The Bougie Chronicles - Episode 2
The Redneck's Revenge
Cali Kerry left her friend Merry Mary at the coffee house. Kerry had enjoyed their Zoomba class immensely, but the coffee was another story. She had clearly told the barista that she wanted a a double-shot latte made with soy milk, no foam, and a just a whisper of cinnamon sprinkled on top. But the barista, Sammy Starbuck, obviously had not listened to her. When she tasted the coffee it was evident that it had been made with a hint of cinnamon - not the whisper she had requested. She would have sent it back immediately, but Merry Mary was flirting with Sammy Starbuck and Kerry didn’t want to make a scene. Instead, she downed the foul beverage before she hopped into her 2019 Tesla Model 3 and headed home.
The day was already scorching under the Texas sun. It had been rather hot even when she first woke this morning and, at least according to the weather reports, it was only going to get hotter. To make matters worse, the air conditioning at her house had gone out last night. When she called for service, the repairman told her that he would not be able to get to her house until later that afternoon. By that time, Cali Kerry knew the the house would be an oven. She was quite angry with the repairman and let him know in no uncertain terms that his timeline was unacceptable, but he would not budge and said only he would get there as soon as he could. Kerry left for her Zoomba class still fuming at the dumb hick.
These were the days when she missed her old life. The one she had back in the San Francisco Bay Area before her husband, Jim, accepted the job in the tech industry here in Austin. That transfer had almost broken her heart. It was never 100 degrees in San Francisco and the City by the Bay was so much more enlightened than this landlocked flyover state, but the trade off, she guessed, was well worth it. With his income and and no state income tax, they were definitely doing better financially. And the proceeds from the sale of their 1,400 square-foot condo in San Francisco ($1.4 million dollars!) had financed the build of their 4,500 square-foot home with a pool in one of the new subdivisions toward Spicewood off of Highway 71. They even had left-over money to invest despite the cost overruns of the new build.
As she drove Ranch Road 620 and then onto Highway 71, she marveled at how much the area had changed in only the last two years. The once pristine landscape that she had enjoyed on her first visit was now marred by new and larger monstrosities that dotted the hills. She saw that a new HEB was being built and shook her head.
“Why can’t we have a Trader Joes?” she wondered. "That would be wonderful out here." Then, with seeming cognitive dissonance, she thought, “This unchecked growth has got to stop. All of this new development is ruining the character of the area.”
The irony of the fact that her desire for a Trader Joes (not to mention the new-build of her own 4,500 square foot “monstrosity”) contributed to the “unchecked growth” she now so adamantly opposed never even dawned on her. Besides, in her mind, that was different and now that Cali Kerry was part of this community, it was important to stop the continued growth. So, she had become quite active in the local political scene opposing each and every new development that was proposed if it did not contain the right type of business. In other words, the type of business that she wanted to see. When people pointed out that her desire for a new restaurant, for example, was part of the problem, she only replied, "That's different. We need more restaurants."
She passed the new 55 MPH speed limit sign and smiled inwardly. She had been instrumental in getting that speed limit lowered from its former 60 MPH. When Bougie Becky had argued against it, Cali Kerry was stunned. After all, Becky’s sister had died in a head-on collision on this very road! Given that set of circumstances, Kerry would never understand Becky’s opposition. Of course, Becky had argued that a head-on collision at 55 MPH or at 60 MPH would no make difference to the lives at stake. Becky said that it was not the speed limit that was the problem, but rather the driver who, in a hurry, chose to cross the double-yellow line to beat the light at the upcoming left turn. Accidents like that would happen regardless of the speed limit - if people did not obey the rules of the road. But to Kerry's mind, Becky simply did not understand that the higher the speed, the more dangerous the situation and it was, after all, the government’s responsibility to minimize the risks that people took - even if those risks were their results their own choices. Society had to protect people from their own stupidity. Kerry thought, "Isn’t that the whole purpose of government - to protect us from ourselves?" But Becky was one of “those people” - you know the ones; the deplorables. She was not as enlightened about these things as Cali Kerry was.
Kerry saw the man in the white Ford F250 come up behind her in the left lane. She glanced down at her speedometer and noted that she was driving 56 MPH. The redneck in the truck behind her must have been driving at least 60 to come up on her so fast and, even as she saw the “left lane for passing only” sign as she drove down the highway, she refused to move over and let the him pass her. She was within the acceptable limits of the posted speed and if this hillbilly behind her didn’t want to obey the law, she wasn’t going to make it any easier for him. Besides, why did he need to drive that F250? Didn’t he realize that gas guzzler was ruining the environment? Oh, no, she wasn’t going to move over. If he wanted to pass her, he would just have to go around her on the right. When he did so, she flipped him the bird, but didn’t think he noticed her as he passed, then moved far away and ahead of her until she lost sight of him in the traffic.
It was another ten minutes or so before she came to the turn for her own subdivision and she sat reading the text on her phone which had just announced the arrival of the repairman. As she waited for the light to change, she texted him back that she was five minutes away and would be there shortly. At that moment, the jerk in the car behind her honked his horn and she glanced up to see that the light was green. She sped through the light; the last car to go through even as it changed to red just before she turned. She took mild satisfaction knowing that the jerk behind her now would have to wait for the light to cycle through its next rotation.
After another five minute drive through her neighborhood, she finally came to her driveway and saw the white Ford F250 parked on the street. The redneck she had previously flipped off waited outside of the truck for her arrival.
When she parked and got out of her Tesla, he smiled.