Trailer Parks

I live in a trailer park. I have for over 8 years now. Its been a point of embarrassment and among other things has led me to isolate myself from friends and family. Its mortifying to think about having people over and saying this is where I live.  A very small group of people have been invited in. I’ve gone to great lengths to keep folks away from my home and some have construed this as my being standoffish. The truth is that my pride would not allow me let too many people in. I paid way less for my home than most pay for their cars and it shows but it has provided myself and Ace shelter from the elements and really not much more. We moved here when my wife Dawn was battling cancer and this is where my in-laws lived.  Her mother took a leave from her job to care for her so, given that I was about to lose my house in White Bear Lake, this made the most sense. Cheap and close. She never actually got to move in here as the cancer was in charge. She got to her parents and never left. When I moved in, I was surrounded by nice, normal people that have lived here for many years and took pride in their residences and I was the black sheep that didn’t do anything to improve the appearance of the exterior appearance. No money, no motivation when I did. Why would I?  I had no plans to stay long.  I did the required repairs as they happened. I learned to repair burst water pipes in -30 degree temperatures. A treat I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. You don’t know cold until you play with water in those conditions. Thanks to information provided on the internet I’ve repaired roofs, refrigerators, washers, dryers, hot water heaters, furnaces and air conditioners. I did it because of need and a desire to learn to be self sufficient. I couldn’t afford to call repairmen every time the old appliances broke down. I digress but felt the need to explain my behaviors to my closest friends. I love you all but couldn’t stand the humiliation of you seeing the squalor I lived in.

During the last 3 years, my neighborhood has changed dramatically. The trailer park stereotype has surrounded me and the standards that used to be required for residency have been apparently dismissed. There were background and income checks performed before I could lay down my 10 grand cash for the trailer and the privileged to pay $500 lot rent for my small piece of land. It is never more been more apparent than in the past 2-3 weeks. My days/nights are filled with the sounds of cheap annoying fireworks.  It literally goes around the clock. Beginning as early as 8 am and as late as 4:30 am, the popping of bottle rockets and firecrackers can be heard throughout the park. Normally, the only loud noises are the voices of battling spouses and playing children. Quite the combination knowing some of them are coming from the same address. What I’ve come to understand is that the 4th is redneck Christmas in July. They love the exhilaration of firecrackers and are completely thrilled by bottle rockets. Our countries independence is clearly worthy of a month long celebration. My rub is exasperated by the anxiety attacks that said sounds trigger in my dog. Thunder and fireworks send him into a fit of heavy panting would lead most creatures to pass out from hyperventilation. As an abused rescue dog, I can only imagine the horrors that the noises bring back to him. I was told that he was abandoned at under a year old and left tied up without shelter, food or water for over a week before it was reported to the authorities.  His owners just moved and left him behind. The summer Minnesota storms can be brutal and my imagination is hopefully far worse than his reality but given his reactions, I highly doubt it. That being said, the 4th of July his nightmare. Frequent summer storms and fireworks make June and July his personal hell. He is only calmed by literally crawling into my skin with me and now, Melissa. The TPT (trailer park trash) have taken the 4th to a new level. Enough already. Please make it end.

Another example of the redneck mentality was witnessed while in line of my local convenience store Friday night. The state of Minnesota is virtually shut down due a budget fight. The republicans that run the senate are taking a very “Tea Party” approach with strict spending provisions and significant cuts in social, health and educational programs on the chopping block. Remember that this is the state that was given the nation Tim Pawlenty and Michelle Bachmann. (You’re welcome America) The democratic governor is standing firm on the stance that the cuts are far too deep in this economy. No matter your political stance, a government shut down is never a good thing with all but essential services closed. The lottery is apparently not thought of as critical much to the dismay of the man in front of me. I try to not be judgmental and be swayed by someones appearance but this man had ‘redneck’ tattooed on his forehead. His speech, dress, hygiene, mannerisms and lack of teeth gave him away. Having walked across the street from the trailer park to get his cigarettes and scratch off lottery tickets, he was more than a little dismayed at the reality that he would not be able to get his fix. “What are you talking about? Why can’t I get my tickets?”  The young clerk tried to explain in the most basic of terms that because of the stalemate in St. Paul, the lottery had been shut down along with the zoo and parks. “This is bullshit! What am I suppose to do?” he shouted! “I can’t get a Powerball either?”  “No”, she replied. “You could drive to Wisconsin to get a Powerball though.” “Like I can afford that. This is so fucked up. didn’t I hear about this?” As you can imagine, the topic has been the main headline of every Minnesota media outlet for the past months. It was very hard to miss. I guess he missed the call personally informing him as did I. What surprised me was his next comment. “That governor. I would like to just kick him in the ass!” Really? The governor? The man had the appearance of having utilized many of the social services the governor is striving to save but instinctively blamed him. The uninformed assumption was startling. I was tempted to buy the man a newspaper from the stand directly to his right but just didn’t have the time to read it to him or explain the big words. He clearly had no knowledge of the facts but directly blamed probably the only state official that he could name. Not by name but by the office. The ignorant can go to the polls and vote right next to the people that at least have a clue of the individuals and the issues/stances they represent. A basic knowledge test could be enacted to prevent them from watering down the results. For instance, name the president and just saying he’s a black guy doesn’t count as a correct answer. Something, anything! It does go to show that what is critically important to one person is a non issue to another but really?  He stomped out of the store with his 2 packs of Basic full flavors mumbling to himself.  I watched him cross the street and disappear into the forest of mobile homes. The scary part is that is he is now the news conduit for his family and friends and will influence the opinions of other informed people. It has nothing to do with income or background but the lack of knowledge on the issues that frightens me the most. His assumption to blame an individual based on his limited information is dangerous. Please be informed before forming such a strong opinion. How about being concerned for the 22,000 government and publicly funded employees that get up every morning and go to work that are now displaced and have to try to survive with no income for how ever long this takes to resolve? News reports state that with the large influx of applications and staff reductions, unemployment benefits will be delayed until at least the middle of the month probably closer to the end. Public assistance for people in similar situations is on the chopping block and the services they provide are a large part of the battle. Ironic isn’t it. Maybe some opinions will be shifted when the sheltered are exposed to what many of us have been living with for too long.

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