Friday, August 27, 2010

Recently a friend of mine very thoughtfully and earnestly asked me what I thought about The Mosque. Yeah you know what I'm talking about. The one down the street from the World Trade Center. I rolled my eyes and said I didn't care. But upon further pressing for what I "really thought" I went into a bit more detail. After questions of where it would really be, and admitting that I thought an "onsite Mosque" would indeed be nothing more than a big eff you in the faces of all of America and especially those still grieving the loss of loved ones, I carried on;

America is because many years ago a group of people, in an act completely un-patriotic, sought religious and political freedom in the wilds of the New World. And America still exists today not because of our military might, but because of the promise our land holds for all those who remain oppressed and without options. This is still the New World to some people. When our founding fathers set down the laws of our land, the fairness and equality they put onto paper were in truth the furthest thing from reality; and yet today we have some of the most solid laws heard of in place to protect those first ideals as well as the rights of those around us, however different from us they might be. One of those rights is the freedom to worship where, and how, and when, and wearing what, you choose. Even if it is down the street from the site of 9-11, and even if you do wear a tiny white hat while you do it.

What we as Americans fail to realize is that Middle Eastern Muslims are very different from the Muslims in India, who are very different than the Muslims who worked in and were also killed in the towers of the World Trade Center. What sent that specific and tiny group of Middle Eastern Muslims on a waring Jihad against us was not necessarily their Muslimness; rather it was their culture of violence that attacked us. Just as our culture of violence attacked them back. And if we could make steps towards understanding the cultural differences between these separate groups, if we could stop drawing sweeping conclusions against a whole based on the actions of a tiny and extremist sector, if we could understand the atrocities committed in the name of our own political and religious extremism, them perhaps we could make concrete steps towards love and forgiveness. And apologies.

I am not a Unitarian by any means. Nor am I Muslim. Nor does defending the rights of those people put me under their respective labels. Isn't it odd that I had to say that? That I had to make sure that you, dear reader, knew I wasn't "one of them"? Hypocrisy is rampant, and as I'm typing this what I hoped woudl be a heroic defense, all I can see is the eyes of the mothers of my friends widening, suddenly disapproving of our hangouts and tea parties (the kind with actual tea and muffins.) and I wanted them to know that I wasn't "one of them". What horrible words "they" "them". Aren't we just...we?

We are a brotherhood. A humanity made for each other. If we could just switch shoes and walk around for a day or two, I think that then and only then would we see things clearly. Taking a step towards understanding another human being's culture goes a long way towards our own personal sense of peace, but also contributes to a global peace as well.


(P.S. what I think they ought to do is make that site into a tranquil park, full of trees and flowers, plaques and bench's, a place for meditation and reflection. What better way to honor a memory? Perhaps I've been reading too much Secret Garden...)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

I'm finding my patience level is sinking lower and lower. The more people mill past me, bump into me, cut me off and drown me out, the more overwhelming the urge towards violence -or at least severe pettiness- becomes. Amongst such large groups I become disorganized and awkward. Limbs Flailing. Words stumbling, feet stumbling. Spinning rapid circles searching for a piece of wall to hug. In the quest for invisibility I stick out like a sore thumb. Except for when I'm with you. Together we weave such a graceful whirling dance of smiles and jokes, sometimes of tears and silences. Our ordinary steps are the things that magics and dreamings are made of. When I am by your side I no longer feel awkwardly, nor do I think I look it. Perhaps it is not exactly that my arms no longer flail while my hand is in yours, but really the more probably option would be that my arms DO flail, but with a friend such as you by my side to laugh at them awkward movements, those movements become not exactly awkward but...something to smile at. I feel strangely beautiful when you laugh at me. You are the stuff that turns bussrides into adventures.

-Even as I was writing that, I somehow managed to ever so smoooooothly spill all the contents of my binder; class syllabus' and add slips all, down upon the dusty sidewalk.

Summertime. This heat makes green living almost impossible. Riding between the hours of 10AM and 7PM is almost out of the question. Call it sure suicide. But we moved downtown for a reason. And bought bikes for a reason. Now it is time to see that through to its most beautiful and glorious end; And so we rode our bikes to school tonight beginning at the ungodly hour of 5:30PM, and I had enough sweat dripping beneath my harem pants to prove it! Yes, I am wearing harem pants. My dear friend April Spain gifted them to me (and a pair for Marcos, yes she's amazing as far as friends and girls with good taste go) after her trip to India, and I wear their pink and purple elephants with pride. (They also hide the sweat quite well.)

I had some internal drama at tonight's class. Somehow I managed to get my greedy little fingers 'round an addslip before role was even taken – an unheard of turn of events that left me standing in the doorway. Well I got news for you Teach – if five of us are standing in the doorway and three more are sitting against the wall then we don't all fit, so take the roll and give us some solid answers!

I let a girl use my phone. I put my writing down and sat erect and ready (that's what she said) just in case she were to make a run for it, with it. She didn't. And here I am. Does a good deed count if its wrought with suspicion? I'd like to know...

The farmers have picked their grapes. Tomorrow they'll be in trays that will blanket the soft vineyard dirt and the deep, luxurious scent of drying grapes will fill the countryside. I believe a sunset drive with windows down and music on is in order.

There is a man sprawled on the grass reading a book, even as the sun is setting. There is a family with two small girls walking two small dogs. The wife is throwing ice down the husbands shirt, and now he's wailing and kind of running with a few hobbled hops away. A K-9 unit rolls past. Now someone, man or woman I couldn't tell, has shifted their course of direction and is headed right my way. Now they've chosen my bench of all benches to sit on. And it would appear that he/she has something lodged in the back of his/her throat and now he/she is trying to liberate it. DO THAT SOMEWHERE ELSE! I'm board. Does this count as Stream of Consciousness writing? Could I be the next Jack Kerouac? Wont you explain to me how Kirstin Dunst got herself into the new movie of On The Road? I'm horrified.

The Campus is slowly emptying of people and passerbyes. My benchmate has left and things are thinning out. Its time to put my notebook away and ready myself for escape, should the need for one present itself.