Friday, September 9, 2011

I thought I wanted to be white trash

Okay, not really, but I did want to own my own trailer or mobile home, ever since I was very young. Silly things like impressing the neighbors and having new cars have never interested me a bit. From my earliest memories, I have always wanted to live in a very simple place and do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. Well, that comes with a price.

In 2007, I finally got the opportunity to purchase my very own mobile home. It was a 1961 beauty, and it was the first one actually in the park, which was created in ’61. I loved it, and I was happy to finally own something, and be a part of a community. I made friends with the neighbors, I did side-jobs for the manager, and I took pride in my home.

We landscaped the whole thing, we painted it in cool colors, and we made sure the inside was always clean. This was my home. I never considered myself white trash, but I didn’t mind the label, if it made someone feel better to think that of me. I drove an old Jeep Cherokee and a used Taurus, and I worked part-time for a parking company in downtown Riverside, CA. Life, as they say, was good.

After about six months, maybe a year, I began to actually look around: I was white trash. Drugs were rampant in the park, as were boozers. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a good night of slamming back the cold ones with the boys. But these were boozers. They woke up with a tall boy, and they drank until they fell down at night. That may be acceptable, and even somewhat cool, when you are twenty-one, but some of these folks were much, much older than that.

One day, our meth-addicted neighbor died, right in his trailer. It was pretty surreal, because folks were coming and getting high with him on the couch. This was a far cry from anything that I was brought up to accept. In fact, it was pretty far out there. Hours and hours after his death, some bloke in a mini-van came and picked him up in the dead of night.

Anyhow, the folks who moved in after him were complete scum. Loud parties, always a beer in their hand, a gajillion watts of bass coming from their piece of shit Honda, etcetera. Then, the neighbors behind us decided it was time to breed Chihuahuas. When your walls are really thin and there are eight yapping puppies at six A.M., the world seems pretty grim.

After that, our nice neighbor to the south moved, and what replaced him was a young couple with a toddler. Erase the picture that just entered your mind; these are not those people. Each of these winners weighed at least four-hundred pounds, and walked around either almost, or totally, naked most of the time. Seriously. We even had nicknames for them, but I’ll spare you my dark sense of humor for the time being.

By that time, we were house-looking. All day, every day. Really, it was that bad. We’d get up at 8 A.M. and be out of the house a half-hour later, and we’d house-hunt for a full eight hours. If we ran out of houses to see, we’d go to the movies, go out to eat, go visit friends. It was becoming expensive, but we simply could not take another second in the park. The new move-ins were wrecking our lives.

We finally did find a house, and I’m typing to you from the office of said house. It’s older, it’s cute and quaint, it has a nice bit of land, and a locking gate. Which we lock. The nights are quiet and my days are filled with writing and working in the garage, which are things I simply couldn’t do in the trailer. I have no landlord, I have no HOA to tell me I can’t paint the fence a certain color, and no yapping mutts or unbelievable amounts of house-shaking bass. There is just peace and comfort.

Now that I’m getting older and wiser, I see that my goal to be white trash was a bit off the intended mark. I don’t want to be white trash, and I’m not white trash. Now I understand completely why my parents drove around for weeks, scoping out the neighborhoods before deciding on a place to live. If you pick the wrong one, things can get topsy-turvy real quick.

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