Saturday, December 7, 2002

go tell it on the mountain?

And I am already breaking my resolution to stop being public, to make it to the new year without writing for anyone else once. But there are reasons. There always tend to be.

Today after biking back to work to return the keys that I being a space cadet, left work with, I ran into Rebecca and Abby and ended up biking with Rebecca downtown to go the X-mas Parade. And something happened. It was one of those rare moments of insight, of this is meaningful. I was thinking about it at the time - its hard not to - to just live! unmediated by thoughts of what the living means - and it seemed so so meaningful. Prior to the parade starting, we walked up and down Main Street seeing people, families, human beings gather on the side of the street, making a parade route, more people in Sarasota then I have ever seen gathered in one place. Vendors selling light-up things, stuff ravers would probably like, and kids all over the place. Smiling police officers. Old people on folding chairs. It was such a sight, a wonderful ritual, a gathering that affirms something. I'm not sure what, but I am trying to figure that out for my sake and yours, that is why I am writing in my diary even though I had resolved to stop, it is because I don't know anymore. My arguments about the performative aspects to diary writing seem a little hollow now that I am filled with the spirit.

And I don't know how to describe it, or even where to start, but let's start in the trash cans behind C'est la Vie. And yes, that is life - how fucking appropriate - how loaded with meaning. C'est la vie! There in those trash cans, is Rebecca, is me, and we are gathering huge bags of bread to bring back to school, to sit and snack on during the parade.

Now, we are sitting on that curb, on that long curb stretching from 301 to 41, completely filled with people of all ages, all sitting, waiting together for it to start, for something. And we are snacking on the bread. Eating it.

Shriners pass us by, some New College people find us, police on motercycles doing tricks, horses, and a marching band in kilts, Riverview or Riverside High and one of the tuba players checks me out very obviously. It is good for the ego after being turned down from many boys who I asked to make out with me last night. One said yes and we made out, but here come some Girl Scouts dressed up as candy canes, and behind them, Brownies dressed up as presents. And then, I turned around to my left to see the woman next to me, twitching violently in her wheelchair. I think to myself that she has problems, that it is rude to stare, and try to refocus on the parade. But seconds later, her friend with her cries for help. Help. And it was the most desperate sounding plea ever - it sent chills down my spine and we are all mortal - and the parade kept going and the woman next to me was having a seizure. And I didn't know what to do. I am like everyone else. I was helpless, confused, and scared and worst of all, still, silent. The friend begged, bellowed for someone to call 911. And I was going to run, I started to but I didn't know where to go, where I was running, I didn't know where a phone was. Someone must have had a cellphone, where the hell was I going, and I stopped, and one of the New College people had one, and called 911. I watched eagerly as she pressed Talk, hoping that she would press it faster, that this was dire.

An old white woman, someone much closer to death than me looked terrified as she looked at the sight of the woman having a seizure. I have never seen that look so strongly in anyone's eyes, that fear of death, of mortality. And more motorcyles kept driving by in the parade. All these people jolly, and so few noticed, and here next to me, crying, confused, a woman having a violent seizure.

The medics finally arrived, took her away in a stretcher and I didn't know if I should look at her or at the parade, which one would be more rude, the least sympathetic. I wavered between both, the contrast between the two, an amazing and beautiful thing, yet completely terrifying in its beauty, in the distinction between Camera 1 and Camera 2. And now you are the voyeur, looking at her, at her having a seizure, deliriously crying when the medics were there, "Help Me." And more chills, more sincere longing than I think I might have ever heard.

Now there is a lot more space around me. The two woman and their chairs are gone. I move into where they were seating, spreading myself out. And then the cause of this here, of who knows what else that you will not see, a gospel choir singing the most rocking version of "Go Tell It on the Mountain" I have ever heard. It was fucking amazing, and yeah, I am going to tell it I think. Just got to find me a mountain and figure out exactly what it is I need to tell. But the knowledege that I have to do this is good, is something I needed. And here's the answer for every asshole who asks me what I want to do after I'm done with school. I'm going to fucking tell it on the mountain. And that's that.

I biked home with lots of bread on my handlebars, and saw stars like I think I have never seen them before, was happy with every car that passed far too close me, that almost hit me. Happy with it all.

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