Sunday, March 26, 2006

The notepad diaries

This is what happens when you read too much Joan Didion:



A bike on a bus in a small town, in the South-- in northern Florida. Walking through the terminal-- everyone glances at one another as if they all know each other so well. It's because they do. Remaining anonymous is impossible. Scratch that-- difficult. Not impossible.

That's what I'm doing.

Walking a connect from a terminal to another-- the smell of grime in the air and in my eyes-- a retard is parted for like he's the town leper-- the walkway turns into the Red Sea of rejects and troglodytes. For God's sake he's a retard, not a leper. To my gated destination passes by a cripple, the deep-indented face of a black man who closely resembles Deebo, and four cosmopolitan white people: one man, three women-- the women have their toes lacquered. The man: his hair geled. Sunglasses, purses, meaningless conversation and body wash/mist/spray all assault my senses. I'm not sickened, like usual-- I just write it down.

Right now its 50 degrees in Florida. This time last week it youwas 80. I will never understand God's plan for his bastard child Florida. During this time, I am reading a book and I am not. I am reading three, four concurrently and then I am reading only one intently. Three in the moring, still reading-- three fourteen, still-- three forty? You bet. Still reading. Its a wonder I get up in the morning.

Still, sometimes I wake up early-- to the smell of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and NPR-- 68 more killed in Baghdad or something. Maybe just eight. I hope it's just eight. God, I hope it's just eight. My sleepy heart goes out to our men and women in uniform. I am always so deeply ashamed that I'm not well-informed enough by noon. I'm never good enough for myself. Pop pop bam-- pop pop bam-- pop pop bam-- violent sneezing. I'm punching the walls I'm so frustrated, so mad, so trapped.

Here's why: President Bush gets all the breaks-- or maybe he gets none of them-- it all depends on whose blog or 24-hour newscast you're watching. Meanwhile, the Legislature's in session and nobody pays attention except for the small cabal. Our lawmakers-- wearing the black, slinkiest of clothes. A perfect crease and dimple of a tie-- clipped-on buttons as an empty show of support-- and no one is the wiser. Nowadays whether you're black or white you're ignorant-- all you know is you're against the war. Latest polls say over half of Americans think the war was a mistake, or that we need to leae, over 60 percent agree with Dave Chappelle: "Man, Bush is fucking up!"

It's strange. Bush bashing went from being esoteric, to dangerous and unspeakable, to hip, to trendy, to passe-- now its mainstream.

Now its at middle, heartland America-- in soccermoms and Starbuckses. Myspace and Livejournal aren't so smug now, are they?

When will they ever learn?

I learn long ago (read: two seconds ago) that this war is a white and Arab man's (his enemy of the day's) war, and the other three-quarters of the nation is just along for the ride. To know that is to stand out and feel invisible at the same time. Its like bicycling into a crosswalk in an aggressive, psychotic, numb car culture where cold sheet metal is flesh. Like being a whiteboy in a crowd full of black people-- and the lights go down.

Like being a dirty filthy reporter. Like being a journalist.

Like being on a bus in a small town, in the South-- in northern Florida. Walking through the terminal, full of white, but mostly black, people-- everyone glances at one anothr as if they all know each other so well. Its because they do. Remaining anonymous is impossible. Scratch that-- difficult. Not impossible.

That's what I'm doing.

When did I ever learn?


Let me know what you think...

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