My Escape from Slavery

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I live on a car lot. My front yard is gravel and asphalt with intermittent splotches of eternally black oil unyielding to any cleaning agent natural or otherwise. Our house is built on the lot right beside iron train tracks. And of course there is the constant image of old cars lined up in rows, not junky just old. It's embarrassing to live under these conditions, but I wouldn't change the situation at all.

My family moved onto the car lot when I was in seventh grade. My father had been in the used car business for only about five years. As an adult my father had switched jobs more often than most middle class parents are accustomed. Before taking on the title of a car salesman, he had held a well-paying state department position in which he trained the unemployed so they could find work. However, he claims that by the end his job had become more about paper work and less about people. You see, my dad is a businessman, or at least prides himself as one. People are his game. He saw the car business as the perfect profession to utilize his gifts that were so shamefully being wasted at his old job.

Those first years of his being a car salesman, however, I almost never saw my dad. I would get up and be off to school before he awoke, and I would be asleep or at least in bed before he was able to drag his exhausted and overworked body in the front door and collapse in the bed. Often he would be unable to eat dinner until he slept for a couple hours. I can still remember a few times seeing him sitting on the couch at 2 o'clock in the morning in his pajamas eating cottage cheese and peaches and watching Headline News.

Needless to say, my father grew tired of living such an existence. Sure, he was supporting his family, but I'm certain he felt horrible about his lack of time with his children. This case is of course what led to my father's suggestion that we move into the building next to his office on the lot. This "house" was actually just another office building with a kitchen. Furthermore this car lot had been erected in the same location as all the other dealerships in our community: downtown.

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