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Rant #153
(published September 25, 2003)
So, I'm Living in Small-town Middle America Again
by Fritz Garner Swanson

My wife and I bought a house in order to get out of the rental game. The only house that we could A) afford and B) not cry for owning because it was so tiny, was thirty miles from the city of Ann Arbor (where we both work) in the little village of Manchester (which we had previously visited only very occasionally.) In the gas station on the corner down the street from our new house there is a Subway that keeps irregular hours.

Irregular hours is euphemistic: that place is never open.

So, I walked down to the Subway in the gas station today. The Subway that is NEVER EVER open. I go in there and order my meatball 12 inch. I say to the guy:

"So, what are the hours at this Subway"

He smiles, "Man, I don't even know. It's like, today, I have to go home at 330 and the lady that takes over isn't coming in so I have to close at 330."

"Why can't she come in?"

"She has this, like, upper respiratory infection."

"So, you are that short staffed?"

"Heh, don't get me started. The manager, she like has this stack of applications. She's had them for weeks. She hasn't called ANYBODY. She's being damn picky, you ask me."

"Is the manager also the owner."

"No way. She's just a hire like me. This place got bought by these two middle easter dudes."


"And yeah, they all drive in beamers and stuff. And this town, Manchester, when they found out we were owned by middle easter dudes, we totally lost two thirds of our business."


"Man, don't get me started. In manchester, when you are not white, they like totally let you know, you know? There was this black lady that applied to be the day manager... and we NEED a day manager... and the regular manager, she never let the lady know about the application. So the black lady applied a second time. Nothing. So she applied a third time. Nothing. Finally, she came in one day, we have a sign on the door that says 'now hiring.' The black lady put up a second sign underneath that. It said, 'Except Black People.'"

"Small towns."

"Shit yeah. Are you, like, from Manchester."



"Parma. Other side of Jackson."


"So, are you from Manchester?"

"No way. East LA. Nothing to do in this damn town but get drunk and make babies."

"East LA? Why are you in Manchester, Michigan."

"The law. That's all I'm saying, man. The law."

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