This is Day 318 of 15 Days to Flatten the Curve and Day 78 of Ohio’s 21-day WuFlu Curfew.
Deb and I (who are just fine, by the way) had dinner with friends the other night. I could tell you about it in an ordinary way, or not at all, but for some reason I’m compelled today to “sing in the shower” — with my bathroom window wide open, as it were — and share a bunch of details that you likely couldn’t care less about.
It’s winter, which means it’s “turtleneck weather.” I love turtleneck weather. As I got dressed to go out to dinner I reached for my favorite — and pulling it over my head, it dawned on me that this particular garment is 40 years old.
I remember buying it, too, at Abercrombie & Fitch. Some of you are old enough to recall what A&F was like back then — hardly the legendary purveyor it was in the ’60s and ’70s, certainly not the elite outfitter patronized by Teddy Roosevelt and Ernest Hemingway, but also not some misbegotten boutique selling kiddie porn. In 1981 it was a respectable outdoorsy store where you could pick up cool gear that usually was hell-for-stout. (See also “Banana Republic.”)
I keep wearing that olive-drab A&F turtleneck, 100% cotton and tough as iron, as an homage to those days. It’s an old friend.
Our companions chose Tuesday’s dinner destination, located in a place Deb and I almost never visit — not because it’s “a bad area” (if you know what I mean) but because it’s a painfully upscale retail village conceived, planned and meticulously managed by a well-known billionaire.
My Tacoma’s GPS got us there. After demonstrating that I still have the parallel-parking skills I first learned in 1973, I shut the engine off, turned to Deb and quipped,
“Well, babe, welcome to Jeffrey Epstein’s Sugar Daddy’s Magic Kingdom.”
No, I’m not going to explain that.
And no, Epstein didn’t kill himself.
We got out of the truck and headed toward the restaurant. The sidewalks were deserted, which struck me as odd for this typically bustling shopping-and-dining mecca. Unexpectedly, Deb stopped and said,
“Wait — what are The Rules up here? I’ll bet they want us to wear masks outdoors.”
I laughed, but it was a reasonable question. The Magic Kingdom is known for its social engineering and long list of ersatz laws. Repression and (the illusion of) control are coins of the realm.
Deb smiled and we resumed walking. Not giving the least damn about The Rules is quite liberating.
This restaurant was picked specifically because it flouts the Kingdom’s dictate about concealed carry. We greeted our friends at the bar and walked together to our table. (None of us wore masks indoors, by the way, a choice endorsed by a sign posted at the entrance.) Our friends are like-minded, unapologetically so, true Americans who live the example of Liberty. I’m sure you can guess what the dinner conversation was like.
And you’d be wrong.
Over the course of two hours, the subject of politics didn’t come up once. We didn’t unpack current events or try to solve the day’s pressing problems. We didn’t spend any time affirming to each other what all four of us manifest in our daily lives.
We just gabbed, as friends will do, swapping stories and sharing laughter. It was wonderful.
Oh, and the food was great. Both Deb and I ordered the “Bison Meatloaf Sandwich,” served on ciabatta and topped with pepper jack cheese and grilled onions, with a side of fresh-cut fries. I hate to say this, but I may invent a reason to sneak back to The Magic Kingdom just to have that sandwich again. It was a perfect meal.
Incidentally, “ciabatta” is Italian for “slipper.”
Those of you who’ve followed Ubi Libertas for a while may remember that I was dismissed from my job a few weeks after I started posting here, four months after Deb had been canned unceremoniously from the same shop. I immediately filed for unemployment-insurance compensation, which is funded by employers’ taxes, to help us pay our bills while I chased other opportunities.
It’s a necessary evil and an evil necessity, provided for in statute. I’ve accepted it twice before in my working life. I don’t much like it.
My current claim has been pending for almost 14 weeks, without any explanation as to why. I do understand that the State of Ohio’s unemployment folks are swamped these days, and calling to hound them is an exercise in frustration.
Now I know what the holdup has been. An e-mail message yesterday supplied the answer:
“This agency finds that the claimant was discharged without just cause, per Ohio Revised Code Section 4141.29(D)(2)(a). The facts provided did not support the claimant was discharged by [COMPANY NAME REDACTED] on 10/30/2020 for not being able to perform the required work.”
Translation: Those corporate assholes in Pittsburgh, headquarters of my former employer, had the balls to dispute my claim, saying that I’d been fired for cause. They made their fraudulent argument to The State of Ohio knowing that if it was upheld it’d nullify my claim — and that even if their case was rejected, the review would delay my receiving unemployment compensation for months.
And it did. You can be absolutely sure that I take that personally.
As of today, the matter is resolved. Deb and I, in this unconventional life of ours, have a little breathing room. We move on from here.
The arrogant bastards in Pittsburgh can kiss my ass.
That is all. Carry on.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.