Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Old Days, New Days, No Days Are Good Days

By Brian Wask

Hell’s Kitchen, NYC– The rain started before the sun came up. I woke around ten am, but I’d been listening to the tree drops tap the air-conditioner for a few hours. Dreaming about it and sometimes singing along. I could see the day was dark between the heavy curtain and the wall it falls short of reaching. I should’ve quit at beer number six the night before. Instead I carried on with my neighbor Feo (short for Fyodor), listening to Charles Mingus’ Tijuana Moods, playing Gin Rummy, talking about Honduras and its military coup and sudden beef with Brazil. (Of course Chavez, South America’s Simon Cowell, got involved before the end of the weekend.) Ousted Honduran President Zaleya somehow made it to the Brazilian Embassy. From there he encouraged his followers to protest against the interim president Roberto Micheletti, who has close ties with big business and rightwing politicians and is supported by the military. I’m not old enough to remember what went on in Central America under Reagan’s foreign policy in the eighties, but I’d have to live under a rock– or pretend to– if I was not up to speed about the democratically elected leaders of places like Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua once removed by military coups. (And I read a lot of books about it because I wanted to.) Following, dictators were installed with US support, financially and militarily. I would NOT conspire the same theory this time around– simply because Obama is President– but because the military is backing the new government, and responsible for the coup, neighboring countries who plan to intervene would certainly face an Honduran army. However threatening that doesn’t sound.

I’m bothered by the idea Fascists are running things in Central America. But some things bother me more. Over the weekend, four blocks from where I live, three gay men were passing a pub on 9th avenue a little after midnight. A Fascist beast was outside the pub having a cigarette, most likely bitching about how the “fascist” mayor Bloomberg (I’m not a huge fan but by no way is he a true fascist), who once banned smoking in bars, was also considering a ban on smoking in most public places. Note here, Feo disagrees Bloomberg is NOT a fascist. But, to be fair, anyone in a tie with a savings account is a fascist to my neighbor. He once called the landlord a fascist simply because our rooftop was no longer stable or safe for people living directly below it, therefore prohibiting access to tenants. Anyway, the beast having a smoke outside the pub attacked the three gay men, using fists and nasty slurs describing their sexual behavior. The cops were called but felt the situation didn’t require an arrest or even a record of the parties involved. The next day, when the three men followed up on pressing charges, there wasn’t anything anyone could do, the beast got away because cops never took his name. I wonder why this situation went down like this. You ask me, if somebody thinks it’s okay to call a man out on the street cause he’s gay, things aren’t getting better. The day before, ten blocks away from where I live, an Iraq War vet stabbed another man in front of New York City’s main Post Office before the sun had a chance to go down. The night before that an off-duty cop drank too much– though he would later refuse a breathalyzer– and killed a nice lady with a five thousand pound machine. I’ll say it again. Things are NOT getting better.

Feo warned me I was behaving like it was my first trip to New York when in fact I’ve lived here for ten years. “Shit happens all the time,” he reminded me. “Relax yourself and get us another beer.” I agreed, though the reality was discouraging. “What’ the point then?” I said, looking for the light in the kitchen. “I’m a little confused about Obama’s mission in Afghanistan,” I continued. “And Iraq for that matter.” Naturally this was Feo’s big chance to explain the two wars, which he’d done during dozens of late night/early morning escapades. He insisted both were started by two Idiots, Bush and bin Laden, and no way could anybody ever figure out how to get out of either because Idiots always prevail. “Forget Cheney, forget Saddam Hussein,” he demanded, accompanied by a good spray of beer. “This is the way of the world, and perhaps the Universe, if it really exists anyway. I’m starting to believe it does. And all matter of existence anywhere and everywhere is inspired by genuine stupidity. Absolute narcissism!” For Feo this was not a debate. So I maintained my regular naivete for the sake of peace is my small world. Otherwise, with the slightest opposition, my good neighbor would’ve shown me the door six different ways. He did eventually over of a disagreement regarding the pros and cons of baked bananas.

In the morning, listening to the rain– no thunder– I started to think Feo was right. Neither Osama bin Laden or George W. Bush make sense any time they open their mouths. It’s amazing how some people can NOT make sense so often. Sometimes I think most of the people I communicate with daily don’t make sense. And it’s easier to tell how little sense someone makes when they speak the same language, which is maybe why I get along better with people who speak a different language first, and English as a second or third or fourth. But do Idiots really control the Universe? Is that possible? Barak Obama is NOT and Idiot. Does this mean he will NOT have an affect on the universe? Maybe. Things are NOT going to get better. Yet everyday, no matter if it’s raining or the sunshine is peaking around the curtain, for some reason I think things will get better. And one day, hopefully when I’m one hundred and twenty-three, my breathing will pleasantly cease. Next, I’ll appear before God. His presence alone will mean I’m in Heaven. Then he’ll open his mouth and say something stupid.


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