It's 9:54 on Wednesday evening and a real radio host would watch the Chicago 10 o'clock news. But I'm not gonna do that. I already did my homework for tomorrow's show. I went to a local grocery store.
That's where I ran into a woman who has been working the register there for a lot of years. We know each other, in a way, because lots of time late in the evening I have to get a half gallon glass bottle of Oberweis milk, or I'll die. It's that bad, this addiction to Oberweis milk. Not to milk in general, just to the ice cold creaminess of Oberweis milk. It helps that it comes in a glass bottle.
"So how's it going?" I ask her. She must be about my age. She looks tired. We could have gone to high school together and been friends in US History.
She doesn't answer. She smirks and harumpphs and pushes my bottle of Oberweis across the scanner.
"Peachy, huh?" I ask.
"I gotta find another line of work. You wouldn't believe the abuse that I see."
"Of your tax dollars. I hope he drains the swamp."
"And what would that mean?"
"Get rid of all of the crooks in Washington. All of 'em."
This checkout gal that I've spoken to over the years runs my Oatnut bread across the scanner and my 18 eggs which are on sale for $1.49, and a bag of oranges. You gotta have citrus in the middle of winter. I don't know why. It's just tradition.
"I can't imagine what they see in the medical field. The abuse of the system."
There's a black couple behind me in line. I'm not sure if the checkout woman, who is white, makes a nod of her head to refer to this black couple, or if I'm just imagining it. Lots of times in my life another white person makes a racist or semi-racist reference to me. I look like I could be a racist white guy. I've got this goatee and a bunch of lines of my face like I either rode a motorcycle or worked construction, or both. And I speak like a Region guy with "deez and doze" for "these and those." If you were going to make a stereotype of what your average racist white guy could look like, it might be me.
So once in a while other white people feel comfortable in feeling me out to see if I am what I look like I could be - a racist white guy. Maybe I'm making more of the gesture of this woman's head than is really there. Maybe this isn't one of the times that a white person is giving me the option to share racist comaraderie. The woman's neck simply had a twitch.
If it's not racism, then what is it that would make this woman this tired and this angry?. That's the part that much of the so-called Democratic elite doesn't want to try to figure out. I just watched "Bill Maher" tonight with Alexis. Per usual, I laughed at Bill's jokes and how he makes conservative Republicans look like clowns. And sometimes they are. Like right now. It's a big clown car following Trump. Eventually the clowns will jump off. But not yet.
I get that part. But there's another part that Bill Maher and the two black guys he had with aren't addressing - there are a ton of white people out there who are just like the woman in the checkout line. They are tired and they are angry.
To me, this tiredness and this anger is as real as disgust toward Trump. Nobody wins right now. We're all to blame. And, I fear, we'll all pay someday for what we have allowed ourselves to become.