Thursday, August 16, 2012

From San Francisco

I'm propped in my usual spot in the kitchen, the high-tech dishwasher purring sweetly. When it gently pauses between modes the distant growl of trucks or planes eases into the gap.

I'm catsitting for a gamelan acquaintance in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood. Seated on dramatic hills of quiet, upscale residences, it offers me an escape from the presence of others. After a depression scare this morning the sun mercifully appeared, nonchalant about its habitual lateness in these parts. There's nothing that leeches creative energy from my soul like grayness -- a toxic neutrality of weather, soundscape, and effort. Incredulity incarnate.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Ouch: Oppression hurts everyone again

The scene: Rainbow Grocery, at the pasta bulk bins on a early Tuesday afternoon.
Bulk bins at Rainbow
Me, casting about: There aren't any tongs in these bins...
Person next to me talking to a friend about the pastas: Guess not. You can use one of those new plastic bags. Put your hand in it and pick it up, that'll keep things clean.
Me, still casting about: Yeah, but the whole point of this is not to use more plastic.
Person, stopping: That's Earth.
I'd like to believe this person was complimenting my Earth-consciousness. I was a touch low blood sugar at lunchtime, but the disparagement I heard in his voice rang in my ears. He was dismissing my radical eco conservationism as unrealistic -- in the middle of a liberal, worker-owned, eco-conscious store.

And if he weren't an older white man, or if I weren't a younger, smaller brown person of "androgynous" demeanor, he wouldn't have said it. 

And if I haven't been taking "corrections" from miserable, privileged Americans for as long as I can remember, it wouldn't have left me deeply troubled.

If you were to finish writing this scene, how would it go? Would I look directly at the stranger? Say something to him or his friend? Call the attention of other shoppers? Or would I be shocked into silence, twitching around the stab from a sick, consumption-obsessed institution? Give your ending a title and I'll post my favorite to your credit.