Thursday, June 19, 2014

How not to be angry

You tell me.

I feel angry all the time recently. I feel angry about the cars that cut me off while I am biking. I feel angry about men or women who say, “Uh-huh” when I say thank you or when they bump into me and I say “Thank you.”

It kills me when someone asks for my opinion, I give it, and then they start an argument. It’s worse when they say I am argumentative because I have defended myself.

People are absolutely ridiculous when they defend derogatory words, like “tranny,” while still pretending to support the “LGTBQ community.”

I find myself upset when a friend asks me why I wasn’t at a party, why I didn’t stay later than 3 in the morning, that he would have loved to see me there later, that it was charming to see my boyfriend there.

Drugs and the importance we place on them as mind-opening, as subversive, as something one has to do to be interesting makes me angry.

And it makes me angry when people on drugs think they are being conversational, or clever, or funny when they make non-sensical remarks or sounds or motions when they are high. Boring, I just want to start screaming THAT WASN’T A PLAY ON WORDS, THAT WASN’T CLEVER, AND YOU ARE NOT FUNNY. These remarks are pertinent for people who are not high, who don’t do drugs, too.

I am angry when people don’t walk on the wrong side of the sidewalk even when they see that the sidewalk is full of people walking in both directions and bikes and trying to get by them.

I find it disgusting when people try to quote Foucault or Marx and get it all wrong but pretend they are telling a TRUTH. Don’t even talk to me about the people who still have an interest in Freud. And on the other hand, I find myself ruffled that people would completely dismiss some thought or opinion or feedback just because a speaker invokes a philosopher.

I’m irked when a person believes they are producing something better than other people we know and yet they’re just deluded, narcissistic, and hypocritical. Your party isn’t better. Your art isn’t revolutionary.

I’m hurt when I share an idea and someone ridicules it, or becomes short with me about it, or will not begin to consider it and brainstorm with me, but rather shoots it down, dismisses it immediately, and I’m left thinking its better to always keep my mouth shout.

Here’s the thing: all these things are minor things, issues to be shrugged off and forgotten. We’re all busy, our minds occupied on other issues, on other projects. We don’t fully consider what we’re saying; an off-hand remark or response, something insignificant to one person can take on a completely different, more significant meaning for someone else. And all of these issues, all these things I’ve listed above, I know logically I have committed these crimes. I have been inconsiderate. I have made others angry. I have made other people feel like shit. And I know I have to you forgive and you have to forget and we all have to get over it and get over ourselves and just move on.

But right now, I just can’t. It’s just anger. And I can sit down and relax. I can meditate. I can have a drink. But I just feel more anger. I think this will pass but in the meantime, it just seems like there is nothing I can do right now. It’s a quagmire and I’m pissy.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

sketchbook no. 12

Here's a little piece of performance art I think could have a great visual impact:

A group of actors crowd around telescope installed at a cafe/bar. They pick target who will wall by them on the street, then they'll whisper animatedly, take turns looking through telescope at the target. When the target walks directly in front of them they go silent, look away, stare. When the target passes them they commence whispering and laughing.

Adam and I were sitting in a restaurant the other day; he was talking about someone who had walked in.  I didn't turn my head.  I asked Adam to describe him.  When I acknowledged that I knew the person in question, Adam said, "You haven't even looked!" I told him I had been trying to see the person in the window's reflection behind Adam's head, and even without seeing the person directly, I had known whom Adam had been speaking of.

We do a lot of looking, and it's interesting how obvious and overt we can be about it.  Or how discreet.  And the feeling of being looked at can be disquieting but also pleasurable occasionally.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Pax Perpetua

Ryan said, “Do you need a crystal?”

I didn’t think I needed a crystal. I didn’t know what a crystal would do for me.

Ryan rummaged around his pocket for a second; he held out his fist to me. The little rock he dropped in my hand was weightless, so tiny. It seemed orange but also purple and I thought for a second it might be amethyst. He told me it had broken off from one of his crystals and that I could keep it.

The day cleared up on the drive to the coast. Light blue skies, the atmosphere hazy, and fat, lazy clouds with flat bottoms settled firmly in the sky. Warm, I left my jacket in the car when we stopped in Corvallis for lunch.

There have been days when I have left work in the afternoon exhausted. So I would stop by Red Fox for a drink. Whiskeysodabitters. The bartenders there don’t even ask me anymore because they already know.

Ryan and I sit on the patio, our office hours we call them.

We just bitch and bitch. And rant. Then we laugh a little bit.

This week Ryan paced the patio. I’d had never seen him so anxious.

I told Ryan I was packing for the coast. “Toothbrush? Check. Ring of protection? Check. Emergency flask? Check.”

“Did you remember to bring your crystal?”

Yes, I carried the little crystal bud in my pocket. I had discovered it to be more translucent with white scratches and flaws than colored as I had first thought.

Signs warn drivers to slow down to 30 miles per hour before turns that fold quickly in upon themselves, that wrap around the feet of hills. The land falls away past the road, and every once in a while I see a creek burying itself in a ravine to the other side.

I rested my head for a second in the back seat, but then, “There it is!” We were tumbling down the last hills of the Coastal Range toward that flat gray slate, the ocean.

We found the lodge south past a town call Yachats; it looked a little Bates Motel like. Two low buildings, flat gray faded with white trim, a lawn away from the beach. No signal on my mobile phone. No phone in the room to call for help. A poor wifi connection that was absolutely useless. The place was tidy though.

A loud booming, paced, sounded from around the rocks, the unknown rumble of destruction interrupting from the movie theater next door. It caused a primordial fear; a fear activated in a deep cluster of neurons, never to be revealed and identified and dissected. White spray jumped from the chasm and I did not dare get closer to the edge, to walk farther past the rock wall to discover the source of this sound.

Devil’s Churn at high tide, the water surged and sprayed a little, though we had heard that the tide that afternoon would not be that strong, that usually the display in the chasm looked even more treacherous.

Signs warned against “sneaker waves,” water that would tangle around your legs and pull you back over the cliff, into the ocean. Here in this place, even a little wave, water around the ankles and a little spray, did not inherently seem that benign and I wondered what it would take to let me become so comfortable so that the water could take me unaware.

I lost that little piece of crystal on the beach. It must have fallen out of my pocket, a sacrifice to the ocean to keep me safe. And nothing happened. There ended up being no reason to worry.

At night, on the beach, around the fire, we drank and there was laughter. The dark was dimensionless except for the crests of waves blossoming like unnaturally white teeth in widening smiles. The ocean at night seems flat, more like a screen, than that immense regression toward the horizon that awes during the day.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Israeli complaints

"'I think the United States lost control,' said Oded Eran, aformer Israeli ambassador to the European Union and to Jordan, now a senior researcher at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University. 'They failed to prevent the Palestinians from going to the international community, they failed to salvage the peace process and to get Israel to carry out the fourth prisoner release, and they have failed to stop the knee-jerk Israeli announcements of settlement construction every time something doesn’t go their way.'"

It's sad that Israel can prance and posture and build up a huge military, but apparently they cannot make conscientious political decisions without the Americans forcing them to.  Let me tell you what I find objectionable with this sentence:

A. There's no reason a people should not be heard by the international community when they feel they are being oppressed and treated unfairly by another nation or another people within their own nation.  Every people should represented and heard by the international community. This is especially true when, as with the Palestinians, the end goal of peace talks is to establish a sovereign state.

B. The United States supports the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.  Peace between all communities is the best interest of the entire world.  The US freely acts as liaison between Israel and Palestine.  The US supports both nations in their work toward peace.  The US however in the end cannot be held responsible if another nation reneges on a promise, becomes recalcitrant, or irrationally bellicose.  Israel did not uphold its promise; it did not carry through with the fourth prisoner release.  This was Israel's responsibility and not that of the US.  Israel is not known for always carrying through with its commitments when it comes to Palestine and its failure this time is no surprise to anyone.

C. How can the US stop Israel's irrational settlement constructions whenever it decides Palestine must be punished?  How can the US stop Israel from moving forward with settlement construction even when Israel says it is attempting to work with the Palestinians?  If Israel is committed to peace, it will demonstrate this.  But there is little evidence that Israel wants a Palestinian state, a Palestinian presence in the international community.  Statements like this only prove that Israeli officials are more worried about maintaining the Israeli status quo in America, both in terms of opinion and the monetary support America provides to Israel.

I think we could be on the cusp of seeing a very different American stance when it comes to Palestine.  Not that we will abandon Israel or the peace process between these peoples.  But America has seen the rest of the world support Palestine and it's time we don't always follow Israel's lead to condemn Palestine's actions.  We must be able to remain neutral, and thereby demand that both sides come to the table willing to sacrifice, negotiate, and move forward.