The AA did not stand for "Alcoholics Anonymous" but instead it stood for "Anti-Alcohol". They had assembled a small gathering on the second floor of an obscure restaurant that sold burgers with too much mayonnaise. Free t-shirts and sweet tea were passed around by a woman in a hijab, swish swash went her yards of robe as she moved gracefully about.
The distinguished speaker of the night hailed from a university and had prepared an academic presentation of his academic research on the academic correlation between alcohol and crime. His words were impressive, peppered with terminologies, telling of percentages, and ultimately proving after the course of 30 minutes the previously unknown fact that most criminals have, in fact, been found to drink alcohol. Not necessarily before each crime, but in general.
A member of the audience wants to speak, clears his throat, is handed the microphone. He speaks with a volume that is full of conviction. "Everybody knows, young people old people, everybody knows that the country, this country, has conducted a state crime. A state crime, because they have done nothing, they have closed their eyes to this alcohol, they see it as an ordinary thing. But they know that alcohol damages the nerves, the neurons in our body, from top to bottom!"
Another member of the audience rises. He says, "Alcohol destroys a generation, our generation. But the government will do nothing about it because in fact they are siding with the capitalists! They are always siding with the capitalists!". He has frustration in his eyes and anger in his voice.
A man was invited up to the front and introduced as a distinguished member of the parliament. He gave paternal words of support and encouragement for such a worthy cause. His party is perhaps alone in supporting the draft anti-alcohol bill, but with continuous support for his party and God's will, there may be victory yet.
Their lady patron chimes in a closing remark with a moving story. She tells of how she has seen with her very own eyes, kids at the seven eleven buying beer and an energy drink, and then switching the contents of the energy drink bottle with beer. They are in fact drinking beer and we all know that this is a destructive drink and something must be done to stop this continuous degeneration of our generation.
I've always believed that insecurity (against the unfamiliar), plus conviction (at the level of blind faith), plus ignorance (of actual knowledge), equals a sad sad discussion.
Monday, June 3, 2013
A lack of sleep, brilliant skies, my desk so clean and minimalist it has an almost Scandinavian feel to it. I have not been losing sleep over work except if you count the times I worked until midnight because I did not work the day. My eyes are puffy and red today, like I have been crying. But I cannot remember the last time I cried. Oh actually I do. The last time was when I lay in bed thinking about mother, at a different home on the other side of town, and how she must be very very lonely. The guilt was horrible and sad. I cried silently, wishing that I was less loved and less pain-inflicting.
Today my puffy red eyes are without explanation. Probably an allergy, or lack of calcium, or something. Probably the new expensive mascara I wore on the weekend. Lazy morning weekends consisting of closed blinds with no errant sunlight to break my sleep, no other voice to pierce the dark. Flapping about luxuriously in between four squishy pillows and his warm heat. Hugging him, getting uncomfortably warm, turning away and hugging bolster, getting boringly cold, back to hugging him, repeat ad infinitum until I become thirsty or hungry for substantial actual food and not just soul food. My new expensive mascara stares back at me from the morning mirror with a beautifully tragic hangover look that is the result of no hangover whatsoever, just the unfortunate trap of being hugged before I had time to wash my face. Endless sleepless nights just talking and not walking. This tiny paradise where dreams and ideas are made but the effort to materialize them can wait another day.
I get to it eventually, the work that must be done. I am an apparently smart and responsible sort of thing. I can apparently count on my inner panic to settle in at some point to clear the mess that I have made. The contracts, the emails, the press interviews, the magazine shoots of late, the presentation slides for my lecture, the "reach-outs" and "shout-outs". Fine, snap, done, next. I can decide my fate for the day, my clothes to wear, my causes to act upon, without a single intervention and I am liberated to a fault. The only thing standing between me and the thing that I want most is that shadow, that shadow of doubt, that pulsating gloomy mess that shrouds my vision from what I could possibly really want to do.
My sleepless nights are filled with enjoying the moment and dreading the morning. Because the morning is when I have to make decisions. The morning is when I have to tell myself: Go to work. Face the traffic. Stop browsing "beautifully written" articles. Stop procrastinating on color combinations for the kitchen. Stop staring out your window imagining half-baked story plots.
"You know what you really are?" he said.
"What am I?"
"You're an artist."
If I were an artist I would have at least gotten some of the ideas done. Instead I am traipsing about town in my mascara and dresses, acting like the brainy professional with a passion for activism. But I am happy tonight and yesternight and I will be happy tomorrow night, voluntarily sleep-deprived and puffy-eyed.