Shadow and Echo (and Bonus!)
Oddly, this is the second post of this blog though it appears first. I started this article, saved this space, and then created the video post of “I don’t know how you live there.” which has some nice moments in it, I think. I’ve also had some feedback on that posting which I want to respond to here before we get on to “Shadow and Echo
The first, and most consistent, complaint was that I was obviously reading the text and did not maintain eye contact. This happened for several reasons, not the least of which are the number of posts I written in the last year and the impossibility of memorizing all of them, I am not a professional actor used to studying lines and last, and most importantly, my wish to remain as true as possible to the text of the post so the video is reflective of both the spirit, in the visual, and the nuance, in the audio. The name “Shadow and Echo” is derived from the frustration, as a writer, of actually presenting the ideas as they appear in my head having always to settle for the shadow of the thought and the echo of the words that might best represent them.
The second complaint was I breathe, mainly, through my right nostril, which is a clever observation, and true, so kudos for picking up on that. I have a deviated septum, and not the fun kind, I got as a sophomore in high school playing football. When it happened I went over to the sidelines, the coach straightened it out (for the most part) and I went back in-it was only the 3rd quarter. Not so much an artistic success, though functional, and is really only noticeable when I breathe which I stubbornly insist on doing.
The third thing was I was asked if I wore a white eyeshadow or concealer. No to both, I am as I appear which brings me to the body of this post.
About two weeks ago I happened to meet a very lovely, personable young lady named Cheryl. I suspect she was multi-racial, mocha colored skin but with naturally straight hair and European features. She was very striking to me, deep, loving eyes and a button nose, none of which I noticed at first because she had vitiligo. Given her much deeper skin tone, hers was much more prominent than mine and she seemed surprised when I shook her hand, holding it just long enough for her to look down at my hand and see it. She didn’t quite smile but she plainly relaxed. We spoke for about 20 minutes, she was a juvenile probation officer and was just promoted. I said “It must be nice to not have to deal with the public so much,” to which she reflexively answered, “No, I don’t mind that…” and a couple of seconds later, admitted, “Yeah, and I got a nice raise!” with a giggle.
Though my skin tone is more olive the white is obvious to the point that I’ve had people not shake my hand, reach for the anti-bacterial lotion (in front of me) and the worst, therefore my favorite, was a Baptist minister who while shaking my hand said, “(Whoa) Trouble with your skin, eh?” The look on his face was priceless: a combination of fear and disgust. I replied, “So, you’re a minister?” to which he answered, “Retired.” I responded, “Well, good for you. You’ll get to sit up front in Heaven.” leaving it at that and finally releasing his hand.
Is it wrong to terrorize stupid people?
Somehow, somewhere, the correlation was made between vitiligo and AIDS but there is none. Both are auto-immune disorders but vitiligo is not contagious in any fashion. You have as much chance of catching my sense of humor or my cunning green eyes as my vitiligo, so relax. If I was contagious, I wouldn’t offer my hand to you and people forget what a handshake means: an offer of trust on a basic level.
A couple of days ago, I was talking to a friend about another friend. He said to me he was afraid he had offended her by snubbing her at a party because, well, she has some troubles (not like mine) and he didn’t quite know how to relate to her, so he avoided her. He asked if she noticed and I said, “Sure, you always notice but you understand. That’s not to say it’s okay to do it, but being different makes you better, more forgiving, stronger. You reflexively think “That’s okay, they don’t get it.” but you can’t help thinking less of the person.
I suppose it’s like being a minority. People have prejudices based on racial stereotypes and respond to them instinctively, rarely examining them for validity. You know how you feel about racists. That’s how people who are different feel about others who don’t examine their actions.
You think it’s hard being one color, try being two.”
When I said that I stopped myself and smiled because he’s bi-racial though he identifies as black. I said, “You know what I mean…” as he smiled. I continued, “You’ll do better next time, you’re a good man. Don’t worry about it.”
When I spoke later to her, I told her our conservation and she had noticed and understood. At the end I looked up at her and said “You know, honey, you hang around with me long enough and you forget one of the most basic things: “normal” people suck!” which made her laugh and that was the point after all.
Emerging Trends in Devolution.
(What follows is a series of off-topic and off-color remarks about current events. If such things offend you stop watching and reading now: I’m warning you, I don’t want to hear any complaints later. As with most topical subjects, I imagine these remarks will date themselves rather quickly and will be deleted at that time.)
When I was 16, my best friend and I snuck into the pool area at the local Holiday Inn. Rumor had it, once you where there, you could get served, pool-side, with no questions asked and that sounded good to us on a hot June day.
Now my friend was a very mild teenager so when came running up to me, freaked-out, saying “We’ve got to leave right now!” I immediately thought the police were carding people or some similar miscarriage of justice was afoot, and I bolted to my feet grabbed my possessions and my drink before even asking him what was up.
“That guy up there” he said pointing to the third floor,” was looking at me and I think he’s JERKING OFF!”
“Where is he? I’m going to KICK HIS ASS!” I said in full fury.
And my friend points.
At which point, I started laughing that my friend thought I was serious, setting my stuff back down, taking a sip of my drink. “You know, man,(it was the 70’s)I was talking to your mom before we came over and she said the doctor didn’t spank you when you were born because he thought you’d taken enough of a beating, that you saw your reflection and started crying on your own.”
“Yeah,fuck..” he started.
I cut him off, “I’ve known you since kindergarten, so believe me when I tell you, you are one homely, repellent motherfucker. You’re about six feet away from me and I’m not even looking at you, I’d rather look at the Sun. Did you ever think he’s looking at the girls?” There were several and they were attractive, but not overly so. “We’re not going anywhere (which was true, I was driving) so wrap up in a towel, you fucking prude.”
(We cussed a lot.)
That moment was memorable for several reasons: the only other time I can remember him being upset I related in “The Squirrel Case”, it was the first time I can remember a person being freaked-out about masturbation and, most importantly, it was at that time I finished my first mixed drink, a tequila sunrise, which I remember as being equal parts strong and fruity.
Part of the reason I found my friend’s reaction so comical was my longstanding belief that his calm demeanor stemmed from chronic, furious self-abuse that only ended with his brief appearances in public.
The other part of the reason was if some guy was looking at boys, how dare my friend assume that guy wasn’t looking at me, I mean you don’t get a handle like “the Tomcat” unless you’ve got it going on.
(or you give it to yourself.)
I guess I just don’t care about whether some one’s getting off to my picture, which is why I posted some at Facebook, leading mostly to friend requests from dudes, though I would be less than honest if I didn’t acknowledge several requests from ladies in the 900 area code.
Oh, yeah, I still got it.
I realize that this is anecdotal but this is the only other person I’ve ever known that was that uptight, a persistent, unrepentant masturbator. I never thought I’d have to say this but: (a) I guess dirty lust is only properly expressed in the bonds of holy matrimony, and (b) Tea Partiers, keep your laws off my body.
Notice how I didn’t mention any names, don’t feel I have to, as that person has so closely linked that concept to themselves that the two have become one in my mind which I would assume is an unintended consequence. Or is it?
God, I miss the 80’s! That was a simple time full of simple people. So easy to herd…
EVERYBODY at least flirted with witchcraft and, once they’d scared the Bejesus out of themselves, became born-again Christian Nazi’s. Most women will wait until you accuse them of being a witch before they deny it and I don’t understand it because witches are hot, especially good witches, you know Samantha Stevens and all. I saw a woman admit she was a good witch on tv and a few minutes later twitched her nose. And then she sneezed which isn’t that great of a magic trick nor all that spellbinding either but at least she was trying to project power. I get why women relate to witches, too, it’s a lack of role models. It’s like all black kids want to grow up to be the President, now.
I just don’t understand how these people think they’re going to stuff that genie back in the bottle, that isn’t the way the world works, hence the expression. Is the current mode of American democracy tending toward totalitarianism. fascism, violence and extremism? Is that how to get the genie back in, make the outside world intolerable?
Maybe I’m on to their master plan.
I have to say, I respect the passion of the Tea Baggers misguided as it is. I hope they stay with it until they actually have some idea of what they’re talking about mainly so they can look back at these times with regret. Cognitive dissonance being what it is, I doubt that will ever happen, however.
I’ve believe that America became an oligopoly with Reagan. With each passing year I keep hoping to be proven wrong, hoping that more people will wake up, realize the class war has already started and the poor are being pitted against the poor with the wealthy always winning. I think that Reagan getting away with Iran-Contra signaled the conservatives how easily manipulated, and disconnected, the electorate had become and from that point it was full speed ahead with whatever short-term gain agenda they could concoct. We are so deep in these agenda we can’t even remember where and when they started. At least some blame for this must fall to the liberals for being so intolerably bad at communicating the end these means pointed to. I accept my blame for going to sleep for 30 years, politically, and not speaking up. For what it’s worth, I’m saying now I regret not participating in the dissent in those years, forcefully, with whatever voice I would have brought. It was the wrong thing to do, to give up, and I ‘m sorry.
What has sprung from those seeds is a regressive culture which is seen as beneficial to a electorate overwhelmed with information and only wants peace and prosperity in their lives. All they have to say is, “Follow me, I’ll make life simple again and you’ll be happier.” and that really does sound good, doesn’t it? You will have to overlook the fascist nature of the offer and accept the reality of the world they continually reference, the hallowed 50’s, when white America ruled supremely and the disenfranchised were kept in ghettos. I guess that’s okay with you if they are “doing that in the name of Christ” but I don’t think you realize they want to keep all but the most wealthy in that ghetto.
To top it all off, these reactionaries won’t be satisfied with consolidating wealth and power, they also have to push an agenda of puritanical values that enter every area of life while simultaneously declaring their love of small government. How does that lead to small government? By the same type of math that lowers taxes and the deficit: defective and manipulative math.
Steep your tea-bags in that.