I found this in a repertoire of old writings, a true story which I wrote down after I came home from it. This is about two years old, so it is a little immature (although don't quote me on that, I'll fiercely deny ever being immature). It's only been edited for syntax, links and such.

Don't expect to read about anything grand, anything that will at least attempt to actually liberate me from this self-consuming Leviathan that is the society we live in. I do simple deeds of deconstruction, a little bit of anarchy here and there. I try to tell myself that I'm putting that one grain of sand in the mechanism, that one that will make it grind one day, overheat and, hopefully, explode, but in reality I'm just too much of a coward to go all-out.
What symbolizes our society more than the daily routine of going to work to consume to work to consume to work and die? And within that routine, what better symbol is there than the commute, especially mass transit, and especially the subway? We've all seen those accelerated videos of masses of working men and women streaming through the hallways and in the trains to and from work, where whatever little identity we had is totally consumed in an ever-moving colorful mass of nothingness.
At the subway station I get off at to go home, there are three doors that you have to walk through to get out in the open. I don't know how it is in other subways around the world but in this particular line you have to actually push the door to get out (which isn't always the case). Anyway, at my subway station, one day the door in the middle refused to work as well as it used to.
As I walked up the stairs, I could see some business woman pushing it once, giving up and moving on to the next. Then, as networked automats would, the crowd split in halves and everyone started streaming through the two other doors. You can expect what I did, I tried my hand at the middle door, and it wouldn't give in. I took a step backwards and rammed it with my shoulder, at which point it easily gave in, the mechanism was just a bit rusty, and it could be opened after all.
For weeks I kept pushing my way through that door while everyone left out through the easier doors, until someday someone filed some form and some workers were dispatched to oil the door up or something and it went as smoothly as the others, and I stopped caring about the whole thing.
Until, yesterday, I came home and found that, this time, the door had been surrounded with flashy green and white tape.
Everyone was walking through the other doors. However, I reached through the tape and pushed the door. It opened without resistance. I muttered something about Franz Kafka and stepped over the tape, walking through that door, and climbing my way through more tape on the other side. Sure, it was easier through the other doors, but that kind of statement is my way of de-guilting myself about being a productive, consuming member of this society I claim to despise.
Anyway, tonight I come home, and I see some pieces of torn off green and white tape, only to see it replaced by more red and white tape. I tried the door again and again it functioned perfectly. I cursed and then began to tear the tape off. I walked out the door and began tearing off more tape in a quite comical way since the long bits of tape were spiraling in the wind and I desperately tried to grab it and tear it all. When I finally did, I spun round and saw that a cashier or something (guy who sells tourists three day tickets in garbled English) had been staring at me from inside his bulletproof box.
I had been planning to anyway, I walked up to the box, still clenching flashy ribbons of tape, and said "The door works perfectly fine."
"Who do you think you are to tear off that tape?"
"Who cares, the door works perfectly fine."
"The tape's been put there for a reason. You don't know what it is."
"Do you?"
A beat.
"You can't tear that tape off like that."
"Why not? All that matters is if the door is working or not, not that some guy who works here had a reason to put tape around it."
"You don't know why that tape's been put here, you can't tear it off."
For some obscure reason I felt like I was talking to a wall so I walked off, throwing the tape in a trash can. As I walked away I heard him say that next time action would be taken.
I like to think what I did was also a symbol of what I think we should do, i.e., some playful and ironic deconstruction of authority in the little things.
At least for a start.

Now that I look back on this, I can't help but feel condescending sympathy for my former thoughts and this angsty, post-modernistic bullshit story. At the same time, I can't help but see that it's still more mature than the usual angsty crap you get from the typical teenager. I can see seeds of the more nuanced views I now hold. I will probably feel the same when I look down on my current writings some time from now.

At the time, I was mentored by a philosophy professor from the far left end of the political spectrum, and not only does this story reflect the anarchistic views I held, but that I also still hold, in a way. Before being taught by a far lefty I was also mentored by a far-right philosophy professor and the one thing that this experience has taught me is that every political system is coherent. Each has truths, and I still can't disagree with the basic observations of anarchist authors about what the advent of modernity, an era which I otherwise admire, has done to our personal freedoms.

Now, it does not surprise me so much anymore that such an absurd tape would've been put up. The most likely answer is the fear of litigation from somebody hurt by a malfunctioning door. Contemporary rampant litigation is something which deserves another angry tirade, but I barely considered that motive at the time.

Anyway, this "old" document is what it is. Personally, I actually like it more than I would've thought. What it shows is more than my maturity or lack thereof, or post-modern anarchistic political philosophy. Despite the changes my intellect has gone through in the past years, my character has remained globally the same, and this moment of introspection is also a moment of pride. I consistently show contempt for authority. It is not a contempt born of insecurity, resentment or frustration. Instead, it is a healthy, joyous contempt born from confidence and—if I may say so—superiority to the standards for and by which most of society's meaningless rules have been established.

We make decisions affectively and we justify them later with reason. It never works the other way around, no matter what great lengths we go to to convince ourselves that this illusion is true. A neuropsychologist would tell you that we think that because the center of decision is really in the right side of the brain and the decisions we make there are later wrapped up with logic in the left side. He'd be right, but he'd also be wrong, because a writer born centuries before the word neuropsychology existed knows this and will tell you about it a way which is not just a lot better, but also a lot more useful.

Among the things that happened in the past two years, I moved. The subway station I live by is different, but it still has a set of doors you have to push through. Every once in a while, someone pushes a door, it won't open, so he gives up and goes through the next one. Invariably, I try and open that reluctant door. Invariably, it gives in to even a slight push. If one day one of the doors was taped up, I know that, despite my moving past adolescent ideologies, despite my awareness of rampant litigation, I would behave exactly in the same way that I did two years ago. Today, instead of anarchism, I would find an other ad hoc ideology to wrap my actions around. It doesn't matter. I realize that the more I change, the more I stay the same. For better or for worse, and despite the humility I try to approach life and people with, I am who I am, and if you don't like it you can fuck off. If you put up tape and expect me to respect it for no good reason, only as a societal taboo, you are mistaken. And if you ask me for a reason for ripping that tape off, you won't get a philosophical tirade.

You will get a laugh and a smile.

 

When I arrived at work today I parked in my usual spot, in the alley on the side of the crusty old building. There, on the ground against the wall near where the cars park, were two carefully-placed (i.e. not just flung or dropped from a truck) large red, netted sacks of yellow onions. Not the usual sacks you'd buy at the grocery store. They looked like twenty pound bags of onions.

I have no fucking idea.

I'm thinking I should take up smoking again. I feel like I need that right now, a night in some shitty diner drinking shitty Farmer Brothers coffee, lost in a book and a cloud of fumes.

Or maybe I should go to Europe. I have all this cash, this substantial savings, that was going to buy me a house. But I've dumped my only reason for staying in this dumb town and it seems useless to buy a house here when all I want in the world is to get away. So, to Paris. To Rome. To Moscow or London. Someplace totally different, where he has never been and I won't be reminded.

But maybe I just need a new lifestyle. I could become a gadget whore, regress back to the nineties and carry a messenger bag. Wear my corporate-logo'd geek identity on my sleeve. Subsume myself in an invented subculture to avoid the feelings individual me is having right now.

I could move in with my mom. Although that feels like surrender. I don't feel quite that lost and, if I did, I wouldn't want to admit it.

There's still art school, that rainbow on the horizon I look to when everything else seems ruined. I could pretend to be the reckless hooligan I used to be. But I'd be surrounded by girls the age of the girls he's been fooling around with. What if I end up comparing myself to them, feeling like I'm running out of time? But at least I'd be doing something with the time I've got left.

I need an action. I need a plan to concoct. I've got to get my mind off this. Today. Before it sinks in and I can't do anything but lie in bed.

Stupid stupid stupid I should never have believed him. I should never have loved him.

For those who did not know yet, Hunter S. Thompson has been announced dead. For whatever reason, my first thought was that he probably couldn't bring himself to face another four years under George W. Bush...note that I haven't looked into this yet and the only information i have is that he shot himself....for all I know, this could be entirely accidental, but I doubt it...



On a lighter note, the beagle is debatably a smart or not so smart animal. If a quantity of empty beer bottles are thrown into the commingled recyclables barrel and some stray, possibly weeks-old beer leaks out through the bottom of the barrel, she will quite happily lap it up from the ground until chased away. Then again, if any human is stupid enough to carelessly leave a non-empty open beer he is drinking where she can reach it, she will nose it over, spilling it, and drinking thusly...

Either way, sadly enough, this is also a household pet common to eating its own feces, which is never kept up on being cleaned up by humans when there is a layer of snow present. The alternative is to just stand there, watching the dog and smoking a cigarette, and snapping a "No!" or, when this fails, kicking loose snow in her direction. Wander back inside with her. Wonder on the way in why it is the duty of present humans, even those of us who are only outside in the first place so that we can fry up our lungs without annoying humans inside the house, to discourage an animal from consuming its own waste...



the muddy ground, wet with molten snow -
a surprising comfort to his aching feet,
even through the soles of his vans
....
sitting smoking, reassuring,
reassuring himself:
all will be well the rest of the day.
It has a good ring to it, catchy -
A mantra might it make,
If not for a mental reflex made facial,
a cynical reflex, clicking in!
wiping the smile instantly from his face,
slapping the brain in the head with a cane,
"what a crock!"
leaving his spirits firmly on the ground...
well, at least you tried.



But I enjoyed writing that, so I'm feeling better. Could swear I said 'at least you tried,' earlier today, to someone I know, and the thought of her strange way, actually did get a smile out of me... every day she goes to Panera and they give her a pickle with her sandwich. Every day she smells this pickle and enjoys the smell of pickle, makes a comment about how she wants to like pickles, takes a small bite and makes a face...puts it down, Eventually discards it, is sure one day she will actually like pickles...

One of my earliest memories in childhood is going to my aunt's funeral.

She was the cool aunt, my father's older sister. The only cousins I had were her children, although they were too old to play with the likes of a three year old.

She sort of looked like Eleanor Roosevelt. She was the cool one because she bought me Legos and blocks, and didn't force me to play with dolls or anything else that was girly and consequently not fun.

She died from cancer, some sort of brain tumor. I remember her being bald from chemotherapy. I remember her pirate's eye patch, although I don't know what that was for. I remember her screaming in pain one night.

I remember wearing her favorite dress to the funeral. It was blue, with white polka dots. Not very sad or dark or depressing, but what do you give a three year old to wear to a funeral?

They gave me the scarves she used to wear around her head when she didn't feel like wearing the wigs. I still have most of them 25 years later. Occasionally, I wear one.

The worst part happened a few months after her death. My mom, while holding my hand to cross the street, found a lump on my wrist. I had developed some sort of large (quarter sized) bony mass right under the base of my thumb. We didn't make it to the {candy|corner store], 'cause she rushed me home to call the doctor.

It sort of turned out to be nothing. Neither me or my mom wanted me to have surgery to remove it, even though it was hindering my writing. The doctors really wanted to biopsy it. Somehow, the doctor had convinced my mom that if he could 'pop' the cyst, then it was fine. He grabbed my arm and started pressing as hard as he could down on my 3 year old wrist. My mom tore me out of his grasp and we never went back to that doctor.

My mom, who we call the "great predictor", as she loves to tell you what is going to happen to you, told me that everyone still loved my aunt even though the chemo had taken her hair and such. She told me that because this might happen to me, it was more important to be smart, because that won't be taken away from you.

A few years later, we found more lumps. These ones at the base of my skull. These ones had to be biopsied. They weren't cancerous, but the doctors had convinced my mother that the abnormal growths now didn't necessarily indicate that I was going to die from cancer, but given the history in my family, she should get all of them checked out. When the needle hits the bone at the back of your skull it hurts. It hurts enough to not want your mother to touch you so that she doesn't find something else that needs to be biopsied.

My freshman year of high school: more lumps. These ones had the added bonus that they were on nerves in my lower back. Occasionally, they would press hard enough to cause me to lose sensation in my right leg. They told me to quit physical activity, because the muscles in my back were pushing the cysts into the nerves, and they couldn't remove them because there was a chance that they would accidentally slice into the nerve, rendering me useless as opposed to occasionally useless. No more color guard, no more tennis, in short no more fun.

I don't like to be touched. I don't like getting massages. I don't like going to the doctor. I don't want to have to go through any of this anymore.

I have found another lump. It is still small, but when I look at my face in the mirror, I can see it. Right now it is at my temple, right under the eyepiece of my glasses. Nothing is more bothersome than having the knowledge that you might have to have your face biopsied. I have always known that I got to be smart rather than pretty. But somehow, I feel that I am wrong to be so upset about going to have someone cut into my face to see what is growing underneath it. I spend quality time now trying not to have people notice me.

I guess that I will just have to suck it up. It can be worse.

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