I woke up one morning out of a deep, coma-like sleep. Inexplicably, I felt awash in a sense of newness. Foreignness. Something had changed. Something was different.
I looked at the calendar—Monday, January 21, 2013. Oh yes. Now I remembered. It was the day after the inauguration of President Romney. I had stayed up to watch the most boring array of inaugural celebrations in the history of my long life.
Has-been celebrities were resurrected for the occasion. Pat Boone arrived to sing Love Letters in the Sand. Anita Bryant sang My Little Corner of the World. A film montage of John Wayne and Charlton Heston was presented by Michelle Bachmann. Sean Hannity served as master of ceremonies at the banquet.
Willard “Mitt” Romney had looked extremely presidential when he took the podium for his swearing in. Hatless, his silver-kissed temples gleamed in the cold sunlight. He walked with the familiar swagger he had adopted since that fateful day back in October, 2012, when the U.S. Senate voted in concert with the House of Representatives to eliminate every federal tax on the books, effective January 1, 2013. He had been victorious across the board.
Red state governors had wasted no time following suit and Georgia, my state, was the first to repeal all taxes. Georgia Tea-Partiers were literally dancing in the pot-holed streets and the 2012 holiday season was the best ever for them.
I slowly shook my head as I stumbled into the bathroom to start my day. Monday was garbage day, so I needed to get my herbie-curbie out to the street.
Ooops. Old habits die hard. I had briefly forgotten that the herbie –curbie was already at the curb, buried in the garbage that had gone uncollected by the City of Atlanta for the past three weeks. The mayor had been forced to put the Department of Sanitation on a monthly pickup schedule, due to budget constraints. Rats and copperhead snakes were taking up residence amidst the rubble. Where are those freakin’ coyotes when we need them?
After I walked the dog and ate a light breakfast, I jumped in the car and drove the three blocks to the Senior All-Purpose Center, where I took free cardio dance classes three times a week. A crowd was forming around the entrance to the building when I turned into the parking lot. They were reading a posted notice: This facility has been closed by the Fulton County Commission due to an abrupt reduction of funding. It will remain idle until further notice.
Damn, I thought, I was really enjoying this center – meeting people and staying in shape. I sure can’t afford to join a real gym… What’s going to happen to those seniors in the daycare wing? Some of the people in my exercise class probably won’t eat very well without these $2 hot meals they served here.
Frustrated and defeated, I did the unthinkable and stopped at the Highland Bakery for one of their to-die-for scones. The familiar clerks behind the counter noticed my unusual cloudy mood, but said nothing. The surprise came when the price I was used to paying (or overpaying!) had been reduced nearly 50 cents. No more sales tax. Well, that was a ray of sunshine.
As I rounded the corner onto my street, visions of my heated scone dancing in my addled head, I noticed three youthful men running from my neighbor’s house, each carrying a piece of expensive electronic equipment. I grabbed my cell phone and dialed 911. The phone rang and rang. Thinking I had made a dialing error, I tried it again. Still no answer.
Hmmmm…I wonder if those layoffs the mayor announced last month included 911…what if there was a fire?!? I’d better go ahead and replace that busted garden hose outside my townhouse.
Out of the corner of my eye I spotted one of my ‘grandneighbors’ (that’s what I call the youngsters in the ‘hood I help look after from time to time) It was now about 10:30 a.m.
“Hi, Jordan. Why aren’t you in school? Surely the holiday is over this late in January.”
Jordan smiled that blinding white smile of his.
“Haven’t you heard? The public schools have had to cut classes down to two days a week. I only have to go on Tuesdays and Thursdays.”
Well, I sighed as I thought, I guess they’ve taken their country back.
So, bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my chevy to the levee
But the levee was dry
And them good old boys were drinkin' whiskey and rye
Singin' this'll be the day that I die
This'll be the day that I die