In two days I work finish my job with the shelter kitchen. I'm still damp from the batch of lunch dishes: scrape, wash, put away X 75 clients.
Today I am on lunch break at a hipster café nearby. The environment is deliberately close and intimate. The barista(more)s sit on the laps of their favorite customers. They sing along with the indie rock. Tibetan peace scarves wave above the entry way and outside they've decked out a scrappy East-End tree with DIY Christmas decorations. I never feel comfortable in such environments, with the deliberation and quirkiness and the hidden judgments, in a way they are just as bad as any redneck dinnertable in rural hometowns.
Today in the cafeteria a man was so drunk he shit his pants. The housekeeper and I dragged his chair outside and hosed it off, screaming with laughter as the brown spray flew, trying to get the chunks off the seat without touching it.
Breakfast was steamed eggs. Lunch was salad and macaroni. I covertly changed the spelling on the whiteboard from Ceasar to Caesar.
I am not forced to work there. I could work here, for instance. This warm café. I know these songs. My head is half-shaved. I'm a vegan. I'd probably fit in. Why do I always push my way into the facilities, the institutions, the lands of discount linoleum and piss in the elevator and the smell of cigarettes a decade after the city-wide smoking ban? It's more comforting there than here with people my age, doing the things I ought to be compelled by.
In a week I start nursing school. Taking blood and shit to the next level, I guess.
Life is service but we are not forced to do any of it. We blunder and lunge. (less)
Clyde Thibodeaux turned the truck’s radio up as the bridge of the song played..., “I been to the edge, and there I stood and looked down, You know I lost a lot of friends there baby, I got no time to mess around”.
(more) “Man o’ man”, he thought to himself, “Van Halen nailed it with those lyrics.” Back when he was forced to serve his 18 months in Afghanistan, he’d been to that edge many times. Clyde didn’t mind the combat or the killing that was just the way of the world, but he didn’t like losing buddies. When the judge told him, “Either go to the Marines or go to jail boy” he enlisted and as the shit got deep thoughts of wrong decisions flashed in his mind. Oddly enough that same feeling was eating at him as he ran the last errand for Mr. Tueur.
“Funny how things end up”, He pondered while pulling into the dark alley, “Forced to go to that shithole on the other side of the world just to come home and be forced to serve the old gangster.” Reaching under the seat for the sawed off shotgun, Clyde sure hoped he could get his father “Blacky” out of this mess.(less)
She knew that somewhere in front of her, in the blackness which shoved itself into her face like a sneering teacher, was a loved one. She knew this because who else would be picked to test her, to force her into madness?
(more) She knew that this loved one was bound so tightly that they could only sit, breathe through their nose, and wait in silence. She knew this because it had been her in this position only minutes ago, and she also knew that at any sign of disobeying she would be back in the blindfolded blackness to suffer the anticipation of pain.
She knew that she must, simply must use the two weapons in her hands, even though they might maim, kill, destroy somebody who she prized. In one hand, without looking, she knew she held an explosive sphere. In the other hand she knew she held the bat which primed it.
She knew that these two weapons would interact because of her hands, and that without wishing it someone might die.
"Serve!" came the voice, and she was forced to do it -- that's what she said to herself, at least, that's what she knew about herself -- and with years of practice came a motion which was hardly impacted by the sudden cry of anguish torn from her body as she bent over in exertion.(less)
The chains were of our own devising. We were never aware of it at the time, but we were forcing ourselves ever deeper into servitude, forging chains for our brothers when all the while we thought that we were freeing them. It is said that the road to hell(more) is paved with good intentions, and I tell you this is the truth. In casting down one monarch in the name of freedom, we set for ourselves a many-headed tyrant. Of course it did not look that way to any of us, we were too blinded by the thrill of our own so-called progress to see very far down the road into the future. Power in the hands of many can corrupt those many just as surely as it can one man. This is forever the curse of any government devised by man: it is composed of men and is therefore flawed.
Representative, democratic, despotic, theocratic, these are all words that describe the same tired, broken system, and that is the rule of one man over another. If he does it at the point of a sword, or at the end of a ten thousand word law, he still has control over you. Is this the price that civilization demands from its participants? To be ever in the thrall of another in some capacity in order to enjoy the benefits of a society? It is, and it will always be so, but it is our own natures that make it this way.(less)