This is me

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This picture is not me; it’s just really cool.

Two nights of uninterrupted sleep. I’m finally on the mend. Still spewing a rainbow of colors out of every orifice, but it’s less than it was. And I can stay awake for the entire day without a nap. Definite improvement.

Ran into a hiccup with immigration. They sent forms, we’re preparing answers. I don’t like that the process is held up, don’t like not having every t crossed or i dotted. Don’t like the fact my ID card is out of date, as is the stamp on my passport. Don’t like being told ‘relax, everything will be fine’ when it’s clearly not.

But I’m hanging on.

Tonight is the long awaited theatre group meeting. So, naturally, we’re inundated with rain. Wet, wet, wet – it’s been banging on the window since I went to bed. To add to my list of things I don’t like right now, I don’t like the idea of having to walk in this wet weather when I’m still not 100% healthy. I’m also in a bit of a dither over the meeting itself. What’s going to happen tonight? Will I get blown off? Again? My mind wants to take it to the extremes. Keep pulling myself back to the now, telling myself to allow things to happen rather than try to predict the future.

Heard from an online friend. We ‘met’ over ten years ago. Been correspondents ever since. He seems a decent enough guy. But it’s been since before the election that I heard from him. Wise man; he was anti-Hillary. Not that I was pro-Hillary; I wasn’t. I was (and am) anti-Trump. Still. He mentioned it, in passing – the whole election, the huge divide the country faces right now – and he said ‘I didn’t know what we were getting into’. Now how the hell am I supposed to say anything to that? Tough titties, dude? It’s one of those you made your bed now sleep in it times. Frankly I think anyone who didn’t work to stop that asshole deserves whatever the fuck they get. Unfortunately, all my friends who failed to stop 45 are also suffering, and that I don’t like to see.

Too bad the world won’t accept the idea of refugees out of America. They should; it’s far from free, and far from a pleasant place to live. But everyone buys the Friends myth: that yes, you can all live in a place like New York working on a barista’s salary. You can all have your hair done at expensive salons, wear the latest fashion, go out, buy things on minimum wage. Yeah (oh, and the apartments are big and rat and cockroach free). The same people also feel real bad about the gang on Gilligan’s Island. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of people out there like that. I’ve met people from around the world who absolutely 100% believe in the American dream – even when I, a native, born and bred, tell them what I’ve experienced. I understand how that happens. I had a very naive idea about what Middle Eastern countries were like, until I began to meet people who lived there. All I ever saw on the news was desert nations, desert cities. Dust. A scraggly tree standing somewhere, small and alone. I didn’t know about the forests, the mountains, the rivers and lakes. No one ever talked about them. No one ever showed them.

What we need right now (and feel free to take the idea and run with it) is a Video Free America. A place where ordinary people could post real videos of real places. Show the slums, the ghettos, the inner cities that look like they were hit by bombs. Show the abject poverty in the countryside. Tell your stories about not being able to afford health care, food, clothing. Talk about the long waits in government offices. Show the cost of food, the cost of things. Really and truly – not the Hollywood version. Because no one out here knows. No one out here can even begin to fathom how much you pay for anything. The only thing on par with costs in the US is rent. And even in that category, I’ve seen nothing in the EU that can touch the high rental costs of America. Not when hovels in the US cost so much, and equivalent rental costs on the continent give you a clean and safe living space. And let’s talk about public transport. I know there are trains in the Eastern US, even light rails in some cities. But can you hop on ANY public transport near your home and take it to the furthest reaches of your own country? I can. I can get to any place on the planet from where I live. Hop the metro, three stops to the train, two stops to Rotterdam Central, and from there the world is mine. Hell’s bells! Do you even HAVE public transport where you live?

…The core of me is so sick with the actions of the elite. Not just now, but always. Still reading Tolstoy, and a few chapters last night mentioned the annual income of some of the characters. Hundreds of thousands a year – and that’s during the 1800s. Imagine. I don’t care what currency you’re talking about; that’s a LOT of money. More than anyone needs. I’ve heard all the arguments: these elites are the patrons, the ones who paid the merchants and workers to make fine things, thus giving them an income and a ‘leg up’ in the world. That’s propaganda. It was the rich pissing on everyone’s heads back then, and it’s the rich pissing on everyone’s heads now.

Too political? Perhaps. It is my heritage.

The one thing I find is that the more I hear – excuses, lies, taunts – the more intransigent I become. It is not the higher path. I know that. But I will not climb back into my cave. I will not re-learn to fear what need not be feared. I will not re-learn to hate what need not be hated.

Been looking for the upside of 50+, and maybe this is it: the surety to stand by my convictions. The firm knowledge of what I’ll take and what I won’t take. There’s a quiet calmness that comes with it. Do what you will; my mind is already made up. And that part of me, that ‘last inch’ as the film V for Vendetta called it, you cannot touch.

This is me.

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