Saturday, February 11, 2017

Saturday Poetry - 5 Minutes At the End of the Pier

5 Minutes At the End of The Pier
I didn’t have much time to spare,
Maybe thirty minutes was all,
So I decided to drive to the beach
And park my car
And walk to the end of the pier
And sit.
As I neared the ocean,
The breeze began to pick up speed.
My hair blew into my eyes,
And my linen shirt caught the wind
Like a sail,
Like a flag.
Everyone else out at the beach
Were wearing sweaters or jackets,
But I just had a linen shirt and jeans.
I must have looked silly in the chill air:
My hair in my face, my shirt flapping.
Most of the people there were fishing:
Standing mutely, their hands in their pockets,
A pole dangling off the side of the pier.
Some talked in hasty Spanish about this or that;
Most were quiet.
If they looked at me, I didn't notice.
As I stepped on the wooden slats,
The wind blowing my hair in my face,
My shirt flapping,
All I saw was the sea:
An empire of blue and green emptiness
The possibilities beyond
The unending line of the horizon
The light reflecting off the water
The faintest outline of the islands
My wind-blown hair partially obstructing my view.
I walked to the end of the pier,
The sound of my footsteps inaudible over the sound
Of the sea
And the wind,
And sat on the bench.
It had taken longer than I thought to walk there;
I supposed I had five minutes,
Just five.
So for five minutes I sat on the bench
At the end of the pier
And I looked out at the unending blue
And I felt the breeze on my face and my hair
And I breathed
And I was suddenly conscious of my breathing.
I was breathing.
When was the last time I had breathed?
I couldn’t remember.
I found that strange.
I looked out at the unending blue and I breathed
I breathed, really breathed, for five minutes
For five minutes at the end of the pier.
And as I sat
And as I breathed
I thought:
I thought about people who had never seen the ocean
I thought about people who would never see the ocean
I thought about people who dreamed of the ocean
That they would never see.
And I looked out on that ocean
And I was thankful;
Thankful I had the ocean
Thankful I lived in California
And thankful that for five minutes
A whole five minutes
I could breathe
As I sat at the end of the pier

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Imaginary Conversations - The Beginning

This conversation is imaginary.  You know the drill. The rest are here.

"AHHHHHHHHHHHHH"

"Yeah, pretty much"

"AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH"

"Feel better?"

"I don't know what to do anymore"

"I know"

"I want to keep fighting but I am broken"

"I know"

"I'm starting to question my very sanity.  I don't understand how these people don't realize what is happening.  I don't understand how they can say things are business as usual.  I don't know how they can be so callus about people's lives.  I don't know how they can't see how he is consolidating power.  I don't know how they can't see..."

"Neither do I"

"Whenever you watch movies... and I hate to compare this to a movie, but I have to because I really have no other basis for comparison right now.  Whenever you watch movies, it is always at the end."

"Huh?"

"It is at the end.  It is after a period of 10-30 years of horrible, sometimes more, and the good guys stop the bad guys after years of planning and organizing and stuff."

"I see what you are saying"

"Like even Rogue One, which was before the end, which was the catalyst for the end, took place in the context of a Rebellion that had been growing over a period of years, a Rebellion that had an infrastructure and stuff, you know what I am saying."

"I do.  You are saying we are in the prequels."

"Yeah, sort of. This is just the beginning.  It has just started.  I always thought that if I was there at the beginning that I would know what to do to stop it.  That if everybody saw it for what it was they would stop it.  Like if Senator Palpatine was unmasked as a Sith before power had been consolidated that everybody would be ok and we would have never had Darth Vader or any of it."

"But you are starting to realize that unmasking a Sith is harder than you thought?  Or that it isn't enough?"

"That it isn't enough, I guess.  That even if somebody saw Palpatine Force choking somebody they would think like 'well maybe he just happened to choke on a pretzel at the same time.' That even if they saw the evil right in front of their eyes they would either think the evil is justified for their own protection or that there was no evil and the evil wasn't really there at all.  There was no Force, there was no Sith. It was just make believe."

"Fake News."

"Yeah, exactly.  Like you know how Rey and Finn are all super surprised that the Force is real?  Even back in the original trilogy, Han called it a superstition and stuff. That always struck me.  There used to be this organization of magical Force wielding Jedi that everybody believed in and then all of a sudden people stopped believing that such a thing could even exist.  They knew the Empire controlled everything, but they probably didn't even believe that the Emperor was a Sith, even after all that time. None of it was real.  All of it was pretend."

"I've read somewhere that most people in the Star Wars universe probably couldn't read, that communication was really difficult.   Things were still very much like videos only, not a whole lot of real written records.  Plus, as we saw in Rogue One, storage of records was really bad.  You take one thing and that's the entire record of that thing, there are like no other copies of anything anywhere.  I could understand how information could be distorted in that environment."

"So do I, and I have definitely read articles about that before.  What I struggle with is, yeah, that whole Fake News thing.  Just that people might as well not be able to read, might as well be like the people in Star Wars, because they don't trust anything.  And maybe they shouldn't trust everything because there is so much propaganda, and information is so easy to distort, but when you trust nothing it is as though nothing is really there.  You can show a person the truth but they won't believe it because it doesn't conform to their world view.  They might as well be living on Tatooine and thinking that the notion of this Death Star is some kind of myth."

"I totally get that.  It is frustrating to be sure to hear from these people who said they didn't trust the government when Obama was President all of a sudden trust the government now.  Now it is the government that is good and the people who are obstructionists who are bad.  Now when the government detains people who have lawfully immigrated to this country it is good, but when the government tried to restrict who had access to guns it was bad.  They have this idea that they need these guns to rise up against an oppressive government but when the oppressive government gets here they are happy as clams because it isn't oppressing them.  They are just so full of shit."

"Wow you have gotten angry."

"I have gotten angry"

"You used to be the sensible one and I used to be the angry, depressed, anxious one."

"That was before."

"So what now?"

"Now everybody is either angry or deluded.  Everyone is either sad or they are complacent. Everyone is either able to ignore what is happening or is trying to fight it.  We live in different worlds"

"Are things that black and white though?  I don't think they are.  God look at me, I am trying to be sensible.  I mean there are probably people who think things are bad but not THAT bad and they won't believe that it is really bad until it gets too bad."

"Those are the people that frustrate me the most.  How bad does it have to get?  How horrible?  What has to happen?"

"I know. It isn't enough to say that Palpatine is a Sith, they don't believe if they see him Force choking somebody, what needs to happen?  If they see him shooting lightning out of his fingertips will they believe that is the Force or will they think that a freak lightning storm just happened that day."

"Life isn't like Star Wars."

"No.  Life isn't like Star Wars or Harry Potter or any of it.  Life isn't even like movies about the French Revolution or the American Revolution or the Communist Revolution.  Those were movies.  Even if you lived then it wouldn't be like in the movies.  Nothing is like in the movies.  Movies are easy."

"Movies are easy; life is hard."

"But what do you do when your life becomes closer to a movie than to your life?  What the fuck do you do?  I don't know how to live in this kind of world, in this movie world.  What are people supposed to do in these situations?  What happens now?"

"I guess people move on and live their lives the best they can"

"But how?!  I don't know how to do that!  Nobody prepared me to live in this kind of world, the kind of world where the court orders something but the government just doesn't comply.  I mean what the actual fuck!?  I don't even know how to respond to that.  Bush was bad but Jesus at least I felt like he believed vaguely in the rule of law.  I mean they would torture people but at least they would have the courtesy to go through the song and dance of not calling it torture instead of saying just like point blank, 'yeah we should torture people again, that was a good idea.'"

"I know.  It is nuts.  This whole thing is nuts.  I want to just go back to talking about stupid bullshit again and not politics"

"YES!  I wish politics just faded into the background again, like it wasn't so urgent.  Man, during Obama I was so relaxed.  I mean, not all the time, but just generally, ya know?  There were months that went by where I didn't think about Cabinet positions.  Shit, like I forgot John Kerry was Secretary of State for a bit.  The news didn't affect me, nothing really changed all that much, things were just..."

"Things were normal"

"Yep"

"This is not normal"

"None of it is normal.  I am so tired of saying how not normal everything is, but I don't even know how to stop.  Like if giraffes started flying one minute and then the next minute the grass was orange and just when you are dealing with that weirdness bananas taste like apples or something"

"I know what you are saying"

"There is this thing we are supposed to be doing like tracking all the little changes so we can see just how not normal everything is, but like there are so many!  Ugh! God I want to just be able to not think for 5 god damned minutes but I can't shut it off.  No wonder I've been drinking more."

"I think a lot of people have been drinking more or smoking more or fucking more or whatever it is people do to not think about this relentless march toward fascism."

"I think that is really my only consolation: that most people, not everybody, but most people I am friends with or who are in my life are just as freaked the fuck out as I am.  It makes me feel like I am not alone."

"We are all in this together."

"We are.  I didn't even know what that expression meant before, but yeah.  We are all in this together."

"And we have to fight it together."

"But I don't even know how to do that?  Like I have my Congresspeople and Senators in my phone contacts.  I call them a bunch but hardly ever get through even to a voicemail.  I go to marches when I can.  I send free faxes to people and shit.  Like is that it?  Is that the resistance?"

"What did you expect?  What did you want?"

"I don't know what I want really I just... Ok yeah alright I expected things to be more drastic.  I expected people to start... I dunno... being more like the antifas."

"So you are saying people should start burning things with more frequency?  Are you advocating for domestic terrorism?"

"Noooooo?  No. Maybe? No.  I don't know.  No.  I'm just saying like... no.  I am not saying anything."

"I mean it kind of sounds like that is what you are saying."

"I guess what I am saying is that how bad will it have to get?  What will have to happen?  What will it take for the people to get there?  What will it take for that not to be fringe? You know what I'm saying?"

"I don't know.  What do you think it will take?"

"I mean I don't know either, but as peoples rights are getting taken away and we are witnessing the decline of our nation and cabinet positions are bought and sold it feels like all this letter writing and calling voicemails and walking around with cute hats on seems like bullshit.  Like it seems like we are past the point of being nice.  That our so-called democracy and our so-called president are illegitimate and something needs to happen.  Something more than writing letters.  The entire system doesn't care about its citizens.  All Congress wants to do is disenfranchise voters, promote their Christian agenda, and make money.  Like you can't fight that with well reasoned arguments.  What the fuck is the point?"

"So you say you want a revolution?"

"I... yes?  Will I get in trouble for saying that?  Yes.  I do.  Listen.  Every other Western democracy has gone through many periods of change and transition.  They have written entirely new Constitutions.  They have completely changed their governments en masse.  I'm not saying that such a thing would be so terrible.  I mean it will be.  It would be terrible.  But it seems like it is necessary.  I don't know.  I don't even know."

"I know."

"I don't know how I can make it through 4 years of this.  I have barely survived 2 weeks.  I can feel my body rejecting this administration."

"We have to just pace ourselves and do what we can.  I know you want things faster, more dramatic, like a movie, but life isn't like that and you know it."

"I do.  Oh good, you are back to being sensible again.  I really need you to be sensible."

"I try."

"I guess that's all any of us can do: try"

"I guess so."
     

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The End

Here we are at the end, the last day, and I feel so empty. Used up. He came and he told us to hope.  He told us that we should keep hoping.  He came and he gave us this glimpse into a world that could be if we kept changing and hoping.  He didn't do it all.  He didn't do enough. He couldn't save young people shot by police, he ordered the deaths of people on the other side of the world, he didn't do enough. He came and he told us to hope, though.  He made us believe that leaders could be good and kind and worthy even when they don't succeed at all they tried to do. He made us feel that we were moving into a new era, that we were going to keep going, keep reaching, keep hoping keep changing and on and on until at last we had a nation that was truly equal and truly free. He made us believe.  He made me believe.  He made me hope.

 Maybe it will go on like normal.  This is what I hope.  I hope that I wake up in the morning and I make breakfast and I drop my daughter at school and I go to work and I help people.  And I hope that the child who told me she was worried that her mother would be deported doesn't have to worry anymore.  And I hope that people are healthy.  And I hope that if people aren't healthy they have people and insurance to take care of them.  And I hope that if people don't have friends or family to take care of them that charities really will step up and make sure they live.  And I hope people live.  And I hope people have clean water to drink.  And I hope that people have food on the table.  And I hope people have families who love them no matter who they are or who they love.  And I hope businesses do right by people and make products that don't harm the environment.  And I hope that businesses do right by their employees and give them medical leave when they need it or parental leave when they need it or even just time off to see a child's play because they are good people who care for their employees and want them happy.  And I hope that there are no more wars.  And I hope that people stop killing.  And I hope that all the nukes are destroyed.  And I hope that everyone can get a quality education.  And I hope that nobody is judged by the color of their skin or their religion or their gender.  And I hope that people stop hating.  And I hope.  I hoped.

 I hate him for it, a little.  I hate that I got to see what we could have had if we only knew what we had when we had it. I hate that all this hoping made me believe a lie that somehow we were changing, when things are just as they have always been.  I hate that he made me hope for things that are not so.  I hate that we got so used to hoping, believing the impossible.  I hate that people are still hating.  I hate to hear my daughter cry how much she hates the new one, the asshole who comes tomorrow.  I hate that she sees such pain in the world and she weeps for us.  I hate that I am not strong enough for her.  I hate that I cry in front of her.  I hate that I can't promise her a future.  I hate that I am finding it hard to lie.

I try to hope.  I try to hope that tomorrow is the way I wish it would be.  That it isn't so terrible, it isn't so bad.  But for me it feels like hope is leaving me, is on his way out the door. I look around me and I see our natural world dying.  I see our schools dying.  I see our people dying.  I see our nation dying.  I used to hope for a wondrous future full of possibility.  Now I hope that there is a tomorrow.  Now I hope that bombs don't fall and people don't die.  Now I hope there is an America at all when I wake up in the morning.  Now I hope that things are terrible but not that terrible.  That isn't any kind of hope at all.  It isn't the kind of hope that he promised us when he stood there on stage all those years ago.  I hope the asshole doesn't kill us all.  That is no kind of hope to pin your dreams on.  I used to dream of fanciful things and now I dream of death.

It is foolish to put faith in a man.  To believe.  It wasn't really him though: not the man, the president. It was the idea, really.  The idea of hoping.  For 8 years, 9 really, almost 10.  From the moment he announced he was running and gave us the notion that such a thing could be.  And he won and it was as though all things were possible, that we had entered a new world.  It was into this new world that I gave birth to a daughter.  It was in this world that she grew.  She never knew anything else.  She never knew the Berlin Wall.  She never knew presidential scandal and impeachment. She never knew 9/11.  She never knew a world where a Black man didn't live in the White House.  She has no memory of a time when gays couldn't marry.  She doesn't understand people who hate.  She is confused by people who don't love.  She grew up in the generation of Hope.

So what do we tell them, this new generation, Generation Hope, children born or raised in past 10 years.  What do we tell them now at the end of an era?  How do we protect them?  How do we help them grow?  I see teenagers today, raised in this world where hope and change were possible, grow to be more socially aware, more progressive, than any generation before it.  These flowers could blossom because the world was fertile for their imaginations, the land was full of hope.  What will become of them in the new world?  What will become of us all?

It is the end.  It is not the end of all hope, but it is the end of an era where hope was the norm.  Maybe someday we will return to that world if we all make it out the other side.  I know we won't all make it, though.  Some of us will.  Some of us. How will those of us who make it out remember this time?  What will we say? How will history look at us? Are we in Berlin in the 20s?  Are we something new?  Will we take the stories of resistance we have worshipped in our popular culture to heart?  Will we fight?  Will we be able to?  So many questions.  So much uncertainty.

This I know: it is the end.  Tomorrow will be something new and what that new thing is we cannot yet know.  It will be bad.  That much is certain.  We have received the call from our physician and we wait anxiously in the lobby. Will the doctor tell us that the disease has spread, is inoperable?  Or will the doctor tell us that the tumor can be removed.  I believe, I have to believe, that this cancer is treatable, that this malignant festering thing can be destroyed.  Perhaps the treatment of the disease will make us feel sicker than we were before.  Perhaps the treatment of the cancer will be long and painful.  Perhaps we may not make it even after all the treatments.  But perhaps it can.  And this is what I hope.  This is what I will continue to hope.  Because I have to.

He told us to hope.  He told us to be the change we wanted to see in the world.  Now we must live by his example without him to lead us.  We owe it to him, to the memory of this era, to try.


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Saturday Poetry - A Rock

A Rock
Today I threw a rock
It was a small one, a pebble really
Not much
I threw it at a window, not expecting anything
A gesture
When the window broke, the sound was not so loud
But not so small either
Like when a server drops a plate
And everyone claps
Why do they clap?
What assholes
The rock didn’t hit where I wanted it to
My aim isn’t very good
I was surprised it hit anything
It struck the letter “P’ and that was all
A little hole appeared where the “P” would be
The “P” was gone
And the window was left with TRUM
TRUM is the sound of a rusty horn
Or an elephant maybe
TRUUUUUUMMMMMM
It is a loud sound, obnoxious
It fit
I was surprised
Both that the window broke
And that I broke it
I didn’t know I broke windows
But I guess I do
Because there it is
Broken
Maybe I should have been sorry
Or I should have been scared
But all I could think was
What else can I break?

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

What I learned from Carrie Fisher

I am positively gutted over the loss of my childhood and adult icon.  She was a truly remarkable woman who meant a great deal to me.  

Here is what I learned from Carrie Fisher. 

- I learned that you can have a mental illness and still be successful

- I learned that you don't have to put up with people's bullshit if you don't want to

- I learned that when you grow old you can grow more comfortable in who you are and less apologetic

- I learned that you can do great and important things and not always get the credit for them, but that is
okay

- I learned that sometimes the heroes are "chosen ones" and sometimes the heroes are the ones who put in the work and hand out the medals to others

- I learned that mistakes you made as a younger person don't have to define who you are

- I learned that people will love you even if you are "weird" and write things that people don't understand.

- I learned that you can be funny, strange, thoughtful, brash, kind, confident, broken, whole, mother, daughter, and weirdo all at once.

When I say that Carrie Fisher was my hero, I do not say it lightly. Her loss impacts me more than any of the other great people we have lost this year. She was more than just Leia to me. In all the things that she was, she was important to me. She will be missed.


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Imaginary Conversations - This is Fine

This is the latest in my series of Imaginary Conversations.  You can read the rest here.



So how are you holding up?

What do you mean?

I mean, you were pretty stressed out before.  I'm just wondering how you are handling everything. There have been a lot of scary things in the news lately; I just want to make sure you are ok.

Oh!  Yeah, I'm fine.

Are you sure?  I just want you to know that if you need anybody to talk to I am here for you.  Or you could talk to like a professional or something

No, I don't think that's necessary.  I'm fine.  I realized I was overreacting

Oh... oh well if you are sure.

Yeah.  I mean, nothing has happened yet and I was getting myself all worked up over nothing.

Well, I don't know if it was nothing.  I think it is okay to feel a little anxious about what the future holds.

No, it was silly. Everything is fine.  I really think we need to just give him a chance and the universe will just work itself out

Um... this really doesn't sound like you at all

I don't know what you mean.  This is exactly how I sound.  I'm talking aren't I?

Well... yeaaahhh... but I mean, you being so optimistic and saying you will give him a chance and all that.  You sound kind of... you are kind of freaking me out actually by how calm you seem today.  I mean I don't want you freaking out all the time and I was actually getting kind of worried about you talking about the end of the world, but now you seem sort of... off.

I really don't know what you are talking about.  I was really stressed out before and taking my stress out on the world, trying to place blame on others when the blame is really on myself.  It was a lot easier to say the world was going to end than to admit that I hadn't done anything productive with my life.

Um... well... no, I mean no that isn't exactly what you were talking about before.  I mean, you were talking about the end of the world but you were also talking about how you are scared and angry and like... wanted to murder the...

Hahahah.  You are so funny.  Always making jokes.

Riiiight.  I mean you weren't actually going to go out and do anything, but I don't think that you were joking when you said you would be happy if he just dropped....

Let me stop you right there.  Are you implying that I wish harm done to the president elect, the man whom our nation voted into office by an overwhelming margin?  Why nothing can be further from the truth!  This is America, and I firmly believe in democracy.  We don't throw a fit when we don't get our way.  That would be just silly and wrong.  We rally behind our leaders and we pray to our Almighty God that they have the strength to protect this glorious and beautiful nation.

Okay now I am officially creeped the fuck out.  Have you eaten or drunk anything unusual lately?  Have you been visited by people wearing matching jumpsuits?

Well I don't have the slightest idea what that is implying. I just love America and everything that America stands for.  We just all need to be good patriots and realize that even though that crooked, horrible woman I inexplicably voted for didn't win the election that it will all be for the best and we will grow stronger and more prosperous along the way.

What in the actual fuck is happening right now?

You seem really agitated.  Perhaps you need to relax.  Maybe watch one of your favorite humorous TV shows.  Might I suggest Family Guy?  So hilarious.

What... I just... are you...

Don't stutter dear.  Speak English properly like a good American does.  We are all good Americans and we all speak English very good.

Very well, you mean

Well... good... it's all the same isn't it.  No need to be an elitist about it.

I mean I'm no grammar Nazi but...

Oh there you go with the Nazi again.  Always with the hyperbole.  We need to just get that word out of our vocabulary, shall we.

Um... I'm not gonna lie I am kind of scared right now.  Like legit pretty terrified.  Did you go to a reeducation camp or something?  What the fuck happened to you?

Nothing happened.  Nothing happened at all.  Everything is fine.  This is all fine.  We are all fine.

Well, except for the people that aren't fine.  Except for the people under rubble in Aleppo, the people who will lose their health insurance, who will be discriminated against, who will die.  Those people aren't fine.  The mentally disabled black boy who was raped by a white student who will get no jail time isn't fine.  The young men shot by police aren't fine.  The Muslims kicked off of planes aren't fine.  Lots of people won't be fine.  This is not fucking fine at all.

Oh my goodness, you are worked up

Will you quit it with the fucking oh my goodness bullshit.  You sound like the 2 dimensional antagonist in a fucking bad dystopian novel right now.  Quit the fucking around and talk like yourself.

This is myself.  This is me.  I am talking.  Nobody else is talking for me.  These opinions are mine.

Bull fucking shit.  I was just talking to you the other day and you were talking about doomsday clocks counting down and some kind of totalitarian regime.  You said we were becoming like Libya or whatever.  You were even talking about deleting your facebook and twitter because you were worried about all that stuff you said about killing... Wait a minute

Yes?

Are you doing some kind of crazy ass method acting right now?  Are you preparing for government intrusion on our internet conversations?  Are you fucking with me?

Why, whatever do you mean?

You are fucking with me aren't you?  You are pretending to be some kind of good little American because you are worried about the corrupt FBI spying on your conversations or something aren't you? You saw that he is still being guarded by private security instead of the Secret Service and you are thinking this is how the Gestapo began, right?  I get it now.

Hahahah What an overactive imagination you have! And there is absolutely no reason why I would need to pretend to be a good little American because I AM a good American.  I love America so very, very much.  I love the flag and everything it stands for.  I love that we live in a good and strong Christian nation with the greatest and best military in the world and the greatest and best economy that will only get greater and better.   Everything is going to be just fine and dandy.

Uh huh...

Absolutely.  And of course any undesirable people who are not fine and dandy might need a nudge in the right direction.  But certainly not me because I am a good American and I love my country so very much.

HAH! I knew it.

Knew what?  Knew just how much I love my dear and precious America.  That gorgeous and beautiful flag that I love so much I want to roll around on it with my naked body.

Um... really?  Naked body?

Too far, huh?

Uh... yeah, just a bit.

Dammit.  I need to dial it back.

I totally called it

Called what, dear?

I called it.  I called that you are doing a bit.  You are doing this long and involved bit to prove some kind of stupid point.

Not at all.  I really and truly love America this much!  And while I don't agree with everything our new Dear Leader has to say, I will obey his commands because he will be, after all, the Commander in Chief.

Yeah that was a little much again.

A bit much to love our leaders as much as I love our nation?  That is "a bit much" is it?  Well, I really don't even know what to say to that.

Okay this bit is getting old.  I already caught you.  You already broke character.

That's preposterous.  There is no character to break.  This is just me.  Me and only me being me.  Telling you truthfully how very much I love our country.

Ugh. Enough already.  Change of topic.  Did you see Rogue One?

You mean that film about those terrorists who destroyed a government instillation in an attempt to smuggle out state secrets?

Alright, I'm done with this conversation now.

Aww don't go.

Are you willing to admit that you are just doing some dumb Stepford character yet?  Are you willing to talk to me like an actual human being because I'm fucking done having a conversation with a robot.

Not all robots are bad

Well no, I mean I think robots are actually pretty cool.  I don't mean to talk smack about robots.

Robots just comply with their programming.  K2S0 was an Imperial droid before he was reprogrammed.

Yes.... Yes he was

And if a droid were, say, behind Imperial lines trying to go undetected then the droid might not want to draw attention to itself

Uh huh... So is that is what is happening now?

It... it might

And is the droid scared?  Is it doing its little scared bloops and bleeps?

Um... bloop

I'm sorry.  I'm so sorry.  Are you going to be okay?  I mean really?

I don't even know what okay means anymore.

I know.

This isn't fine.

No

This isn't normal.

No.

Will we... what's gonna happen?

I don't know.

They assassinated that dude

Yeah

I didn't really think people just got straight up assassinated anymore

Yeah

I watched that movie Suffragette the other day

How was it?

Eh it was okay. A little slow.  Did you know those ladies burned houses down and shit? They bombed Lloyd George's house.

I did not

Neither did I.  I thought the suffragettes just marched in parades and stuff.  It turns out they were kind of like terrorists a little bit.

But they were right weren't they?

I know, that's the thing

So what are you saying?

Nothing.  Nothing at all.  Just saw a movie is all.  It made me think.

About....?

Uh.. um... nothing.  Just, ya know in general.  Too much thinking is bad for my delicate female brain though.  I should probably stop.

Yeaaahh...

Um... we should probably end this conversation before I say something I shouldn't.

That might be a good idea.






Monday, December 12, 2016

Imaginary Conversations - Clocks

This is the latest in my series of Imaginary Conversations.  You can read the rest here.  This one is... not so imaginary.



What the Hell is even happening anymore?

I don't even fucking know

Like I literally have no idea what is happening right now.  Have I taken crazy pills?  I feel like I've woken up in fucking crazy town.

Well to that pill analogy, perhaps it is more like the Matrix where it has always been like this but now you see the people hooked up to the machine and you are like "What the fuck?  When did this happen?" But it has always been like that.

I mean I get your point, but I really don't think it has always been exactly just like this.  I'm pretty sure this new shit is a whole different round of what-the-fuckery than the normal shit.  I mean even taking into account my privilege and my lack of experience with some of the normal shit that other people have to deal with, this shit seems like pretty crazy fucking shit.  

Fair enough

Is this what it was like during the Cold War?

Huh?

I mean this feeling.  This feeling like the world is going to end.  Or even if it isn't going to end that it could end.  Like that big end of the world clock deal that they have is closer to fucking midnight, you know what I mean?

Ah.. yeah I get what you are saying

Where do they keep that fucking clock?

The clock?

Ya know the end of the world clock.  Like they have this big clock and when things start to turn to shit some dudes in suits come out and move the hands of the clock.  It is like this giant novelty Publishers Clearinghouse check of symbolic clocks.

I know what you are talking about.

Is it in a storage unit or something until the clock keepers decide to move the hands of the clock?  Do they just reassemble it for their big press conference of clock hand moving or does it actually just sit there in some office and people have to walk by this clock every day reminded that like the Earth could end and shit.

You seem really emotionally invested in this clock.

Well, I'm just saying that the clock is probably going to have to be rolled out again, ya know?  I'm just wondering what the clock might be up to.

You know I'm sure you could probably Google this.

Eh fuck it, I'm just bullshitting about the old doomsday clock.  It doesn't strike you as odd that we have an end of the world clock?

Yeah, it is pretty odd.  It is like those terror alert colors we got rid of a while ago.  It was almost always on Orange anyway.  Like what does Orange today mean compared to Orange yesterday.

Well sort of... but it has been at 3 minutes to midnight for only like 2 years now.  It was lowered from 5.  Last time it was at 3 was in the early 80s and stuff.  I was too young then to remember, really.  I don't remember what it was like to think the world could end.  And like obviously I am not the only person who has this feeling like the world could end.  Obviously the people who manage the clock moved the hand on the clock a little while ago for a reason and I bet you anything they are going to move it again soon.

So end of the world, huh?

I mean that's kind of dumb, right?  It is dumb to talk about the end of the world as a thing.  It seems alarmist and childish.  But... I dunno, people in the 50s didn't think it was bullshit.  They were making bunkers.  We are somehow under the impression that bunkers aren't necessary because of that whole mutually assured destruction thing, but what if some men want to watch the world burn.

Have you been watching Dark Knight again?

No, but I've been thinking about it ever since our nation elected an actual fucking comic book super villain.

There's that

Maybe it is a digital clock now

Probably

Whatever.  Whether it is a digital clock or an actual giant novelty clock it is a thing and it fucking scares me.  I can't even look at regular clocks anymore.  I keep thinking of this clock.

Really?

Really.  I have gone from being sad and depressed to being pissed the fuck off and disappointed in America to being really and genuinely terrified.  I know that fear isn't exactly the most productive emotion.  I should be thinking proactively and stuff like that.  But... all I can feel is fear right now.  I am not joking around I am seriously worried about the end of the world.

I know you aren't joking around.  I'm just worried about you.

Well, thank you for your concern and all that, but you shouldn't be worried about me, you should be worried about the myriad of ways our democracy has been/ is going to be undermined, what our nukes are up to right now, and the fact that global warming is irreversible and nobody is doing shit.

It's not like I'm not worried about those things too, but you seem to be really preoccupied by those things.

HOW CAN'T I BE PREOCCUPIED IT IS OUR LITERAL SURVIVAL?!

Just... Ok I don't want to tell you to calm down.  I don't want to be dismissive of your feelings.  Just... just don't forget to breathe and all that.

I am finding it hard to

I know.  I see that.  You seem very anxious.

Anxious doesn't even touch it.  I am feeling complete and utter existential dread.

That can't be very healthy for you

Neither is war.  Neither is the irreversible destruction of our natural world, the polar ice caps melting...

No, those things don't sound so great either.

I try to think about people in the 50s or 60s.  Like how they didn't know if Russia was really going to attack.  Like how they actually thought that it was possible that nukes would come down.  That they had duck and cover drills for that shit.  It seems so removed to me.  Even though I was born in the 80s I don't remember that feeling of fear.  I have a lot of disconnect watching movies like Red Dawn or Hunt for Red October and all that.  That whole fear just seemed kind of silly to me.  I didn't understand it.  I wasn't old enough to understand it then.  9/11 was scary but even then it was like... I dunno... I did feel like our nation was protected somewhat.  Now I just don't even believe in this country at all.

I know.  I understand what you are trying to say.

A while ago we were talking about the apocalypse and you kept saying how you thought that Trump would never get elected and if he did get elected he wasn't going to be Hitler 2.0 and if he did get elected Immortan Trump wouldn't have roving bands of war boys off like, ya know, tearing women's hijabs and acting like actual Nazis.  Remember that?

Alright, so I was trying to be optimistic

That's what I'm saying.  People try to be optimistic and dismiss fear as alarmist and insensible.  I told you.  I TOLD YOU.  I told you fucking 6 months ago that the future we were heading toward was closer to Mad Max than Star Trek and you didn't believe me.  What do you say now, hm?

I am worried about the state of our nation, but I still don't think we are in some kind of disaster movie or dystopian YA novel.  The people in charge are shitty and they are going to continue to be shitty, and people are going to suffer because of it, but they have a financial interest in not like completely destroying everything and just maintaining the status quo.  I agree our environment is pretty much fucked, but the effects of that will be on our great grandchildren not on us at this very moment.  Do I feel shitty about the way things are?  Yes of course I do, but I still don't think things are as bleak as you make them out to be.

I just can't muster even that sliver of optimism.  I just can't.  Right after the election I was worried about having a shitty president, a shitty administration, about roll backs of civil rights, about lack of progress, about undocumented people being kicked out or Muslims being rounded up.  Even some of those things people thought I was being alarmist about.  But now?  Our very democracy undermined by Russia? China annoyed? Fundamental faith in the election process destroyed?  I don't know how our republic can even survive this.  Before I was just sort of being hypothetical with the Mad Max shit but now I really don't know how America gets out of this as America.  We either become a banana republic or a military junta or we completely disintegrate.  I don't think there is a coming back from this.  Before I was talking about the apocalypse as a hypothetical and now I am even more afraid.  Whether the guys moved the hand on the clock or not it feels more like 2 minutes than 3.  I don't know how we are going to survive.

Life finds a way.

Fuck it I would take fucking dinosaurs over this.  I would take aliens coming down and ruling us.  We don't deserve this fucking planet.  I don't want to be a fucking plucky rebel freedom-fighting Katniss motherfucker.  Fuck Jennifer Lawrence and her bullshit.  I just want to live a normal life. But I feel like things will never be normal again.

What did Jennifer Lawrence do?

Fucking sat on some sacred rocks or some shit.  She is a bitch. I'm over her.

Gotcha.

So anyway.  Where was I?  Oh.. end of the world.  So yeah I mean when we had this conversation 6 months ago I told you all it would take would be one thing to send the whole shit crashing down and you didn't believe me.  But I think we have reached that moment.  Or we are reaching it soon.  The tenuous grasp we had on this reality is failing.  I don't know what comes next.  And I know you don't believe me.  You think it is all hyperbole and anxious rambling.  But I can't take my eyes off the clock.  I used to have some semblance of optimism and it is gone now.  I am just broken.

I... I'm sorry.

You have been pretty quiet lately.  You haven't been as chatty as you used to be.

I'm scared too.  I'm trying to be the voice of optimism and positivity but that is hard for me too, ok?  I really didn't think he was actually going to win.  I really didn't think that any of this would really happen.  I really didn't think actual Nazism would be normalized.  It seemed absurd to me.  Now I don't even know.  I don't even know what to believe anymore.  I want to be the voice of optimism for you.  I want to tell you that its okay or that we will make it through or that things aren't all that bad but... I can't.  I can't do that.  I'm sorry.

I'm sorry too.  I've been so focused on my own feelings that I haven't even considered how you are feeling about all this.

I'm feeling not that great, if I'm being honest.  I'm feeling more like we really are in that Star Trek scenario where we have WW3 before we get to any of the good stuff.  I'm feeling like you were right.

That's not good.  You are supposed to be the sensible one

I know that.  But I just... Can we just talk about something else?

What do you want to talk about?

I dunno.  See any movies lately?

Moana.  You wanna talk about Disney movies?

I don't even know.  I'm having a hard time even escaping lately.  Escapism isn't even working like its supposed to for me either.

Well what am I supposed to do when you are all depressed and I am all anxious?  One of us is supposed to be normal.

Maybe this is normal

Depressed anxiety is normal?

Maybe.  Maybe it is now.  I don't know how you live in this world and not be kind of depressed and anxious.

Should we see somebody about this?

What are they going to do?  Are they going to change the president or make Nazis go away?

Well... no... But maybe they can help us

I don't think there is helping us.

That's... wait a minute you are supposed to be the sensible one that is a really shitty attitude to have.  We really need to do something about this attitude.  I mean yeah okay I think the world is going to end but maybe we can have a... good... shit I am terrible at this.  You are supposed to be the optimist.  I don't do this very well.

Sorry

Don't say sorry just say... We are supposed to end this conversation on a hopeful note.

Spider-Man Homecoming looks dope

Yeah it really does... wait.. this doesn't solve anything. We haven't resolved anything

I know.