i’ve been debating writing this post for a while now. it’s ultimately going to sound preachy, and i doubt it’d make a dent, but…
i’m really tired, and it’s probably not going to make much sense, but i decided to give it a shot anyway, all because of one sentence, one callous remark spoken by a stranger seated next to me on the hill at the cynthia woods mitchell pavilion last night.
i was waiting for aerosmith to come on stage. i forget i don’t enjoy concerts at the pavilion. i’d been at my spot at pappadeaux’s bar when the service bartender reminded me that the band had a show that night. so i collected my things and hurried over to see if i could snag a ticket without thinking of the discomfort i’d feel while there. my brain was fixated on the thought that i wanna watch joe perry play live once in my life.
at some point, the couple to my left scooted toward me so that the space between the gentleman and i was a mere inches. i looked to the man, who’d had at least two large beers to my knowledge, and asked that he not sit so close to me, that i had huge personal space issues.
instead of scooting back over, he chose instead to mock me and argue that the distance between us was plenty and blah blah blah. his girlfriend looked over at me, and i tried again to explain my need. i’d said i know it doesn’t look like i have a disability, but i do.
she came back with some sort of retort about how it does look like i have one. i can’t remember. but the words she used, the tone with which she delivered them, her facial expression… all these things reeked of superiority.
the last time i’d attended a concert at the pavilion was depeche mode’s show nearly a year before. i sat on the hill then, too. both times i’ve had good spots. on this night, i’d gotten up to use the restroom. when i came back the ladies to my left had moved my things over so that they could have my spot because a bar kept them from getting a good look at the stage.
last night, when aerosmith came on, another couple–friends of the folks to my left–came and stood right in front of me. the man was quite heavy and had been drinking. he practically stood on top of me. his ass was very much in my face. i put my hand up twice to get his attention, and when i finally got it, his attitude was that i shouldn’t be sitting right there.
and then there’s the stories i hear… and people’s reactions to them…
when robin williams died, my mother’s response was to think him a coward because he couldn’t, wouldn’t face his challenges. in her mind, he should’ve used his humor to prevail, to endure for as long as possible.
the week before i’d sat in my father’s office willing myself to do just that. my mind was plummeting to hell, and, yet again, i had to talk myself through it. so when a person chooses to act in such a way, i know exactly how he feels. i know how hard it is to resist the temptation to end it. i know how easy death appears. how peaceful. i know. and i did what i could to convince her that williams’ choice wasn’t an act of cowardice. but i couldn’t change her mind.
when michael brown was shot, people in that community used the word execution in reference to the shooting, to his death. that word implies that the shooting had been an intentional, lethal punishment for some crime. people insisted that if the boy had been white and the cop had been black, the world would be in more of an uproar.
i’m so tired of reading crap like that. i wanna throttle the people who say these things.
because it IS crap. a man died. period. death should be the story–the grief, the tragedy, the loss. we could reach for the best examples of our humanity. instead we turn to riots and bigotry.
i don’t care about the color of that boy’s skin. i don’t care about the color of the cop’s. i care that a man died. i care that another man now carries the label of killer. i care that another man who’d given us decades of laughter, that the contributions he’d made in his lifetime will be erased by apathetic people who can’t respect a man’s choice… who can’t respect a man. i care that we can’t appreciate each other’s differences, each other’s needs. i care that we have become so obsessed with political correctness in an effort to appear courteous, but when the time comes to walk the walk, to actually behave courteously, we choose to be callous instead.
the pain i feel is no different from the pain you feel. a word can cut me just as easily as it can cut you. a bruise forms in just the same way. a wound heals in just the same way. my hopes and dreams are just as fragile as yours. my loves as beautiful.