Voting Myself off the Island
Alice Marie

I really need to get off this island (that, being Long Island). I can’t say that this morning’s attempt to get caffeinated cemented my decision to move to the city in the Fall, but I’m now fairly certain that my mental health is too precariously balanced to survive another year in the white-flight strip mall, I mean suburb, that stretches almost unbroken from the edge of Queens to the Hamptons.

This morning, I was at 7-11 getting coffee (going prolo in order to avoid the hateful stares of diamond-studded, silicone soccer moms and twelve-year-old Posh Spice look-alikes at Starbucks) when, in the parking lot, there was a near collision of a Cadillac SUV and a BMW (both white...I mean the cars…the drivers, of course, were white…don’t let the sun go down on your ass…). As you might expect, there followed a vicious verbal altercation between two squat, ham-fisted guys who might easily have been related to Joe Pesci. I had been trying to ignore their exchange as much as possible in a desperate attempt to keep my jangled nerves from getting inflamed, when Human Specimen Exhibit A hoisted himself out of his BMW and started trundling after Exhibits B and C (a bullish looking dad and his seven-ish year old son in karate-lesson gear), who were getting ready to climb back into their Caddy. The usual feather-puffing followed, and just when I found myself unable to stave off the creeping horror of Long Island on a Saturday morning, I caught myself smiling weirdly at the conclusion of this otherwise typical parking lot exchange.

As a florid Exhibit A spluttered to the end of his tirade and started towards the 7-11 entrance (leaving his BMW parked at an angle across two spaces), he shook his fist at the drill-sergeant styled dad and screamed, "You're the mother fucking reason God created guns." At this point, father and son stood silently and, I thought for a moment, stunned. Then, they both looked at each other, and in what I hope was a rare moment of intimacy in their seemingly stunted psychic lives, started laughing uncontrollably, screaming "fucker," and spitting repeatedly on the hood of Exhibit A’s BMW.

Just then, I took advantage of a break in the traffic moving steadily through the parking lot to get away from 7-11, carrying a relatively pleasant and sustaining image to get me through the day at work.