The following is a conversation between Mobile and Fairhope. Fairhope, who has a new mayor, was hoping her older, more experienced city across the bay could give her a little advice on some issues she has been experiencing with her new administration.
Mobile: (answers, sounding very hoarse) Hello.
Fairhope: Hey, Mo. It’s Fairhope.
Mobile: Oh, hey girl. What’s up?
Fairhope: You sound awful.
Mobile: You do know you are calling me at 7:30 a.m. on Ash Wednesday, right? I feel like a moonpie that’s been run over and then pooped on by a police horse.
Fairhope: Yuck! Such potty talk, Mobile. Remember who you are talking to. We do not talk about poo in my city because my residents are not allowed to have that bodily function.
Mobile: Sorry. I’m still a little drunk. I’ll try to behave.
Fairhope: Please see that you do. Anyway, the reason I am calling is I just didn’t know if you’ve heard what has been going on since my new mayor Karin Wilson took office in November.
Mobile: Oh yeah. Quite the show y’all have going on over there. If I were allowed to say poo words I would have put one in front of show. It rhymes with snit.
Fairhope: Um, yes. I know what you meant. Geez, Mo. I think you spent too much time with your citizens on Joe Cain Day! You sound about as classy as a braless, toothless redneck woman in Spanish Plaza.
Mobile: Actually, I think I did see her.
Fairhope: I’m pretty sure you probably saw 50 of her. I know I do every time I have to go over to that cesspool y’all call home.
Mobile: They are probably just visitors from Wilmer. I’m not claiming them. Anyway, so what’s the latest with your little civic soap opera?
Fairhope: Well, Karin started a whole bunch of drama again when she fired two longtime employees last week. So the council voted to put a hiring freeze on everyone except a building inspector and two police officers. Essentially they are preventing her from hiring anyone new.
Mobile: Actually, as I was checking Facebook to see if that giraffe had given birth yet, I saw something about that on her page. What was it she posted?
Fairhope (sighs, then reads Mayor Wilson’s Facebook post): “Yesterday, I had to make the difficult yet necessary decision to let two department heads go. Like some of you, I am both hurt and upset. Nevertheless, my commitment to the city is stronger than ever and our talented team will continue to move our city forward.”
Mobile: Kind of an odd channel to comment on personnel matters, don’t you think?
Fairhope: Yeah, and she posted this image of the sea with this saying written on it: “Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same.”
Mobile: Weird. I’m sure the people who got axed will find that very comforting.
Fairhope: Well, there are folks who are not happy about it over here. Someone even started a petition asking for her resignation because of this.
Mobile: So, I mean, what do your citizens think of her?
Fairhope: I think there are some who think she is doing a great job and doing exactly what she was elected to do. And I think there are some who think she is overstepping and a little too forceful. I just hate she and my council aren’t getting along.
Mobile: Well, I can tell you this. If your mayor and council have a dysfunctional relationship, it is not good for you. I mean, I know that’s stating the obvious but it’s true. Your mayor would be wise to try and push the reset button with the council.
Fairhope: I agree. I truly want them to get along for my own good.
Mobile: I think just better communication would make a world of difference. You know, like when she fired the two longtime employees, the council said they had no idea that was going to happen. Reaching out to them on things like that would certainly better their relationship.
Fairhope: I know it would. All this fighting is just so embarrassing. And you know me, I hate it when things aren’t absolutely perfect. I mean, I’m Fairhope. Perfection and harmony are kind of my things.
Mobile: I know. And if your mayor and council aren’t getting along now, whatever will y’all do when you have such horrible tragedies occur — like the Christmas tree lights not going up high enough on the trees, or if the downtown flower budget gets slashed? (Mobile giggles.)
Fairhope: Don’t even say such horrible things!
Mobile: Um. You do know I was joking, right?
Fairhope: Jealous much?
Mobile: Oh please. We have nice flowers in my downtown now too. Well, if the Mardi Gras drunks didn’t kill them. Look, Fairhope, it’s still early. Mayor Wilson has a chance to turn things around with the council … if she wants to. She may think she is making a bigger political statement by having an antagonistic relationship with them, though. And maybe they do too. She certainly has her detractors as well. So someone could make a career out of being the Anti-Karin too.
Fairhope: I hope not. I feel like everyone is laughing at us and taking so much joy in my misery.
Mobile: Oh, girl, we are. I popped a bag of extra-butter popcorn to devour while I’ve been watching this whole mess play out. It’s so scandalicious.
Fairhope: I knew it! I bet Daphne and Spanish Fort are just loving this too. They have always been so jealous of me.
Mobile: Well, we all think you are a snob … because you are.
Fairhope: It’s not being snobby. I just know I am better than all of you. I mean, doesn’t half of your own administrative staff live over here? That’s just sad. Deep down in your crime-and-litter-ridden-city heart, you know it’s true.
Mobile: Just keep thinking that.
Fairhope: No, I’ll just keep knowing that. Anyway, I need to let you go. I have to decide whose wharf I want to watch the sunset from this evening. So many choices, so little time.
Mobile: You people and those sunsets. Good lord.
Fairhope: I know. Aren’t they amazing? Hello, Mo. Are you there? Mo?
“I can’t believe that witch just hung up on me,” Fairhope says to herself. “So Mobile.”