“Ms. Peterson, I’m sorry but I can’t talk to you, I’m preparing for an important meeting, therefore I need to let you go “, Barry says back to my assertion that I am “somebody” this morning,
“Barry, look, I got it, I know you’re an important guy at an important place during an important time, but here’s the deal, so am I, so are my friends and so is my family living in my “Chinese drywalled” houses”, I say back to Barry as I pause to catch my breath,
“all I want you to understand is this isn’t a competition for me anymore. I know you think we aren’t on the same team, nor the same game, not even the same field, but here’s the funny thing Barry, we are Barry, we are; at least for now we are; you see Barry, I am both male and female; all business and all heart; liberal and conservative; coward and hero; straight and gay; Christian and atheist; poor and rich; scared and fearless; but most importantly Barry, most importantly to you and to your friend, John Bennett, I am undefined. You see Barry, my equal sign has yet to have a number behind it, I am what Euclid might refer to as a geometric non-logical axiom. And Barry heres the deal, I am not litigious”, I say, as I take my deep breath of quicksand air, realizing my battle is within and Barry is going to be my morning audience.
” and I am most certainly not defined be someone else’s formula?” I say out loud, what my soul has been saying since I can remember, “Are you Barry, are you defined by someone else’s formula? You see Barry, I am not defined by the contents of my bank account but rather the contents of my vault. And today, right now, right this very moment, you must decide Barry, you must decide, are you going to be a human being first and a business person second or are you going to continue to kid yourself into believing this conversation is me verses you, you verses me, and us verses them?”, I say as I try to catch my quicksand inhale,
“Because look Barry, I need you to tell my where the Chinese drywall your company sold me came from? Who made it for you guys? See Barry, I’m trying to figure out how and where I’m going from here and you’re trying to figure out how the hell you get off our conversation without being rude. My biggest problem I have right now is I need to know which part of China your drywall came from, because according to the news reports, the CPSC website and the Internet, “how bad” the drywall is and how much “stuff” it emits depends on what region of China your drywall came from, you see Barry, you don’t know me and I don’t know you, but God says, “we should Love our enemies”, and I’m telling you I MUST know where your Chinese drywall came from, so I can determine whether I put in the really bad drywall or just the “somewhat” bad drywall. Because Barry, The Hegwoods, they are my friends, they bought the two thousand square foot four squares I remodeled over two years ago, they have a two year old son and he’s about the most precious little boy you’ve ever seen. You see Barry, I can’t go back down there this morning looking those parents in the eyes without knowing where your company’s drywall came from Barry, my call this morning isn’t about money, the money conversation can take place later, I can see where you guys are in Federal court fighting your insurance company over the “single occurrence” statute of your liabilities insurance policy, but here’s the deal Barry, my call is to “you” this morning, not to the money guy, not to the guy protecting the money guy, my call is about the human lives I’ve touched and befriended, it’s about the trust folks have in me to have their backs. Just like the gospel of Matthew says,
“But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today exists, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, won’t he much more clothe you, ye’ of little faith?”
You see Barry, don’t you see, its not about obscurity now but rather the ambiguity of your soul. It’s about the faith I have in you to understand that I MUST know where in China your drywall came from, because you see Barry, you see; my friends and my family are on the internet right now; seeing what I’ve seen, feeling what I felt and the only solution I can come up with to fight the unknown, is to fight for the intrinsic value of “it will all be ok” and “everything has a solution”, as long as we don’t turn on each other for the sake of security. I can fight for the “maybe its not as bad as it appears” part of my conversation. I can fight for the “lets not panic even though none of us have any money” conversation nor any insurance companies that will help, but Barry I must know all the facts about your Chinese drywall before I can leave this conversation. You see Barry, you can put our minds at ease, I know you guys do a lot of business in China, so I know Dr. Bennett must have visited the plants you bought the stuff from, I know you must have seen the factories and the folks running those factories, because look I know “shit happens”, but do you see what I’m talking about, do you see what’s happening to you, you’re remembering who you are and where you came from, you’re remembering it’s not us verses them, its not me verses you, it’s just us, its just you, me and baby makes three, sittin in a tree, k-i-s-s-I-n-g. I don’t care about the money right now, I only care about my neighbors, my friends, my family and all that goes along with that, I promise you Barry, you’re not talking to a normal business person right now, I promise nothing you say will endanger your clients money right now. You see, its not about the money for me. It’s about the knowledge that I didn’t hurt someone”, I plead my case of souls as I walk in my kitchen sipping my morning coffee mixed with earl gray tea.
“Ms. Peterson, I know you’re upset, trust me, it is all very upsetting but I only have one question and then I must go, if this “thing”, as you like to call it, is not about the money, then what in gods name were you doing on Ebay to begin with?”, Barry says back to my “I am you, you are me” morning rant.
“I don’t know Barry, I guess I was looking for a deal, it’s what we’ve been taught to do in America; isn’t it? But you don’t understand Barry, my friend Bob,” I pause for a second to catch my quicksand breath and to exhale my fear of hopelessness, “my friend Bob committed suicide just two months after moving in my Highland Park bungalow during the summer of 2009…..”