"Hey, Cur, it's been a while. I miss our grumble fests." I said, pulling out a cafe' chair.
"That makes one of us," said the Curmudgeon. "I know what you write is going to bring torrents of negative comments and abuse into my mailbox."
"Aw, you thrive on that, Cur," I chuckled. "Feeds your fightin' spirit."
"That's what I'm pissed about. You can't fight any more. Big Brother has eyes on us all 24/7."
"Well, yes, on the Big Brother, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Apple. But physical assault outside of a boxing ring has been off the table for decades."
"I'm not talking throwing punches, though I miss the schoolyard or the Wild West." Cur leaned in. "I'm talking about how us worker bees are now beholden to the Man 24/7, not just 9-5."
"Care to elaborate?"
"Check the news in the last year or so. Lots of people have been fired from their jobs for stuff they have said or shouted when they are off the clock. Sure, we all know to kiss up to our bosses to avoid the unemployment line, but, I'd like to be able to blow off steam when I'm off duty. Have a few drinks, curse at shmucks, flip off a-holes, let out my anger at the way the world is going. War, inequality, corruption, corporate welfare, you know. And, did I say have a few drinks."
"Look, I grew up in a small town, where everyone was into everybody's business. I moved to the big city just so I could get away from the nattering gossips and the town pillories. Yeah, I had to earn money, so, for 9 hours a day, I sold my soul and buttoned my lip. But this community village shift that has exploded on the scene the past few years makes me feel like I'm back in Smallville. Now I have to behave, company manners, all the time. That sucks. For want of a curse word."
"Are you referring to the, um, sexual misconduct stuff happening now?"
"Heck, no. Wouldn't touch that bear with a ten foot pole. All I'm willing to say on that is, I'm sorry for all the people hurt by sexual abuse over the years, but the definition of what's sexually acceptable has sure changed since the swinging sixties. Sure, rape, penetration without consent, has always been illegal. And so have date-rape drugs. But it's not fair to apply today's neo-Victorian mores to standard 20th century "courting" behavior. What was that 50's Broadway tune about getting a woman drunk so you could "score"?"
Eye roll. "I really wouldn't know. I'm a #metoo."
"Sorry to hear that. Actually, so am I. High school. Band. Anyway, we're off topic, here. I'm talking about being able to express your feelings without filters. If my Uber driver is lousy, I want to yell at him and let him know. If I get terrible service from my cable company, I want to shout at the 'customer service' rep. I want to be able to stand my ground and give it back when some power-mad bureaucrat rudes and 'tudes me at the post office, DMV, or jury pool. I want to be able to have free speech and be free to be 'me'. Not 'you and me'. I need to have a break from 'good behavior' without going viral and being posted on Internet 'stocks'. And without having my indentured servitude job be at risk."
"Well, I suppose, you can, after you retire."