Tuesday, June 16, 2009

#%@$@*** yuppies!

Percy Chareinczekski stubbed his boot toe into a cigarette butt on the sidewalk when a UMASS student of Asian descent walked past his front porch while he was talking on his pay-as-you-go cell phone. He made an ugly face once she had trundled past with her backpack full of books. "Fricken' yuppies!" he shouted into the phone, "They make me so mad. This is our neighborhood and its going the way of the DNA Lofts!"

He was standing in front of his front porch on Buttonwood Street when this outburst occurred. His neighbor, Mrs. Fair, got out her chair on her front porch next to Mr. Chareinczekski's and grabbed the phone out of his hand. "You don't know what you're talking about," she said.

"Damned if I don't," he replied, a vein in his forehead pulsing as he stared down his neighbor who was fifty years his senior. "Damned if I don't," he repeated.

The old woman looked the younger man straight in the eye. "I remember when your parents moved in," she said. "Nobody here liked your folk very much. Most people on Buttonwood thought you Slavs should have stayed in the Polish Triangle up the road. That didn't stop your parents. They settled in right here amongst the Irish and while they took their lumps they eventually became part of the neighborhood. These students will do the same thing if they stay. We need people to stay."

"I've stayed," young Mr. Chareinczekski said. "I still live with my parents, where I was born and raised."

"Yeah, so what good do you do anyone?" Mrs. Fair asked. "You lounge on the stoop and insult the newcomers. You're half drunk three quarters of the time you aren't sleeping. You hate any change like a big, crying, baby boy who never grew up. When did you ever work an honest day in your life? The students, at least, are trying to better themselves. What are you doing but antagonizing them? You're still a foreigner though you're part of the Dot. I don't hate you for that, I love you as one of my own, but the students are part of the Dot too. We should make them feel welcome. They're welcome to stay if it suits them, the way it suited your parents. That's why you're here and don't forget it."

Mrs. Fair handed the phone back even though now it was only tied to a dead signal. "We need everyone in the Dot that can be comfortable. Remember that. Don't turn away guests. My house will be empty someday and you, as sure as Hell is hot, won't be able to afford the mortgage with what little you earn being ornery."

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