FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

American Graffiti

Had my runner’s high become a hallucination?

Turning quickly, I almost twisted my ankle, but I had to get a better look at the black and white image taped to the inside of the car’s back windshield, the car parked in the lot of my neighborhood restaurant. I ran, in place, staring at what looked like a photocopy. It showed George W. Bush, his arm extended upward, obviously, waving. He seemed to be waving to me. I scrutinized the silly grin and frightened look in his eyes–you know, the body language he wears that fits like uncomfortable underwear.

I’m continually shocked when I see an adoration display of one of the worst presidents in history. But, then, I’m, also, surprised that people aren’t scraping Obama stickers from their bumpers and other locations on their cars.

Interlude: Years ago, I was waiting for a parking space at one of those shopping areas where you line up and watch for someone to leave. I saw a man approach his automobile, get in, and back out. Suddenly, a new, shiny white Cadillac sped around me and zipped into the spot that was MINE. On the front of the car was a huge red bow as in, “For you on your birthday.” Or, “Happy anniversary.” A tall blond, who resembled Barbie, emerged from the driver’s seat. She was dressed in a teensy white tennis skirt and a white shirt.

I pulled forward, rolled down my window, and yelled, “Excuse me, that’s my space.”

“I am in a hurry,” she said with a French accent.

“Yes, most of us are,” I said. She performed one of those head motions—an indication that she felt superior—and, then, went into a shop. Unlike George W., she wore her body language well.

Within a few minutes I had parked. I made my way to the dairy section of a market and bought a dozen eggs. I rushed out and examined my surroundings. Then, I reached into the carton, withdrew two eggs, and smashed them into the handle of the Cadillac’s door. The driver’s side, of course. Then, I grabbed a couple more and slammed the handle again, noting the vibrant yellow, running down a white canvas. Feeling like a criminal, I glanced this way and that, and, then, made a dash for my car. I wanted to hang around and watch French Barbie’s reaction to my egg graffiti. I wanted to see yolk drip from her hand and transfer to her perfect white tennis outfit, but I decided to leave the scene.

When I got home, I called my husband at his office and told him what I’d done. He said, “Honey, you are so mature.”

Okay, back to the photo of Bush. Beneath his image were these words: “He Kept Us Safe.”

I’m no longer a vandal, so I didn’t mark the vehicle with the questions I wanted to etch into the paint: What about 9/11? On WHOSE watch did this occur? How many warnings did Bush ignore that Osama bin Laden was “determined to strike within the United States?”

And this: Did the people of New Orleans feel safe as Katrina assaulted their lives? When Bush flew over to survey the damage? When everything he did and said was a detachment from tragedy?

If I’d acted on impulse, scratching the reasons George Bush made us unsafe into the car’s finish, certainly, I’d have been apprehended, at the scene, while yelling, “No, no, there’s so much more.”

MISSY BEATTIE lives in Baltimore, Maryland. Her email address is missybeat@gmail.com.

More articles by:

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

Weekend Edition
March 22, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Henry Giroux
The Ghost of Fascism in the Post-Truth Era
Gabriel Rockhill
Spectacular Violence as a Weapon of War Against the Yellow Vests
H. Bruce Franklin
Trump vs. McCain: an American Horror Story
Paul Street
A Pox on the Houses of Trump and McCain, Huxleyan Media, and the Myth of “The Vietnam War”
Andrew Levine
Why Not Impeach?
Bruce E. Levine
Right-Wing Psychiatry, Love-Me Liberals and the Anti-Authoritarian Left
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Darn That (American) Dream
Charles Pierson
Rick Perry, the Saudis and a Dangerous Nuclear Deal
Moshe Adler
American Workers Should Want to Transfer Technology to China
David Rosen
Trafficking or Commercial Sex? What Recent Exposés Reveal
Nick Pemberton
The Real Parallels Between Donald Trump and George Orwell
Binoy Kampmark
Reading Manifestos: Restricting Brenton Tarrant’s The Great Replacement
Brian Cloughley
NATO’s Expensive Anniversaries
Ron Jacobs
Donald Cox: Tale of a Panther
Joseph Grosso
New York’s Hudson Yards: The Revanchist City Lives On
REZA FIYOUZAT
Is It Really So Shocking?
Bob Lord
There’s Plenty of Wealth to Go Around, But It Doesn’t
John W. Whitehead
The Growing Epidemic of Cops Shooting Family Dogs
Jeff Cohen
Let’s Not Restore or Mythologize Obama 
Christy Rodgers
Achieving Escape Velocity
Monika Zgustova
The Masculinity of the Future
Jessicah Pierre
The Real College Admissions Scandal
Peter Mayo
US Higher Education Influence Takes a Different Turn
Martha Rosenberg
New Study Confirms That Eggs are a Stroke in a Shell
Ted Rall
The Greatest Projects I Never Mad
George Wuerthner
Saving the Big Wild: Why Aren’t More Conservationists Supporting NREPA?
Norman Solomon
Reinventing Beto: How a GOP Accessory Became a Top Democratic Contender for President
Ralph Nader
Greedy Boeing’s Avoidable Design and Software Time Bombs
Tracey L. Rogers
White Supremacy is a Global Threat
Nyla Ali Khan
Intersectionalities of Gender and Politics in Indian-Administered Kashmir
Karen J. Greenberg
Citizenship in the Age of Trump: Death by a Thousand Cuts
Jill Richardson
Getting It Right on What Stuff Costs
Matthew Stevenson
Pacific Odyssey: Puddle Jumping in New Britain
Matt Johnson
The Rich Are No Smarter Than You
Julian Vigo
College Scams and the Ills of Capitalist-Driven Education
Brian Wakamo
It’s March Madness, Unionize the NCAA!
Beth Porter
Paper Receipts Could be the Next Plastic Straws
Christopher Brauchli
Eric the Heartbroken
Louis Proyect
Rebuilding a Revolutionary Left in the USA
Sarah Piepenburg
Small Businesses Like Mine Need Paid Family and Medical Leave
Robert Koehler
Putting Our Better Angels to Work
Peter A. Coclanis
The Gray Lady is Increasingly Tone-Deaf
David Yearsley
Bach-A-Doodle-Doo
Elliot Sperber
Aunt Anna’s Antenna
March 21, 2019
Daniel Warner
And Now Algeria
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail