I thanked my driver for finding me. He tried to say my name. It somehow went from the original 2 syllables to 5. That always cracks me up.
About a block away, he noticed the 5 different churches positioned near my apartment. We got on the subject of churches. He really liked Billy Graham. It was a little disconcerting to me because I know Billy hated women and homosexuals. Who was left?
My driver and I talked about how Mormons made great neighbors; everything stays clean and quiet. He got on the subject of the Jesuit Conspiracy (he was raised Roman Catholic): he said that Jesuit priests posed as parishioners so they could claim to be abused by preachers and pastors of other faiths. And the Christian Crusades were all Catholics. And Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by Jesuits; he alluded to it himself when he said the Jesuits never forgive, and they never forget. (I did not ask more questions nor encourage continued travel down this road.)
I asked him what he used to do, because we got on the subject of travel, living in different states, and traveling for work. He was a textbook salesman. My driver told me that he was seeing a huge influx of middle class Chinese families. He had certain territories in Canada, and in that country, if the student wants to learn in their native tongue, the accommodation must be made. So my driver was trying to get his company to sell the books; he had everything translated (correctly). They declined.
My driver said that the Chinese families would travel to the Philippines to learn English and culture, and then continue to the U.S. and Canada. They are driving housing prices up all along the west coast. In Arizona, we are also feeling the effects. Californians are leaving because they are being priced out of the market, so they come over here. It’s so freaking complicated.
My driver said that Michigan and Detroit are making a solid comeback. The new focus is STEM and finance. Michigan was part of his territory until they took it away from him. They replaced it with Louisiana and Mississippi, the last two states in the U.S. for education (Arizona is the third worst). After they reassigned him, they told him they expected 40% growth. After telling them that it was an impossible goal, they mutually agreed to part ways, which is how he ended up driving to make the bills. It’s not anywhere near his $120k salary that he was making, but it’s okay for now because he had a great severance package.
As I was exiting, my driver said, “God bless you.” I didn’t do the Catholic answer back, but he would have recognized it.