Saturday, July 20, 2019

The Truth Is Out There?

Just saw a "Honk if you don't exist" bumper sticker for the second time this month and though I was tempted to take the bait, I did not honk, having watched enough X-Files in my formative years to recognize a sci-fi trap.

Would I be disappeared immediately, driving down the steep hill behind this Jeep bearing this bumper sticker, if I accepted the dare, or honk, laugh and a few minutes later become dizzy, pull over and see the clock on my dashboard stop, only for lights to appear?

Do I only continue to exist if I stay silent, if I reject the impulse to make some noise?

Does the driver get paid, does he rack up karma points gig-economy style, if I can be baited?

Are otherworldly beings of Mulder lore even the danger or does the threat still turn out to be humans of the American variety?

After all this time, seems any aliens out there know to stay away, though I suppose hoovering me up to their ship, as they’re said to do, would enable them to maintain a safe distance, especially if I no longer exist…

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Foreshock/Aftershock

I don’t want to be one of those New Orleans ex-pats gaping from afar, but reading headlines like “New Orleans Faces Unprecedented Weather Event” is hurting my heart, and bringing back the memories. A part of me will always be in permanent residence, wandering Decatur Street or driving by City Park at night, even as I appreciate life in California in 2019, another American anomaly in many ways, which may seem strange after back-to-back earthquakes.

The goal-post moving of calling earthquake one a foreshock, the first time I’ve heard that particular term trotted out, will not deter me from counting anything over a six on the scale as a quake. I am relieved and shocked at how well we fared, given the magnitude.

As someone who spent years reporting, I do find myself frustrated by the usual games pundits and alleged news people play, the way they sacrifice clarity and consistency of information to sound infallible at all times, a ludicrous proposition for any human and an approach that disrespects the Americans they are supposed to be serving.

The simultaneous hype of showing that one image of the same Ridgefield fire on repeat (that one image of the same black man wading with the same television) and the disinterest in presenting clear, accountable information have reminded me of the Weather Channel shenanigans around hurricanes that used to stress me out.

Beep beep beep…

Summer has become my least favorite season, and my life has been in this weird limbo for two years of underemployment, unemployment, and twenty-something monetary levels, sinking, sinking evoking a strange nostalgia, speaking of strange again: life in America, take ten thousand. Being devoid of cash after, and sometimes before, bills or of a stable income has made me feel like an aged child, like I want to escape but there’s nowhere to go, particularly when my current environment is now again my reprieve.

Meanwhile, Joe and Jill are out there petty complaining more than I or many people I know ever have, raking in $15 million last year and demanding another black woman’s silence. And then there's Bernie, a good senator who I have been dismayed to see take actions such as release an anti-endorsements list and make more comments on how much everyone hates him, showing himself to be someone who has never known suffering and I say that because these actions are also petty, because who among us has not been disliked and what kind of politician believes he is above valid criticism?

Speaking of suffering, alongside my nostalgia for New Orleans, a dual mirror, I’ve been reading Albert Woodfox’s autobiography, Solitary, about the reality of life at Angola, a wrongful imprisonment spanning four decades that cannot help but remind me of what we are doing to children seeking legal asylum and being separated from their families, being broken for no damn reason, other than the sadistic enjoyment of the men in uniform.

I cannot help but conclude that until white Americans, the majority of whom voted for a serial racist and rapist over a sane, intelligent woman, begin to prioritize the suffering our category inflicts on all others, for profit, for pleasure, over our discomfort in even addressing the existence of this suffering, over the complicity of our silence, we will continue to own this sadism and to be defined by its aftershock, no matter how many crosses or flags we hold up as evidence of our virtue.