“Ms. Peterson, I’m sorry but I can’t talk to you, I’m preparing for an important meeting, therefore I have to let you go “, Barry says back to my assertion that I am “somebody”,
“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 are my family who own and live in my “Chinese drywalled” houses”, I say back to Barry as I pause to catch my breath,
“and 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, nor 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; I am both all business and all heart; I am both liberal and conservative; I am both coward and hero; I am both straight and gay; I am both Christian and atheist; I am both poor and rich; I am both scared and fearless; but most importantly Barry, most importantly to you and to your client and your friend, John Bennett, I am undefined. You see Barry, my equal sign has yet to be defined, even to me, I am what Euclid might refer to as a geometric non-axiom. And I am not litigious”, I say, as I take my deep breath of quicksand air and realize my battle is within and Barry is just going to be my morning audience.
” I am most certainly not defined by someone else’s lab? Are you Barry, are you defined by someone else’s label?”, I say out loud what my soul has said inside since I can remember.
“You see Barry, I am not defined by the contents of my bank accounts, 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 not us verses them?”, I say as I again try to catch my quicksand breath,
“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. So listen, 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 off-gases in the air 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 in order to determine whether I put in the really bad drywall or just the somewhat bad drywall. Because Barry look, The Hegwoods are my friends, they bought the small four squares I remodeled over two years ago and they have a two year old son, and he’s about the most precious little boy you’ve ever seen. And see Barry I can’t go back down there this morning and look those parents in the eyes without knowing where your company’s drywall came from, you see Barry, you see, my call isn’t about money, the money conversation can take place later. I can get with Dr. Bennett about the money conversation later, I see where you guys are in Federal court fighting with 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, and it’s not about the money, it’s about the human lives I’ve touched and befriended and it’s about the trust my folks have in me. 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?”,
I take a gasp of air, knowing I’m not getting anywhere but I can’t seem to stop climbing,
“You see Barry, don’t you see, its not about obscurity right now but rather the ambiguity of your soul. It’s about the faith that 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 is to fight for the unknown, for the intrinsic value of “it will all be ok” as long as we do not 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, nor any insurances that will help us fix these houses I built”, 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 in those factories making the drywall, because look I know “shit happens”, but do you see Barry, do you see what I’m talking to you 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 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.” I say as I walk in my kitchen to grab a cup of coffee and air,
“Ms. Peterson, I know you’re upset, trust me it is all very upsetting but I have only 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 that day”…….