Monday, July 16, 2012

The Philistines Are Upon Us

Holy shit, I think. I'm right too. I'm really right. There is no other way to think about it, and there is no other way of saying it. Holy shit sums it up. It's a sunny day and there are people everywhere and if you're not terrified, then you must be one of them.

I am addressing you.

It's a short walk down SW 4th Ave. At the courthouse, there are bodies littering the sidewalk, the gutters and even spilling into the street. They're sleeping, and it's a form of protest, I'm told. I don't know the nuances of it because I don't care. I understand not wanting a home, and I understand not having one. I slept outside for years, sometimes in tanks, sometimes in tents, sometimes in graveyards. Sleeping on the sidewalks in a busy downtown area seems like vagrancy to me, criminal nearly, this is no protest. I think the best protest of all is apathy. That's right, apathy. There is no possible way to change things, not by voting one dirty bastard in over another, not by sleeping on the sidewalk, not by signing petitions. There are but two pursuits in life: making love and marking art. I believe this is all there is, and if one cannot do either of those, then do what your dad told you to do and go to work and make some money.

The girls look good. They seem all very well put together: well dressed, made up. They come complete with shopping bags. The names and corporate colors are logos on overstuffed bags and in a way, these girls are more refreshing than the bums at the courthouse. These girls reek and stink of perfume, and in a way, the gorilla underarms of the protesters aren't so offensive.

Clipboards. Clipboards. Clipboards. Save the whales. Save the planet. Save the children. Sign. Sign. Sign. Legalize dope. Create jobs. Save this, save that, sign here. Moving though “clipboard corners” is like navigating through a mine field. And the clipboarders are not alone. There are very unattractive people who look like the living dead waiting for the bus. I suspect that they wait for the bus because they are unable to walk. They're fat. They sport the look of the monster truck rally: they all have either fucked up teeth, fucked up eyes or fucked up hair. And of course, everyone out here has more tattoos than the Marines who took Iwo Jima.

Just from the looks on everyone's faces I suspect that no one is paying attention. I suspect rampant drug use. I see the meth people, they're everywhere. But the people on pills are a little harder to see. And I suspect everyone as being dumb. I ask myself: why would someone teach these people to talk, if they refused to teach them to read? It's harsh, I know, but here we are on any given day moving through town.

Then there are the snippets of conversation. Buzz words include: justice, cost, welfare, change. And these discussions are not the worst. Every other person is bent over some small device, thumbs out and back arched. This is not good.

Then, I see her. She is a placid, perfect being. She does not belong. Her face has relaxed, her posture is good, erect. She is human being, and she is a human being. In her hands she holds a book. I've read this book too, and I'm excited for her that she's reading it now. She is the eye of the hurricane. She is perfection in the midst of the Philistines. They do not see her. Two steps later, I've past her and I'm back into the fold of reality tv, fast food and the current pandemic of starvation and over-consumption.

I hear the voice underneath the hiss of the light rail. It's there, only faint underneath the din of the clipboarders. The light changes and I scuffle across the street like a naked hermit crab, I scurry like everyone else. Just inside the next corner, there's another one. This one strums a guitar and she sings. She sings. I slow down my march and listen. Her voice is mighty angelic, her voice is strong, but not strong enough to overcome the plight of modern life. I root around in my pockets. I have some money. I've kept it away from the panhandlers, the government and various other corrupt institutions. I heard the song of an eyeless man on the Mexico City Metro one morning in my youth. I have given money to street musicians ever since.

The plot thickens. From the 6th floor on one side of town where I am a writer to the 30th floor opposite where I am a waiter I only needed to go 17 blocks. If this 17 blocks is not an indication of the trouble we're in, I don't know what is. I've meandered, marched and sauntered, walked through the living dead, through the small minded, through the slaughter. I saw an artist and I saw a reader. I know not all is lost.

But the Philistines have gained ground. Sadly, I depend on them. I wear my white uniform and serve them. And in my time as waiter, I have overheard thousands of conversations. God and tv and business and money and blah, blah, blah. There are no social issues. There are those who do, those who did and those who want. I don't know when the Philistines took over, but someday they'll lose.

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