one morning by jamie heckert, 2006

One morning, not that long ago, I answered the door in my dressing gown
to the sight of a man from the energy company. He came to ask me why I had
chosen to switch suppliers. As I explained that I preferred one with a better
environmental policy, I slowly realised that not only did this guy have gorgeous
eyes, he was watching me closely. I went on to say, performing a bit for this
beautiful man, “Of course all corporations and really capitalism in general is bad
for the environment”. He agreed, his eyes glowing with excitement. But, what
could he do? He had a mortgage to pay. I’m not quite sure why, maybe I was
scared of the intensity of my attraction, but suddenly I found myself channeling
some broken record of anarchist propaganda and said, “We need resistance on
the inside, too.” That was it. His beautiful eyes looked away and the connection
was lost.
I feel grief remembering that morning; I would have liked to have listened
with empathy to both his desire for change and for security, to maintained that
beautiful sense of connection. Instead, I tried to recruit him. When I replay the
incident in my mind, it has a different ending. I ask him, “What would you like
to do?”

One thought on “one morning by jamie heckert, 2006

  1. i had thoughts so similar about an autoelectrician who was fixing my old mazda a couple of years ago… his business was out in montague gardens, so i’d drive out there from the centre of cape town to drop off my car, and he would drive me the 20 minutes or so back to town. on the way, with my input, he would make a diagnosis of my car’s ailments, and we would chat about the world, always stuck in congested, bottlenecked queues of lorries crawling past the new BRT bus lanes under construction, half-finished indefinitely, when they were supposed to have been in place for the 2012 fifa world cup…
    anyway, this guy had really interesting thoughts on society and politics – he was undereducated, but you could tell he really LOOKED at the world, really thought hard about the things he saw… he was not a bigot; he made no kneejerk assumptions. although he expressed frustration about the entropy of the world he saw, he never made the almost inevitable racist connections that working class whites generally do. i found it immensely attractive… along with his calloused, greasy, capable (of-fixing-tiny-parts-or-jacking-up-the-whole-car) hands, and the smile wrinkles around his eyes. so… one day i spoke back… and probably used too much theory. i think i made him feel inadequate… when all i wanted to do was build on an idea he had outlined that i found really interesting… after that, we never had another of those conversations. he ended up not being able to fix what was wrong with my car, either. i still feel a twinge of “what if i had responded differently?” when i think about it now.

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