Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 704, January 6, 2013

"It is perhaps a bit late, but individuals
who value civilization are beginning to act."

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I Don't Live in America Anymore
by Janet Oliver

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Special to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

I don't lose sleep, not because of Obama, anyway, but I am slowly going insane. I have made up my mind that I don't live in America anymore. In my mind, I live in a state of bliss that was mine when I was a child on my grandparents' farm in South Carolina. I had the freedom to roam the pastures, to play in the barn, to go fishing at the pond and sit under the shade of the willow tree, to eat my grandmother's biscuits and country ham for breakfast, to sit with my grandfather and peel peaches, shuck corn, or snap beans. I also had a horse. I would sneak out of the house and put a rope from a bale of hay around her neck and ride her out in the fields. I always got in trouble for this (I was only about 6 years old) but the scoldings I received were nothing compared to the sheer joy of being alive and free to explore that world.

I try not to be angry any more. I don't have the energy for it, but if I did, I would be angry every waking minute. I would become like the character Michael Douglas played in that movie where he goes stark raving mad because a fast food restaurant won't serve him breakfast one minute after the cut-off point. As it is, because of my pent up rage at the state of this world, I am quick to anger at the slightest provocation. For instance, the Safeway where I shop (reluctantly) NEVER has enough people at the check out lines and I am forced to check myself out at the "self-service" line, which always malfunctions, and I need the help of the fat lady in customer service who is always doing something else, like walking around some other area of the store, or taking or putting up the latest holiday promotional decorations, and as such is too busy to be summoned or is just plain ignoring me. It reminds me too much of being in France where the unions that run the Monoprix stores mandate that shoppers bag their own groceries, usually with a bag bought from the store, and that the cashiers have to sit down when working. The shopper also has to weigh, and mark the weight and price on fresh produce. The cashier does nothing except sit there and scowl at you while she runs your items -- as slowly as is humanly possible -- through the scanner.

My family has begun to worry about my anger. Why just the other day I was shopping at that aforementioned Safeway with my younger son, when the above described scenario repeated itself for the umpteenth time. When the self-service checkout machine malfunctioned (as I knew it would) I said "EXCUSE ME!" to the fat lady customer service person putting up the Valetine's Day decorations. My son gave me that worried look that said "Please don't cause a scene while I'm standing here" and whispered to me "Don't get mad, Mom." For his sake, I put on my nice face and kindly asked the fat lady customer service person would she please reset the self-service checkout machine? But my fists were shaking.

Now, I know she's not the problem in this country. But what if she is? What if it is people like her, people too lazy and irresponsible to do their jobs; people who want someone else to do their jobs for them; people who voted for someone else to take care of them. At my expense.

So, my solution to the Safeway problem is to not shop at that store unless it's absolutely necessary, say when I cut myself slicing carrots and I'm out of band aids. I can't willingly subject myself to the anger-inducing environment. That's my same solution for the government problem. I will avoid even thinking about it for as long as I can. I will not let them into my head. I will not shop there anymore.

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