Ignorance Is Bliss
George stepped out of the rusty car. The faded scent of the three year old air freshener lingered in his hair, and he cautiously attempted to shut the car door without it crumbling into pieces like it did with the other one. Unfortunately, his attempt had failed. The poor thing had torn apart before his eyes.
“Useless piece of crap,” he muttered under his breath.
George didn’t really care, though, because as soon as he saved up enough money, he was leaving the country and buying himself a real nice boat, to sail around the world, and work on his poetry, where he could happily rest in peace.
He enjoyed poetry. He thought it relieved him. After his long days of “hard work”, he would lay back in his torn, leather chair, pick up a pencil that was sitting on top of the sudoku page of the daily news, and sit at his wooden desk that had been held together by duct tape, gorilla glue, and cobwebs. He liked sailing, too. It set his mind at ease. Riding the seas, looking out at the fresh sky and dimmed sunlight of the morning.
George used to have a rottweiler named Roxy. She sure was a looker. He adopted her in his mid-forties, when Baby Got Back by Sir-Mix-A-Lot was popular, which was a long time ago. She had caramel spots all over her charcoal fur. Two weeks after he got her, he hated his time having a dog and decided to give her back to the animal shelter. They didn’t want her, though. Eventually, George had to do the only thing he could do, and that was to toss her into the streets. He couldn’t give her to anybody; he had no friends.
As he left the sight of his wrecked car, George reached for the invisible keys in his pocket.
“Son of a-” he cursed aloud, grunting the most displeasing noises. A mother with her child walked by, stunned by the ignorance of the old, miserable man. “Eh, what do you want? Take your child and-”
“How dare you! It’s Christmas Eve! Shouldn’t you be shopping for your grandchildren?” The mother said.
“Ha! Grandkids? And where would I get those if I don’t have real kids? I found out in 1986, that my daughter- my thirteen year old daughter- wasn’t actually mine. I’d been fooled by that woman, eh, what was her name . . . Sherry, or somethin’ like that? She was cruel. Broke my heart to find out that little girl wasn’t mine. Turns out that she was the daughter to a man with half his head shaved and tattoos covering his left buttock. And in ‘97 I’d been datin’ this girl. Boy, was she feisty. I was never really into ethnic girls, but we had fun. One day we found out she was pregnant, and, well. It wasn’t mine. And so on. Now do you have anything to say? I’m sure that with your perky hair and your clean teeth, you have much, much, much on your schedule. Get out of my face.”
The mother looked horrified, and quickly grasped her child’s hand and ran away. George shook his head. “Now, can I please, for once, have a nice Christmas Eve morning and find my keys?”
He touched the metal of a golden key. George crossed the road to walk to his home. He couldn’t park in his driveway because his neighbor, a young girl in her early twenties, always had friends over at her house. They filled her driveway, so she had to park her car at George’s house. George didn’t mind, though. It was nice to see an attractive lady wearing practically nothing, always washing her car. At least he had something to enjoy in his miserable life.
“Oh!” Lilah, his neighbor, shouted. “I’m sorry for always parking here. I’ll wash your car to make it up to you.
“Oh, well,” he grinned, sheepishly, “well, that’d be just fine with me. You go right on.”
George walked through the musty door. His mailbox had been stuffed with restaurant menus, greeting him a merry Christmas. His house was a complete mess; it had been filled with dusty shelves, torn up newspapers, destroyed furniture, and moldy walls. God knows what was leaking from his ceiling, and the scent of dried lemons filled the air. George tried making lemonade. Three months ago.
George looked behind his back. A trail of flies had been following him around. His poorly shaved beard was filled with crumbs of Cuban bread. He looked at his reflection in a shattered mirror. “How could Sherry leave someone like me? I could give her everything. A warm heart full of love, children. I could work for her. Make a lot of money.” George sighed, and the fact that he was talking to himself in a mirror told him something.
“Um,” Lilah heard his conversation. “Are you okay, sir?”
“What are you-” George stuttered. Before getting hostile, he quickly straightened himself. “You know that you can’t enter someone’s home without knocking on the door? You know that, right? Eh, whatever. What do you care? You’re young. Pretty. Enjoy it while it lasts, because once you hit forty, you’re done for. You hear me? Done. You won’t be pretty. Or young. Nobody wants you after that.”
“I don’t know how you want me to respond to that. I’m gonna go now.” Lilah managed to say without breaking into tears.
“How old are you?”
“Goodbye,” and with that, Lilah was gone. George was a little angry. Nobody cared about him anymore. People thought he was just another cranky old man, angry at the world because he didn’t live his life like he wanted to. He wasn’t angry because of that, though. He wished he was young again.
George walked out of his house, He saw Lilah talking on the phone, and listened. “No, babe, he’s a creep. You don’t understand. He was talking about all this youth crap. It’s really weird. He kept saying that I was pretty and after I turn forty nobody is gonna love me anymore. I think he might do something to me. I don’t know. I like living in my house; I don’t want to move out. What should I do?” There was a long pause. Lilah didn’t notice George. “Can you beat him up for me?”
“You don’t want the truth, that’s what!” He was enraged with fury. Lilah turned her head, astonished.
“Leave me alone! I’m gonna call the cops!” Lilah shouted.
“Call the cops! They’re not going to imprison someone as old as me, anyway.”
He was saddened. People were ignorant, and he wasn’t able to do anything about it. There were too many twenty year olds dancing around in six inch heels at a club across the street from a Burger King, wearing mini skirts as thin as thread, and plastering blue eyeshadow and fake eyelashes onto their eyelids. Their brains were damaged. He desired to be young again, but he didn’t want to be an imbecile.
“Hey, you know, you should be happy to live next to such a wise, intelligent man. You should respect me.” George stated.
“Oh, right. I just remembered to respect the elderly.” Lilah’s sarcasm stabbed George in the back. I just remembered to respect the elderly. He thought about that. Was George elder?
“I am not the elderly! I’m only sixty two! I retired a year ago! You, you’re ignorant, and imbecilic, moronic, and just plain dumb! You know what, I am wiser than you, older than you, and smarter than you! I don’t deserve to be treated like this. I don’t, I really don’t. And the nerve of you, parking in my driveway, mouthing off to someone like me. You are something else, you are.”
He ran back inside his house and packed all of the important things: a couple of pens and some paper. This was it for him. He wasn’t going to deal with everyone’s crap. George was going to take out all the money in his 401k, buy his boat, ride the seas, and live the rest of his life without any worries.