Tuesday, July 6, 2004

the pursuit of happiness

America, it is only a short two days after the 4th of July, and I've been thinking and not thinking about you. The glare off the roof right outside my window, off that silver surfacing coat on top of it - that glare is amazing. There are blue skies, blue blue skies above it. You know all those images of the Greek isles, all those white buildings packed against each other, set against a magnificent blue sky? Lately when I look out my window, I see the Brooklyn equivalent of that, see something better even. Windowless sides of building, either white or gray, absorbing those sun rays, another building stacked against it, building after building, different heights, different distances, just like those white houses on those Greek isles. And there is a beautiful sky here also, a lovely blue that will you make think not only the day, but that life is going to be great. There is a poinceana tree with pink flowers right beyond that silver roof outside my window. There are Puerto Rican flags hung from fire escapes; a brick building with two old paint jobs, half of it blue, half of it pink. And these are the things I think of when I think of you, America.

I think of how Florida roads are ash gray or the slightest shade of tan, and I am not sure if they were made this way, or if the sun is just so strong there, that the colors fade, if they are bleached by the sun. I never found out the answer while living there, but those roads, time spent on them in other people's cars is what I think of when I think of that place. I think of getting drunk and dancing to songs about big asses and sometimes having sex with other drunken boys. And god, these do not stop, these things conjured, the sneaking into movies, the cheese-flavored products, the bbq rib shacks, the pizza delivered to movie nights, the midnight bike rides. And I have an endless supply of these things, these memories of you, and so I am sometimes shocked into incomprehension when I hear people, my peers, my overprivleged peers talk about what a shitty country this is, talk about healthcare and crappy jobs, and probably talking about it in contrast to only a handful of countries in western Europe. I really am confused by bitter people. I don't know how to relate. I know things could be better, probably a lot better, but I don't think loving these states, this place we live, that doing that is incompatible with an awareness of the disasterous effects of both our foriegn and domestic policy. It's childish, the rolling of the eyes, the snarky comments, the bitter jokes.

I asked a boy at a gay club on the 4th after the spectacular fireworks show viewed from a roof in Greenpoint, asked a boy what liberties he was celebrating on this 4th. He may have been drunk, but it's more likely that he was just an airhead, and after a pause, like he just figured out the answer to a really difficult riddle, proudly exclaimed he was wearing red, white, and blue. And in a striking way, this boy had a lot in common with the two bitter people I heard yesterday bitching about how much this country sucks. And I walked away with my own America, walked away in both situations. I am chasing love and all things beautiful and I have no time for people that are not. Driving through all you roadblocks, you waving hands telling me to stop, to slow down. Got to keep going. You can catch up later.

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