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New Summer, New Freedom

Photo by Pedro Szekely

Photo by Pedro Szekely

I miss that “school’s out” feeling. You remember the one. It began to wash over you the morning you awoke on that last day of school and slowly settled in and warmed your whole body as the day progressed. Everyone was abuzz with excitement and relief, even the teachers, and as you walked off campus for the last time that year, there seemed to only be possibilities. Somehow with that final bell you were more free than you had been since you could remember. When that bell rung, time ceased to exist and summer began.

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Cadillac Envy

She looked just like this.

She looked just like this.

My first car was my great grandma’s ’83 Cadillac Coupe de Ville. Yes, I was spoiled. While my contemporaries inherited much newer, more practical, reliable cars— think Corollas, Civics, and the like—I got the Caddy. It was passed on after my Great Grandma Beulah’s death and I was honored to take the keys.

The year was 1996. I was entering my senior year in high school and I had just gotten my license. No one had a car like that. All white on the outside, white walls, white leather interior, with burgundy trim, wood paneling inside, 3 (yes 3!) ashtrays and lighters (one for each passenger in the back seat), digital controls for the thermostat/radio, and seating for six. Looks were just one thing. This car was like a scud missile. Being heavier than most modern trucks, it just floated on the road, quiet as hell, and although its 8-cylinder engine could barely get the tonnage moving, once you got going, momentum and inertia took care of the rest. It was easy to hit 90 on the freeway and barely notice.

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Friday

Chunky Chocolate on the radio

Door’s open, come in.

Stolen couch, well, not stolen, re-appropriated

sit.

 

Week’s done, what’s going on?

Oh man, Funk oozes

Hungry.

Grab a tray, grab a bowl, pile it on.

Where’s that at, what time?

Her smile laughs, he sits down

Next to him and her and him

share.

 

Let’s roll; see you there.

We breathe in the night and exhale youthful adventures

Window’s down, volume’s up.

I think I saw you there

You laughed at me.

Take some

Leave some

together.

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Spanked by Jesus

Why do American’s have such a short-term memory and lack of patience? Is it exclusive to our country or is it a global problem? Is it generational? Can we blame it on technology and the faster flow of information which fosters that need for instant gratification? So then, is it a first-world problem?

Maybe if many of us didn’t have everything at our fingertips we wouldn’t take what we have for granted. Maybe if more of us had to wait for food or medical attention we would have more patience. You may see where this is going, but I’m about to shit all over the last elections, so if you don’t want to hear it, just go ahead and hit the back button on your browser now.

It seems to me there were possibly three things at work in this mid-term election that caused the scales to tip back to Republican/conservative control:

  1. Some people who voted for Obama and the Democrats in 2008 changed their minds.
  2. Some people—particularly minorities and younger voters—simply didn’t vote.
  3. Jesus hates us.

Now some of you may be saying, “Hey, that #3 isn’t true. Jesus loves the Republicans. After all, they do everything in his name and that’s why they won.” To this I reply, no, they do everything in the name of the Almighty Dollar and credit their higher power to appeal to the more ignorant voters out there. There is nothing in this country that isn’t ultimately driven by money. This applies to Democrats too, of course, but at least they don’t typically say God/The Bible/The Baby Jesus/etc. are telling them to do XYorZ. (Don’t worry, I’ll get back to this amazing point later in this post.) But first…

1. Some people who voted for Obama and the Democrats in 2008 changed their minds.

This is possible but why? They voted for Obama because after the dismal state the Bush administration left us in, these people were ready for a change and they felt Obama could be that change. The Republicans set America’s agenda for 8 years, leaving us in one of the biggest steaming piles of feces we’ve ever been in, and somehow, there’s people out there that believe Obama and the Democrats should have done more in only 2 years to warrant another vote.

This seems to me to be shear ignorance. If you don’t have the attention span to pay attention to your future, you should definitely go to http://whatthefuckhasobamadonesofar.com/ to get things distilled down for you. I think it’s clear Obama has made more progress in 2 years than even the Amazing Almighty George Bush Jr. did in 8. And remember people, Bush was just a figurehead, so you can’t blame everything on that man. He was backed by Republicans, the same Republicans that are gaining political ground.

2. Some people—particularly minorities and younger voters—simply didn’t vote.

This must be true because without these votes, how did Obama and the Democrats gain control in the first place? And now, without these votes, their support and control is slipping. I think for these groups mid-term elections don’t seem as important, so maybe it’s not worth it to them to vote. But I also saw a poll that said many younger voters who voted for Obama didn’t believe he was doing enough and/or didn’t care enough to vote (approval down from 58% to 49%). This is probably because they haven’t actually worked very hard in their entire, privileged lives and therefore have no concept of how much work anything takes. I’ve held a job since I was 11 (even before the legal age of 12) and no, I don’t know what it takes to pull a country out of a depression or a war. But I sure as hell know it takes more than 2 years, and even so, I see the improvements in financial accountability/responsibility, health care, environmental awareness/concern, and job creation that the Democrats’ agenda has created in just 2 years. So yeah, I’m a younger, minority voter and I got my ass out there to vote and keep the momentum going. Too bad more of my peers didn’t.

3. Jesus hates us.

This is just true. Or, if you prefer to think of him as an omniscient parental figure, then he’s whoopin our collective ass, and hopefully this is a lesson where pain and fear get the lesson across, and not just something that scars us for life.

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Mind Altering

We sought shelter in coffee shops and later in bars. Same idea, different drinks I guess. We had our inner circle but being in public opened up possibilities; connecting with people that weren’t part of the original plan, as if we actually had a plan. It was before text messages, Twitter, My Space, and Facebook, and our social networks were old school. We rolled down windows, shouted out, made eye contact, and used tongues, not finger tips. But I was always eager to move beyond these confined social spaces. I guess I felt our spirits went beyond what was being served. I always craved the open spaces or the ocean and the sand to absorb what we had.

My drug was the night. The inner circle left the coffee shop and drove to the over pass. We parked and walked under, into the open reserve to open skies and stars, cool air, and heightened senses. I didn’t want to dull my senses, I wanted them turned on. I wanted our minds to be stimulated by what we heard and smelled and felt, not just what we saw. We used to tread over grassy hills and under oak trees and our only concern was the night ranger that rarely came. Being outside gave us the opportunity to really hear each other which led us to really talk to each other. It was as if we had to get out in the open to be open. I learned more and shared more on these nights than I did in a year of daytime conversations.

Then the spaces changed. There were house parties, more drugs, and of course bars. And though I enjoyed the social lubricant of alcohol, I was still drawn to something larger. I didn’t want drugs that made me see colors or images that weren’t normally there. I didn’t see why I needed that when there were plenty of naturally occurring mind-fucks like fear and love and people you didn’t understand, and I knew I hadn’t even begun to experience these.

I used to drive around in the early morning hours by myself, listening to The Roots, and when I thought of something that I was afraid of I went to it. I would drive to the beach by myself and walk across the sand, defenseless, with my sight dulled by darkness and my hearing rendered useless by deafening waves. I would walk to the water line and imagine all the scary shit out there, then walk slowly into the freezing water up to my knees. I would stand there, alone, the ocean swirling around me and only the stars to watch over me. I imagined jelly fish and sharks and weird squishy things. I would stand there even though my whole body was screaming for me to run back to the dry sand, up the hill to the safety of the street and my car. But I resisted cause I was high; I was fucked up on fear. I was afraid as shit but I stayed with it and then calmly walked away. Talk about mind altering.

Just about everyone I know has done more drugs than me and I really have no problem with that. We still go to coffee shops and bars, and some of us still do plenty of drugs. I know that has its place. But as I watch my kids grow up I’m constantly reminded of how rich reality is and I’m not ready to let it go or be afraid of it or start living distantly. I want to really be in it, right up to my knees, with the ocean in front of me and only the stars above.

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