was quivering, eyes getting red and sh!t - 'cause, from what I could tell of her conversation, she couldn't get the color upholstery she wanted in her new Benz.

Matt said...

Normally, the word "white" would set me into a defensive mode but I think you've just said something that 98% of whites would agree with.

Ahhhh, those silly people. Those silly people! That's fucking crazy!