I’m too nice. I believe in the basic goodness of man. What a good Christian man does is confess his sin and repent. Neesha . . . not so much. Neesha love is poison. She is evil. I tried visiting her at Chippenham Hospital’s Tucker Pavilion. It didn’t go well.
I’ll get to that in a minute. A couple bits of housekeeping before I do. First, I’ve been told by a friend that this is annoying: I describe a character and then abandon them. Eugene Lefkowitz and others appeared in this space only to collect dust in a remote corner of my imagination. Instead, I try to speak to the outrage headline of the day.
I’ve avoided turning this space into a serialized? novel? for a couple of years. Fiction is my biggest fear. Just making shit up defies my social worker and electrical engineering upbringing. Truth should be evidence-based. Facts are those that can be tasted and seen. Not.
I rebel against my upbringing in this space. Truth is a five-letter word that wriggles out of the box the sciency folk tries to stuff it in. It’s much more than what can be tasted and seen. World of Webb is my fight against the crowd that insists their Maoist pseudo-religion of “science” is fact and the rest is blasphemy. It is also my truth rebellion against my social worker mother and engineer father.
I’m losing this fight. Maoists have been waging a cultural revolution in this country since Woodrow Wilson and maybe earlier. They are winning–for now. I’m also losing the fight against the purpose of this space by trying to write prose about today’s latest outrage. It’s time to stop fighting.
What then? Silence? I am incapable of silence. Instead, fiction. I’ll tell you something shocking. Fiction writers have been telling truth since like, forever. It’s just not the simple “taste and see” truth that is currently fashy. Something else. Our dear leaders and propagandists insist that their truth is fact yet their fact turns out to be fiction upon further review. Knowing this–I choose fiction.
Neesha is Truth
Almost there. Almost to “Neesha Love”. My purpose in visiting Neesha was foolish. I was looking for affirmation in all the wrong places. A passenger complained about a ride I gave them. I am accused of raping them. Crazy? Yes. Doesn’t matter. Our modern world listens to the accusation and equates such with guilt. The accused has no recourse. Accused = guilty. With that, I am a baby-raping queer.
Am I? Nobody cares. The accusation stands like an electric neon brand glued to my forehead. No matter what I say in protest, no matter how loudly I shout my innocence, nobody cares. I am a baby-raping queer. Neesha has spoken.
This is what I walked into the Tucker Pavillion with as I sought to visit with Neesha. I should have stayed home. I’d done everything you need to visit a patient at Tucker’s locked ward. You have to call ahead, make an appointment, then on the day and time, get checked in. This includes capturing your ID information, getting searched for contraband, and taking your temperature. With that all good, you get your visitor badge and a Deputy escorts you to the visiting room.
On with it. The judge (racist bitch) remanded Neesha into Max holding so f2f visits were out. Analog phones were the way. After I was seated, Neesha appeared on the other side of the visiting window, “Hey Neesha, how are you?”
“FUCK YOU ASSHOLE!!” Whoa. A Deputy arrived behind Neesha and spoke to her, “Ok. Sorry. What’s up?”
“Inger asked about you.”
“She’s in here. They picked her up.”
“I hadn’t heard from her in a minute. I guess that explains why.”
“No shit. What do you want?”
“Just to talk.”
“About what? You are a white privileged racist asshole. I have nothing to say to you.”
“I got accused of rape.”
“Accused? You did it.”
“Hear me out.”
“Why? She accused you. Case closed.”
“The courts have charged you with assault on a police officer. Are you guilty?”
“That’s different. Cops are racist assholes. They deserve it. I was delivering justice.”
“So accusation = guilt deserving of punishment?”
“Yeah. Especially for bougie white men like you.”
The deputy appeared behind Neesha and motioned for me to hang up the phone. Another deputy on my side called to me, “Mr. Webb, your visit is over. Please exit the room.”
You are White so . . .
So here we are. I am accused of rape by a passenger. Uber’s adjudication method does not allow me to hear details of the accusation. I don’t know which ride it was nor which passenger is making the accusation. I have no counter to the claim. Uber has deactivated my account. I can’t even order a ride from them.
Here are my dogs in this fight: I bet my life on Uber. My sole source of income was Uber. Next, I let my Lyft driver account lapse. To get it back I need a clear background check. The request for the background check was initiated on 6/10/2021. Checkr says they’ll have it done next Tuesday the 22nd. Too late for me. More: I am renting from Hertz based on my deactivated Uber account. I should return the car and pay off my balance. I don’t have the money I owe Hertz.
Let’s review: I owe bills. I can’t pay for the rented car I need to work. Lyft can’t rent to me until my background check clears. And I went to Neesha looking for comfort. Awesome. Is this the end? Seems like it.
This is the End
Or not. A feature of “How I Built This” is the turning point for entrepreneurs. They start, show early success then things get bad, really bad. It isn’t the end for them. After talking with kin and friends they choose to stick it out–and win.
I need to remember a bitter lesson from my Mom. She was a good woman with a flaw. She was a terrible person to confess to. I’d pour my heart out to her and in reply, she’d start to work up a case management plan. She wanted scheduled deliverables. I wanted my Mom.
Two of my mistakes are believing I can find my Mom in the women I meet and not considering that some people are unsafe. Witness what happened with Neesha. I went there thinking I could confess to her and get comfort. Bad idea. My bad.
Not the End
Tim, my son, was upset that I keep choosing the hard way to a goal. The simple way, my Dad’s way, is a white-collar, upper-middle-class job. I’ve never been able to wear a white-collar suit for very long. I don’t fit. There is a place where I do fit. It’s the hard road less traveled by.
So I’m at my best when things are at their worst. In my other trade, Enterprise Technology Infrastructure, I’m the guy you want when all the king’s men are telling his Highness that the castle’s ETI is fucked and there is no solution. This started in grade school with Eric and Russell. Both these guys fought a maneuvering war with me. They wanted to beat me up. I wanted to get home without getting beat up. The guys failed. I won.
I won by outmaneuvering my bullies. Twice a day my battle was to get to school and home without encountering my bullies. I did that until Russell’s friends cornered me at lunchtime and said that if I beat Russell in a fight they’d stop bullying me.
I blackened his eye. He bloodied my lip. Seeing his blackened eye I kept attacking the injured eye. Russell’s friends pulled him out of the fight to prevent further injury and declared him the victor since I had the bloody lip. Russell told his friends to leave me alone. Why? I told him if we fought again I’d hurt him worse.
Since then I’ve had countless situations where I get into trouble, it looks really bad for me, and then I come through mostly ok. This one, where I don’t have an income after Uber deactivated my account, is pretty scary. I have fifty years of experience with trouble that comes out ok. I’ll be fine.
For Neesha, I need to leave her be. She has a place in Inger’s Finger. That’s healthy. What isn’t healthy is my sixty-one-year-old self looking to a woman young enough to be my granddaughter for comfort and affirmation. It’s upside down.
For my Mom: I feel like this is that moment for an entrepreneur; the one where the counter-intuitive choice is to keep going. Yes, I have a bit of a plan. But not one laid out in beautifully engineered detail. I’m still a “fire, reaDY!, AIM! shit.” guy. I may not be a driver much longer. This doesn’t stop me from building BHC/@transitwebb into a positive force for change with transportation in RVA. Cliche but true, “the best thing about rock-bottom is that the only direction is up.” Stick around, it’s gonna get good.