Tonight I gave in to a craving for Dutch apple pie and a hot mint tea. I amble down to the coffee shop a block away and hop onto a counter seat at the end. There is one empty stool between my neighbor and I. He is black, maybe 40, with a shaved head, a tight goatee and striking amber eyes. He wears jeans and dark blue pullover. He enjoys a burger combo and talks to his male friend next to him. Two televisions mounted on walls across from the counter both broadcast updates from the California wildfires. After an interview with a home owner crying near the smoldering remnants of her house:
Amber eyes: Man, I am so tired of these damn people sobbing on about their burned up houses. If you don't wanna deal with it, don't live in the middle of the damn forest.
Friend: Yeah, I hear you. Still, though, losing everything. Makes me feel sorry.
Amber eyes: Why? They chose to live there. In their million dollar houses in the mountain.
Friend: Yeah, well, it's nice. It's nature.
Amber eyes: You think it's nice that you're paying to build their houses right back up? 'Cause that's what you're doing. All this, the rescue, everything. We're all paying for it with our taxes.
Amber eyes: I am tired of paying for other people's problems. Do not live in a forest. Do not have six kids on welfare. Do not make me pay for your problems.
Friend: Damn, you're amped today.
Amber eyes: Yeah, well, it's a bad week. You know I still have not gotten my Worker's Comp check?