On the Rail: Slingshot (Barley Brown edition)

It was a genuine surprise to me to get yelled at this evening over money.

I was at a party, having a lively discussion-bordering on argument but I was trying to hear the other person-on the presence of Uber in Portland. My position: The service might be good but they were trying to come into Portland providing a public service, without having to serve the entire public-namely, people with disabilities-and that’s not OK. And if they wanted to avoid that, then they should pay the limo licensing fees. Pretty simple. His position: The service is invaluable and they shouldn’t have to serve people with disabilities.

As the discussion became both more and less clear-why is it OK to ignore a section of the public? Because the city gives them services. Wait; you’re saying that a pubic service can ignore some of the public? Because federal law says that they can’t.

It was around this moment that the conversation went south. In the space of a few seconds, I was being yelled at by someone who doesn’t understand why he, as someone who earns $200K a year, has to pay more taxes than someone who makes more than he does. Or less.

“Why do I have to pay more taxes than someone who makes more than I do? Or you?” he snapped, “What, you earn 70K? 50? 20?”

I honestly did not know what to say. My value was being questioned by how much I made and paid to the government. And, even as I was struck with a ping of admiration for someone who could earn $200K a year I couldn’t help but recoil. I will never see that kind of money. I will always be checking my resources, at least mentally, no matter how comfortable I become, before purchasing something.

I don’t want to live like that. I’d like to not worry. But that’s my shit to haul.

I double blinked, pausing to see the clearest path and then I said, “Look, you’re getting very angry and I don’t understand why. So I think it’s best I just back off.”

And he nodded, sneeered and said “Yes,” making a brush-away motion with his hand. Dismissing me as one might a servant. Not long after, I began my walk home.

I stopped at the Slingshot on my way, to nurse a Barley Browns Handtruck IPA, some of my pride, and a bit of bewilderment.  The beer has a faint orange nose, sweet but not cloying. Gone now. Bitterness filling the mouth, lingering, not enough nuance for me to be happy.

I can’t find it in myself to be really angry at this person: I don’t know what may have set them off. Maybe I came across rudely.

Yet I cannot understand their position either. They make money that I will never see, yet they are unhappy, hostile to those less fortunate. What happened there to make them so hard hearted? Also; fuck being yelled at for no reason.

It makes my body so heavy, this absurd conflict people have.

2/3 through my beer and I feel a long, long way from home.

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4 thoughts on “On the Rail: Slingshot (Barley Brown edition)”

  1. A beer to match the mental/emotional atmosphere. It’s good to remember that people bring their own shit and sometimes what they do, like the monkey in the zoo, is throw it at you. It’s not personal but you still have to pick the shit off. Sorry. Poetic though.

  2. High-earning people lose their lives to the simple pursuit of earning money, which then angers them. To them, Life is just about keeping score. And there is always always always someone who scores higher than you. They’re acutely aware of that.

    Meanwhile, most Portland people are trying to extract as much Joy out of life.

    Who is the winner? Depends on the umpire…

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