Not too far from the trailer park where Jose and Angela Gonzales used to live is a small acreage near Papio creek. That’s where Unity Wilson resides. Unity lives on the fringe of Hubbard, both literally and figuratively. Forty-something and five foot eleven with straggly long dishwater blond hair; her parents were students at the University of California Berkeley in the 60’s. Unity is the product of free love and cheap drugs, which probably explains her first name.
Unity holds a master’s degree in psychology from San Diego State University and sometimes teaches adjunct classes at Hubbard State University. A couple of times she had to go on welfare and drop her Wisconsin Public Radio membership when she couldn’t get a job teaching or lecturing about the merit of herbal medicines. However, Unity has never abused the welfare system and has always lived frugally. Unity attends most of the meetings of the Hubbard garden club, in spite of the fact that she can’t stand soccer moms like Susan Johnson.
Unity’s house is small and sided with untreated cedar. It probably looked good at one time, but now the cedar is dark and weatherworn. The small cottage blends well with Unity’s “natural” front yard. In this context, “natural” means no grass and plenty of native perennials growing wildly. No maintenance is needed for this yard. If Unity lived in Susan Johnson’s neighborhood there would be a citizen’s petition to have the place condemned.
In the yard is a big “No War in Iraq” sign, which seems a bit outdated now, being that we’ve been in a War in Iraq for quite sometime. Unity’s sister, Serenity, lives in Minnesota and worshiped at the alter of the late Senator Paul Wellstone. This explains the prominent green Wellstone sign in Unity’s yard. You can still buy these signs in Minnesota, even though the senator tragically lost his life in an airplane crash nearly three years ago. In fact, Unity had to purchase a new one after some Halloween vandals wrote the word “DEAD“ on her old Wellstone sign.
Unity has an intense hatred of capitalism. She describes it as an unjust economic system that exploits the poor for the benefit of the rich. According to Unity, capitalism causes people to be unemployed and they have to take public assistance, which is not nearly as generous as it ought to be. Furthermore Unity is certain that capitalism is responsible for most of the poverty in the third world, for the war in Iraq, for Muslim extremism, for unhealthy food, for global warming, and for people who get too fat eating at McDonalds.
One day, years ago, when Jose Gonzales was working out of his rusted pickup truck, Unity called him to repair a broken window at her house. While Jose was sweating under the hot sun repairing her window, Unity decided that a poor, over-worked immigrant like Jose would be especially appreciative to receive her “knowledge-lecture” about how exploited he was under capitalism. Hence, she launched headlong into one of her famous capitalism-hating speeches that her university students just love to hear.
Jose listened for about twenty minutes, but even a laid-back guy like Jose can take only so much. He gave Unity a piece of his mind. “Quit making excuses you hippie”, he said. You think there’s no opportunity here? You wouldn’t want to go to the streets where I grew up in Mexico. You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
After Jose calmed down he told Unity that he and Angela were poor, but were going to work hard and make it, and that this country and capitalism gave no man or woman any excuse for lack of achievement. In fact, Jose intimated that Unity’s lack of direction, lack of accomplishment, and inability to hold down a full-time job was entirely her fault and was not the fault of capitalism or any other excuse she might invent.
After Jose finished fixing the window, Unity offered to pay him but he told her that her money wasn’t any good to him. She asked him what he meant and he said, “When I earn money it is because I did something for it. I created something. You got your money from the welfare office…your money means nothing. I won’t take your bogus money.”
Unity and Jose still bump into each other once in a while. Neither holds any grudges and they are civil to each other. While both of them vividly remember that conversation years ago, they never talk about the day that Unity got her window fixed for nothing.