I don’t watch the news–the news is depressing. It’s one bad story after another, and the points of importance are pushed aside for the next sensational headline.
Instead I follow stories. I try to understand the exposition, the unwritten prologue, the implications of chapter three, the critical reviews of the page-turning epilogue. And lately, I’ve been reading from a new library–rather than merely perusing the shelves of LGBT identity, Jewish / American intersectionality, and the occasional op-ed on immigration, redistricting, and presidential campaigns, lately I’ve been reading about race.
Here I’ve found more stories, maybe, than I bargained for (and as I write this, I’m reminded of some good advice to beware of the danger of a single story): there are tragedies with names like Travon Martin, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice; settings as varied as McKinney and Ferguson and Baltimore; and narratives simple and complex, like Black Lives Matter.
But the story today that’s swimming through my newsfeed is none of these.
I was walking across campus–I leave for Alaska in 36 hours, and with advising, doctor’s appointments, and laundry to do, I know precisely where all my time must go–when I was approached by a woman handing out flyers for an event tonight.
“Have you heard about the Sexperiment?” she asked.
In the absence of time, Einstein postulated in a quote I recall only in spirit, everything would happen at once. It was in this turbulent void of happening that I found myself moments ago speaking with a good friend, telling him I just don’t care.
I’ve reached that point, I told him, where I’m overwhelmed and just can’t care anymore. My entire emotional response system has shut down. It happens from time to time. I’ll rest, get things back in order, and start to care again–but that will come tomorrow or the day after, and I’m not looking forward right now, not today.
But are we surprised? Aren’t we all gazing back today?
I must confess. I’m not entirely honest. I don’t deceive, not intentionally at least, but I usually know a thing or two more than I let on. It helps me hold onto something, a sliver of control, a ground wire to make sure I don’t shock myself by coming to a dead end. If I don’t have the whole picture, I hide the pieces I have in pursuit of those I need to hold. When it’s all put together, and I meet someone, I don’t enlighten them. They need to come to it on their own, I might say, or it’s better to wait–maybe what I think is whole isn’t whole yet.
It’s not exactly deception. It’s not exactly honesty either.
As many of you may know, there’s been a couple people on campus that have made this semester hell. I mentioned their backstabbing in “Awfully Whetted Strife” where I discussed how my very sense of trust has been injured. In a few words I expressed my rising indignation over the one of them in “The Man Who Lied to My Face.” You don’t need to read those, not unless you want to, but it’s worth knowing how long this has been going on.
My thanks to the man who lied to my face. His sniggering tone and that smirk he showed me made me feel deep inside those recesses of my intuition the falseness of his words. He could not fool me–but I would not be fooled into false understanding. I sought out sources stronger than his sordid sounds and confirmed my suspicions: That to my face he had spoken with such falseness not even the devil himself would have found it fit to speak.
Riddle me this: How can you tell me one moment you don’t care what I do, that it’s my own business and the government shouldn’t stop me, but then tell me you support legislation that takes away my rights? How can you tell me that you oppose the amendment, but you’re going to vote in favor of it? How can you tell me we’re all sinners and in an instant reduce my entire life to one of your misjudged laws?
Ah, Politicians! How art thine lies construed?
Shouldn’t a want for less legislation put you against these bills? Shouldn’t stating you don’t care cause you to favor equal rights? How is it you can speak one thing while looking me in the eyes and moving your hands in another? I just don’t understand. How can you argue in favor of personal rights and then vow to abolish them?
I don’t understand.
Republicans. The sad part is I don’t completely disagree with them, their goals and values, but the more I learn about the party–the more I deal with them daily–the less I think I could ever stand behind them.
Some of my favorite artists are the Cranberries, Ingrid Michaelson, and Company of Thieves. I grew up to the tunes of Enya, Jewel, and Lisa Loeb. The edgiest thing I listened to for a long time was Alanis Morissette. It’s not much a surprise really: I’m generally a gentle guy, calm and peaceful, quiet and contemplative.
But I’m also a Gemini.
The irony is that my first love of song that breached this facade itself means to fade away–and yet they have remained a staple of my soundtrack ever since.
Classroom Mores: Why It’s Easy to Deviate in College
My deviant act developed entirely by accident, which not only makes for a fun story to tell, but also reinforces how breaking even the smallest expectations is a form of deviance: One Tuesday in history class, I sat a few seats up from where I normally sit.
My intentions were in themselves fueled by ulterior motives (I wanted to sit closer to a classmate I found attractive), and I deviated further to keep my true intentions unknown. When the girl I normally sit in front of asked why I moved away, I did not want to reveal myself, so I instead said I wanted to switch things up for the day, maybe see if our teacher would notice.
That did it. My classmate grinned and had a great idea—we would all switch seats today! She changed seats, as did a couple others, and after they had all moved, everyone else moved as well until no one was sitting in their usual seats.