Category: Satire

WEDNESDAY: The Snowflakes Look Like People At Last

BY ANDREW LAFLECHE

Copyright is held by the author.

IT WAS to be the greatest story ever written. It’s how any noble venture begins. He wrote:

The rain struck the windshield as violently as a storm assaults a man’s day, yet he persevered; a restrained smile accented the corners of his mouth as he listened to the normalizing cadence of the thump in the trunk.

Her breath brushed the hairs on his neck and removed his fingers from the keys.

“White male privilege,” she said.

“What?”

“You’re writing from a man’s perspective. The narrative is unoriginal.”

There was a time when interruptions would have sent him into a rage. This was not the time. Not with simple domestics destroying otherwise profitable lives.

“Explain,” he said.

“A man’s day. He. His. You’re isolating women. You’re isolating trans. You’re perpetuating the white supremacist capitalistic patriarchy, which permeates our very existence.”

“It’s a story.”

“It’s misogynistic.”

He hung his head. Strike the desk? Strike his head? Strike her? No. He could only agree.

“What do you suggest?” he asked.

“The rain struck the windshield as violently as a storm assaults a person’s day; yet perseverance was necessary. A restrained smile accented the corners of mouth as the normalizing cadence of the thump in the trunk continued.”

“Who’s the driver then?”

“It’s open,” she said. The person could be anybody, so the person becomes everybody.”

“So you can’t relate to a male character in a fictional narrative.”

“It’s not about me,” she said. “It’s about giving voice to the marginalized.”

“It’s not a story about the marginalized.”

“Every time you repeat the white supremacist capitalistic patriarchy agenda you’re furthering the narrative.”

“So ‘the rain struck the windshield as violently as a storm assaults a person’s day; yet perseverance was necessary. A restrained smile accented the corners of mouth as the normalizing cadence of the thump in the trunk continued,’ is inclusive?”

“No. It’s still full of flaws.”

He wanted a drink, but the day was only half passed and she would call him her father if he poured one before dinner.

“Explain.”

“Don’t infantilize me,” she said.

“Infantilize?”

“It’s when a man behaves condescendingly to a woman or anyone else he thinks less-than-of.”

“I don’t think less-than of you,” he said. “I’ve never had to consider all these details when putting a sentence to page before.”

“That’s because the narrative promotes your white privilege,” she said. “It’s always your little boys’ club.”

“Give me your feedback.”

“Why do you always have to use trigger words? Struck? Violently? Assault? Do you really have to force women to relive the trauma of their abusive relationships?”

“One in three men is in an abusive relationship also,” he said.

“But it’s not one in four. You’re a misogynist.”

“How should I write it then?”

“The rain fell on the windshield as rain will in a storm; yet the driver drove on. A restrained smile accented the corners of mouth as the normalizing cadence of the thump in the trunk continued.”

“It’s lifeless.”

“It says the same thing as it did before, only now it’s not marginalizing the underrepresented.”

“You’re white middle-class.”

“That has nothing to do with it,” she said. “I’m not in the skin I am because I chose it.”

“That’s my point.”

“So it’s OK to be a misogynist and a white supremacist and a capitalist and a bigot because you were born into it?”

“If you think I’m all those things then why are you with me?”

“You just need to be educated.”

“So educate me. Is the sentence good now? Can I move on?”

“Are you kidding? Windshield? Storm? Driver? Who’s in the trunk?”

“Are you kidding?”

“The wind is natural. Why do you want to shield it?”

“You’re being facetious now.”

“Don’t call me a fascist,” she said. “You’re the fascist for not making the driver a person of colour or of indigenous status.”

“What?”

“There are other voices besides your boys club of white supremacist capitalistic male patriarchs.”

“When have I ever aligned with white supremacists?”

“Don’t microaggress me. You’re a straight white male. It’s ingrained.”

“Says you?”

“Says the entire system.”

“I can’t do this.”

“So you don’t want my input?”

“No.”

“So you’re an anti-feminist then? You want it to be the day where rule-of-thumb was law?”

His jaw dropped; he had to physically lift it from the floor.

“You know that’s not true.”

“I don’t know,” she said. “It sounds like you hate women and like you’re a little rapey.”

“Rapey?”

“Who’s in the trunk?”

“What?”

“The rain fell on the windshield as rain will in a storm; yet the driver drove on. A restrained smile accented the corners of mouth as the normalizing cadence of the thump in the trunk continued.”

“The lover,” he said.

“That’s why you’re a misogynist. The driver was a man and his girlfriend is in the trunk. What about gay people, or bisexual people or transgender people or gender fluid people?”

“Gender fluid?”

“Yeah, what about them?”

“I’m not writing about them.”

“But if they pick up your book and read it they’ll feel marginalized and then you’ll be perpetuating the white supre–“

“I can’t be expected to write to everybody.”

“You should try.”

“Why?”

“Because the underrepresented need a voice and because you’re so privileged you should give up some of your stature.”

“Stature? I work just as hard as the next person.”

“But it’s easier for you to get a job.”

“Easier? Every application I send to a human resources department specifically solicits anyone who identifies as an African-American, a woman, indigenous or immigrant, sexual preference, low-income, Islamic or disabled. It’s becoming impossible to be a straight white male in this modern day.”

“I’m going to pretend you didn’t just say that.”

“This is insane,” he said.

“The rain fell as rain falls, and the driver drove on. A normalizing thump beat from the trunk.”

“Isn’t ‘beat’ abusive?” he said.

“This is one big joke to you isn’t it?” she said. “Domestic violence is not a laughing matter.”

“I know,” he said. “My divorce was the result of my wife’s violence.”

“There you go again,” she said. “Making it all about you. My divorce. My wife  — as if she’s a piece of property. My wife’s violence. Don’t minimize a woman’s experience of domestic abuse in a relationship.”

He held his head in his hands.

“The rain fell. The driver drove,” she said.

“So nothing happens. Is it safe to start from here?”

“What about people who have been in floods and are triggered by rain?” she said. “You can’t write something knowing there are people who may suffer because of your words.”

“So the sun shines, then.”

“No, because there are also people who have suffered from drought.”

“The driver drove.”

“But what if the person has never driven? Or is reading this in a plane? Or living on a boat? Or can’t afford any of these luxuries and is walking? Or is disabled and can’t even walk? What then?”

“You can’t be serious,” he said.

“You’re patronizing me.”

“What do I write then?”

“The person.”

“The person, what?”

“Just the person,” she said. “In fact, you shouldn’t write at all. The market is over saturated with straight white males and we need to create room for a different narrative that doesn’t come from the white supremacist male capitalist patriarchy.”

“I hate that phrase.”

“That’s because it threatens your identity.”

“I’m not a white supremacist or a part of the capitalist patriarchy.”

“You think that because it’s all you’ve ever known.”

“Enlighten me to the other way.”

“Men are violent and women are oppressed.”

“You know I’m a man, right?”

“It wouldn’t hurt you to be a little more effeminate.”

“The person, then,” he said.

“But what if the individual doesn’t identify as a person?”

“What else would they identify as?” the man asked.

“It’s not a choice to identify as something. It’s a fact of life.”

“So the person could be a rock?”

“Stop saying ‘the person.’”

“The.”

“The, what?” she asked.

“From the entire introduction, ‘the’ is all that remains.”

“Maybe. But ‘the’ implies something that isn’t ‘the.’”

“Then write my first sentence for me.”

“Don’t tell me what to do.”

“I’m seriously just trying to learn.”

“OK,” she said. “If I was going to rewrite your sentence and remove all the bigotry and misogyny and violence and segregation, I would write: –”

The blinking cursor laughed.

He closed the lid of the laptop and retreated to the kitchen.

The man poured himself a glass of orange juice and sat down at the table.

A restrained smile accented the corners of his mouth as he listened to the normalizing cadence of reason encourage him to raise a shotgun to his chin.