That's my new favorite fruity comparison. See, I've always been bugged by "apples and oranges," 'cause they're both pretty good - sweet, and not at all objectionable...unless the apples are too soft.
But I digress. You want a real contrast? Apples and onions. Or upscale neighborhoods and middle class neighborhoods.
So a few days back I attended a block party in a park in my little town. I was strolling with Mrs. B and a buddy of mine around the event, which was meant to bring together people from the city's different neighborhood associations.
My buddy and I live on one side of a major highway in the middle class neighborhood. Technically we live in the same 'hood, but because he and his neighbors live so far north of me and Mrs. B, they sometimes refer to ours as two separate 'hoods.
At the barbecue we bumped into a city commissioner who lives in and represents the upscale neighborhood across the street.
She immediately started in on my buddy about "protesters" allegedly marching and "picketing" in front of a neighbor's house...in the upscale 'hood. The commissioner didn't see these protesters herself. She didn't read a picket sign. She reacted to something she'd heard, tying the "protesters" to my buddy's 'hood.
Let's pause for a moment, for background: The commissioner's neighbor is director of a soup kitchen and social service agency that caters to the homeless and destitute. It is located in my buddy's 'hood. Each day the soup kitchen's "clients" trek through my buddy's 'hood on their way to the kitchen. According to residents who live near the soup kitchen, when the clients leave the kitchen they pour through the 'hood, often stopping along the way to urinate on residents' lawns and defecate in the alleys behind their homes, leave empty food containers on those lawns, ogle residents and their children, rifle through residents' trash, peek through residents' fences, occasionally verbally assault residents who confront them, and so on.
So, knowing the background, how would you have reacted to the news of an alleged pickteter if you were the commissioner?
In a perfect world I like to think in her position I would have expressed sympathy for her neighbor, whose cause - feeding the homeless - is a noble, thankless job. But I hope I'd also see the irony: her neighbor is upset that an individual holding a sign is walking to and fro' in front of her home, while just a few blocks away in the middle class 'hood some of her neighbor's clients are pooping behind people's homes.
But that's not how the commish reacted. Instead, she told my buddy that she has a homeless problem in her 'hood too, and that she had called the police and other city officials to ask them to investigate the horror that was the alleged one-woman protest. She even described the alleged "protester" incident to my buddy as "outrageous," and "appalling," among other things. And she said the "protester" should be ashamed.
When I could bite my tongue no longer I asked her if the person allegedly picketing in front of her neighbor's home bothered her more than her neighbor's clients hassling residents in the nearby middle class 'hood.
I'm still waiting on an answer.
I could call this a matter of a politician trying to compare apples with oranges. But you tell me: is there anything similar about walking on a public sidewalk in front of someone's house, and say taking a squat behind someone's house? I kinda don't think so. I guess you do walk with your feet. And in order to squat behind someone's home you have to balance yourself on your feet. So I suppose there's some similarity. Still, not enough to warrant apples and oranges, 'cause nothing about this story is sweet or tasty.