Friday, February 29, 2008

Oy gevalt

So now that the weather here in Albuquerque is beautiful again. I've started walking as much as I can these days. I never understood why people actually flat out refuse to walk anywhere that is less than a mile away from them. Just think about how many fewer obese people America would have if everybody decided to walk the half mile to the convenience store or (in my case) work. Today was one of the first days in about four months give or take where I could walk comfortably to the coffee shop. I had forgotten how much walking forces you to look around you and soak up your surroundings. It also gives me a good excuse to opt out of the daily jog that I usually force myself to do (yes I hate intentional exercise I'm not afraid to admit it, shut up).

Plus since $4/gallon gas is coming our way, I'd like to save as much gas as humanly possible.

Moment of reflection and observation over.

Yesterday I came home to my apartment and there was a packet on the clip outside (you know that thing that apartments (especially gated ones) do: the monthly newsletters and announcements). I didn't really pay attention to them, I was just thankful that it wasn't yet another notice to pay my water bill. But this morning I woke up and went into my living room to watch a movie in order to make myself wake up since I gave up caffeine (Darjeeling Limited is a great film by the way, very quirky and somewhat pretentious, but thoroughly enjoyable), and while clearing off my futon I found one of the pieces of paper that was part of the packet that made my jaw drop and go "OH MY GOD."

Background story: a lot of people in my apartment have small dogs. There's a strict rule about picking dog poopy. Most of the tenants do, but of course there's always the dipshits that don't and therefore ruin many a person's lawn walking adventure.

Anyway, the piece of paper that I'm talking about said:
"Tattle-tails! If you see a violator of our strict pick-up pet policy, please report it to us." Followed by little blanks for the violator's name, a description of the pet and the location where the offense took place.

1984 anybody? Jesus Christ in a handbasket of gardenias. I want to smack myself and the people who drew this ridiculous thing up. I wish I had a scanner so I could show this truly unbelievable piece of paper.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Day I Became an Anarchist

I used to think Anarchy was idle dreams, a lazy thinker's paradise. For the past six months I've been good friends with two men. Every weekend we get together and drink a few 40 ozs of Mickeys and drunkenly launch into intellectual discussions.

Most of these discussion inevitably veered towards today's society, government and the social infrastructure. In nearly all of these discussions my two friends have argued till they were blue in the face the benefits of Anarchy in place of the government we have today. And in all their efforts I stonewalled them and offered solutions for change in terms of today's government. I'm not going to lie, I am in love with the idea of the democracy the founding fathers gave us. But it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that today's democracy is not even a shadow of what our forefathers gave us.

For the past three years I have been pursuing the hope of fixing our failing democracy. I have tried to put my whole heart in the support of a democratic, restructured government. I have tried to 'rock the vote.' But every time a candidate comes on the television, all I can think of is how sick and tired I am. Sick and tired of what? Sick and tired of watching people I don't know run my country, my state, put laws on my body. And I am given a choice as to what to 'settle' for in terms of what kind of laws I want. And right now I am living in the ultimate fear that if anyone but Obama and Hillary get elected, I will lose every single right to my body. That is a godawful fear, and it angers me that my own government makes me feel this fear. I have spoken about my ideals and my beliefs in terms of the direction of government and society to a few individuals, and those individuals have said: "you are an Anarchist."

But still I hung on to the hope of a good, fully cooperative government in the future, and I fought to achieve it. But then it happened. I had my thunderbolt.

It happened on a trip through Texas. I got stopped in Kauffman county outside of Dallas, Texas. I was going the same speed as the other cars around me, but I was the one who got stopped. Was I driving over the speed limit? Yes. Was I driving recklessly? No. Four years of driving without a collision with another moving car shows I know how to handle a vehicle. As I was sitting there while the state trooper was writing my ticket, I sat there thinking about how fucked I was. I work a retail job at $7.15 an hour, I pay over half my income to rent, the other half to my bills. How was I supposed to pay a huge ticket? Then it hit me: this ticket is a product of the system of today.
That state trooper did not stop me because I was a risk to other drivers in terms of my speeding. He stopped me to meet the quota. He stopped me to hand me a ticket that I couldn't afford to pull more money out of me to feed the government. I was not given the trust that I deserve from my government to travel freely, in my eyes, the government has extorted money from me. I asked the state trooper how to handle this ticket in terms of court appearances since I lived in a different state. He had no answers.
What is this? I knew that if I voiced my dissent and displeasure, he would most likely ask me to step out of the car and search my vehicle (which was packed with clothes and my personal belongings). So I had to sit there and take it. That's what hundreds of people do every day in situations like these: they sit there and take it. Like a communal, government sanctioned financial rape. The people are supposed to have trust in our government, namely our police officials. This is akin to asking a victim to trust her assailant. Unless the Stockholm syndrome is rampant, this is depravity--pure and simple. Who can honestly sit here and say "I trust my police squad and my government and my city system. I trust them to treat me fairly and consider my situations."
My previous resistance to Anarchy was due to the fact that I did not believe it would fix the problems with today's world. But while sitting there in my car waiting for my ticket, I came to realize that it isn't supposed to be a solution for today's world. But tomorrow's world. I was thinking in the wrong terms. I am an anarchist because I believe in communal trust. I am an anarchist because I believe the police officer should have stopped me if I was a danger to others. But I also believe that society should raise their proteges so that they are NOT a danger to others. I believe in communities, trust, and communication. Do I believe that Anarchy is possible in today's world? No. The next generation? No. But through the generations, and how we build up our future with our children, it could be possible. And at least the collective out there can focus on providing an alternate view for others who are sick of the system. It took me this long to realize the true nature of my beliefs, and I still have a lot to learn. But it's a breath of fresh air to finally see clearly just what I believe and why I believe it. And it is something for which I shall fervently strive.

Thank you Chris, David and Brian for making me see the face of my dreams that I ignored for so long.

--Le Femme

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Found it!

My favorite things in the world are found objects. I'm not talking about the five dollar bill you find on the side of the street every once in a blue moon. That's inconsequential. I'm talking about the priceless pieces of paper or pictures that you randomly come across.

In my line of work I buy back books from customers. More often than not when I'm going through the books I come across old pictures, shopping lists, random notes, etc. It coincides with my fierce love of picking up hubcaps and random construction work objects (which I'm sure is moderately illegal in these parts). Maybe I'm a freak, maybe I'm a pack rat or perhaps eccentric--whatever, I make no apologies.

So it's the voyeur in me that is fascinated with other people's scraps of their lives. My most treasured 'find' is what I found in an old army jacket that I tried on in a thrift store. It was a note for a Marine to report to therapy at Camp Pendelton for 'neuropsychiatric analysis.' The date was July 9, 1974, which ties in with the end years of the Vietnam war. It was folded up into a neat little square half the length of my pinkie and it managed to stay in that camouflage jacket until it ended up in a thrift store in 2006. I ended up not getting the jacket, but I took the paper home and tucked it away with all my other strange found objects.

Human beings always have strange fascinations with voyeurism. It's amazing how other people's little remainders can make an impact or work their way into other's lives. There are a select number of websites and books dedicated to the documentation of these little scraps of anonymity. To name the ones with the largest cult followings: PostSecret (a personal favorite of mine), Found Magazine, and Milk Eggs Vodka.

A new habit that I've formed has been inspired by Post Secret. Every time I check out a library book (which is quite often.....), I try to leave a little piece of myself in it when I turn it back in. Little anonymous secrets in me that I'm terrified to tell anyone else. I do this in the hope that I can speak to someone the way the little found objects I've come across over the years have affected me.