Monday, September 17, 2001

returning to normalcy

yes, taking our mayor's advise (remember when it used to feel like an order coming from his lips?), I have tried to return to some normal things - brunches, a date that included sex ( my 4th one of 2001, so maybe that isn't the norm), playing Bjork's Vespertine again ( I didn't want to associate my recent thoughts and feelings with her beautiful music, but it's been soothing in a way I hadn't anticipated).......

but I feel challenged by the advice to return to normalcy, I don't want it to mean simply returning to all the stuff I used to do, say, and think. I want a new normalcy, one where I am not so judgmental of other people, where I have more patience, where my perspective is more global and encompassing of other people's needs and feelings; one where I think before I speak and act, where I figure out a job or career that isn't simply paying the bills, but a daily act of contributing to "the greater good"; where "born again" doesn't make me automatically think of the hateful Falwells and Robinsons, but of the Political Science teacher, self-described Born Again (but also a Marxist), who inspired me to be a better person; where i can walk into a Catholic Church like I did last Friday and see real, regular caring people, not just wrong or misguided notions aimed at my sexuality; where my impulse to volunteer, and help out, is frequent and followed though on, and not just when something happens in my backyard.

walking with a buddy in the neighborhood, having discussed, argued, and struggled with what all this means, we came upon several folks "hawking" American flags; I said to him - "please don't let me say something awful" - knowing that he, like me, is not a flag-waver - and he simply said "everyone's gotta make a living" and we walked past...... and then we laughed that one block down, someone selling drugs to school children wouldn't even have gotten our attention, let alone concern or outrage. Folks in the park were inadvertantly displaying the flag, as the New York Times had a full-page version on the last page of it's Sunday's first section (paid for by K-Mart, with "instructions" if you can believe it!)

I can't imagine wearing or waving, or displaying a flag, but as this man has so wisely said, who am I to judge where people find their comfort. Me, I've thought about an I LOVE NEW YORK t-shirt, because, of course, i do (heart) N Y, and I love what it represents. What is it, 160, 180 languages spoken in these 5 borroughs? It was the WORLD Trade Center, ferchrissakes! People from all over were in there, and affected directly and indirectly..... people in other parts of the world, who may even hate our government, can be just as savvy as the rest of us in terms of distinguishing between governments and multinational corporations and regular joe's going to work and trying to provide for their families having this awful tragedy happen to them.....

blah blah, exhausted yet again, somehow this Elvis Costello song, written by Nick Lowe, from way way back in the 70's, seems fitting as I need something LOUDER and more THUMPING to think about......

As I walk through this wicked world,
Searching for light in the darkness of insanity.
I ask myself, "is all hope lost?
Is there only pain and hatred and misery?"
And, each time I feel like this inside,
There's one thing I want to know.
What's so funny 'bout peace, love and understanding?
Oh, what's so funny 'bout peace, love and understanding?

And, as I walk on through troubled times,
My spirit gets so downhearted sometimes.
So, where are the strong?
And, who are the trusted?
And, where is that harmony? (Sweet harmony)
'Cause each time I feel it slipping away,
Just makes me want to cry
What's so funny bout peace, love and understanding?
Oh, what's so funny 'bout peace, love and understanding?