Thursday, October 11, 2007

The postman never thinks twice

I have gotten into the habit of chatting briefly with the postman who drops off the mail at my business. He is a tightly-wound fellow, full of facial tics, and his eyes dart about nervously as well, but he is also quite well-informed on the neighborhood gossip, i.e., who’s moving, which landlord is having trouble leasing, and what businesses will be going into the various nearby construction sites.

He is also a conservative-type Republican. My realization of this was gradual. First of all, I noticed that he is derisive of, and somewhat frightened by, the various older black men who live homeless on the streets around here, even though these guys are in my experience not bad guys or criminals, outside of a little trespassing. In fact, if I were mugged or attacked on the street near my office, I know who I would run to for help, and it wouldn’t be the postman. It would be that sweet but batshit crazy guy who lives with his dog near the water spigot on the building across the street. Sure, it’s a little alarming to see him shadow-boxing his own reflection several times a day, because he’s not shadow-boxing in a “got to stay in shape for my life on the street” kind of way, he’s shadow-boxing in a “someday I’ll beat that no-good son-of-a-bitch fucking bastard reflection of mine” kind of way.

Plus, my postman made questionable remarks about his substitute postman. I had said to him one day that his substitute does not come inside to ask if there’s any outgoing mail, like he does. He asked me what the guy looked like, and I told him. “Oh,” he said, “he’s Filipino.” “Okay,” I said. “You know there’s a lot of Filipinos that work for the post office around here,” he said. I replied “Yeah, I’ve heard that Filipino immigrants have a tradition of civil service in Los Angeles.” I only know this because soon after I moved to LA, there was a white supremacist who shot a Filipino-American postman, and there was some discussion at the time as to whether it was truly a hate crime, because he had just come from gunning down several Jewish children at a religious school, and so it was unclear as to whether the perp even knew that the man was of Filipino ancestry, whether it would’ve mattered to him, whether his medium brown skin color was reason enough to shoot him, or whether his ire was more likely to have been motivated by a dented package or a surly window clerk from his past. In any event, it had become evident during the course of the discussion that went on in various forums throughout LA that you can’t swing a roll of bubble wrap in this town without hitting a Filipino postal worker. One of the many lovable quirks of LA, as far as I was concerned.

The postman blinked at me. “Well,” he said, “where I work, there’s only a couple of them. But you know that station over on Main? They’re almost all Filipino over there.”

I didn’t like where this was going. Unable to will my phone to ring, I got up and excused myself, and he left.

Recently, the postman has begun to make remarks on the presidential race. He actually said “Obama, Osama, or Chelsea’s Mama” to me at one point, and I, unwilling to feign indifference any more, countered, “Well, we could do worse. In fact, we have.” That utterance seemed to keep his desire for chat supressed for a couple of weeks, as he was mostly silent on the subject of the campaigns for a while.

Today, though, he came in bursting with news. “You know who my union is supporting for president?”

“Edwards?” I said, because I know Edwards has a lot of union support.

“No, Hillary!” he blurted, clearly agitated.

“Is that bad news?”

“Yeah, I thought it might be Giuliani, or who did you say? Edwards? Maybe him.”

“You know Edwards is a Democrat, right?”

“Oh, yeah, okay.”

“He ran with Kerry in 2004.”

“Oh, right.”

“Somehow, I don’t think your union would endorse a Republican.”

I chuckled a little, waiting for him to acknowledge the obviousness of it. He didn’t.

“Because,” I said, “if it were up to the Republicans, you wouldn’t have a union.”

“Huh,” he mumbled, and handed me my mail. He said nothing else but managed a weak smile and a few eye spasms and a small head jerk sideways on his way out the door.

I wonder how long he’ll chew on that.

I wonder if it will occur to him that what can be done to the TSA employees could be done to him. He could be outsourced, just like them.

I wonder if that will occur to him sometime between now and next Election Day?

Nah. Things like that never occur to guys like him. According to guys like him, he deserves his union protections, and his decent pay and his holidays and his pension, but no one else ever does. Let those other poor fuckers fend for themselves, is no doubt the basis for whatever thoughts do enter his head regarding the struggles of the working poor.

Unlike many Republicans, he probably can’t deny that the poor exist, because he encounters them all day long. But like many Republicans, I'm sure he thinks their problems are all their own fault.


Distributorcap said...

even postmen live in bubbles...

Skylers Dad said...

Don't blame him Vikki, he gets all his info from Rush and Bill O...

Brainwashing is alive and well.

'Bubbles' said...

Hey! What was that bubbles remark??? ;-)

Yes, I wonder about these 'working class' republicans. WTF? I guess ignorance is welcome at all economic levels.

Anonymous said...

I read about the Postal union's endorsement of Hillary the other day in my husband's union newsletter. I could just picture some of his co-workers heads exploding over that one. Every day he has conversations with his co-workers just like the one you described.

Bubs said...

I know lots of cops like that too. Socio-economically they should support Democrats (especially the ones who are unionized--the changes in law as to what constitutes "management" has deprived lots of cops out of union protection and overtime) but they don't. Makes you want to go and re-read "What's The Matter With Kansas" again.

red said...

So many Republicans are nice, if sometimes somewhat simple, people. I've been to 46 states, and those states in the middle have lots of Republicans. During a year of having an unusual job, many of these people took me into their homes, housed me, and fed me. They're so nice you really can't shake them until they come around. You do have to wonder, though, why so many people will vote against their own economic self-interest.

Spooney said...

red said...
"You do have to wonder, though, why so many people will vote against their own economic self-interest."

It's simple: They like their guns & their religion & they are afraid of abortion & homosexuals.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

That post man is like all those so called "Reagan Democrats" who voted agianst their pocket books and wallets for years because they beleived the bull shit thatthe right was spewing.

Johnny Yen said...

The evil genius of the Republicans is that they've convinced working folks to vote against their class interests.

When I was a teacher in Cicero, a blue-collar suburbs of Chicago (I think Downey would be the L.A. equivilent), the custodian who cleaned my room every evening expressed support for Bush, and particularly Rumsfield. His tenuous hold on the middle class was solely because he had a union. In Chicago Public Schools, the custodial services have been "privatized," meaning they pay custodians 8 bucks an hour, rather than the living wage they'd gotten when they were CPS employees and in a union. I was too polite to point out to him that the Republicans he loved so much would bust his union in a heartbeat.

In the end, your postman is to be pitied-- he's a prisoner of his own prejudices.

Grant Miller said...

No fucking shit. I've met this postman in some incarnation 100s of times. Totally Republican and anti-union except for whatever union they happen to belong to.

dguzman said...

According to guys like him, he deserves his union protections, and his decent pay and his holidays and his pension, but no one else ever does.... But like many Republicans, I'm sure he thinks their problems are all their own fault.
I think that's pretty much ALL republicans. It amazes me how can live with their own hypocrisy and stupidity.

Anonymous said...

To follow up on what Spooney said, the very day that school shooting took place this week, my dad received an "urgent call to action" on his answering machine from the NRA seeking donations, donations that will no doubt be funneled to Republicans so that batshit crazy assault gun owners can keep their cop killing bullets.

vikkitikkitavi said...

You're all right, this is a classic case of whattsa matter w/Kansas. I was brought up in a small town in Indiana, for chrissake, and my postman is a NICE version of those guys that vote against their interest. Do y'all remember that event where that poor woman told president Bush that she was working 3 jobs to make ends meet, and Bush said "Isn't that great? That's what I love about America."

The people I grew up with would be among the people who would NOT be smacking their heads at the terrible wrongness of that.

dad said...

Remember, Vikki, everything counts! The bigotted, narrow minded, religious idiots you grew up with has helped you form yourself into a talented champion of the principles stated in the Preamble of the U.S. Consititution.

Your dedication is impressive as is your eloquent writing.

I could go on, but some may think I am overly biased and not objective.

GETkristiLOVE said...

The area where your work has the most handsome homeless people I've ever seen.