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18:32 - Wednesday, Nov. 03, 2004
something, anything else
“I spoke to President Bush and I offered him and Laura our congratulations on their victory.
So began John Kerry’s offical concession of the presidency of the United States of America. While parents clutched fretfully their children’s neon pencil cases as they stuffed them into bulging backpacks, as college students drunk from election night shots stared incredulously and disbelievingly at the television screen, as flash-cut footage of President and President-elect George W. Bush sitting on the couch smiling like the the dumbstruck village idiot interspersed with rioting hippie towns, John Kerry continued.
“But in an American election, there are no losers, because whether or not our candidates are successful, the next morning we all wake up as Americans.
He is either clueless or an excellently turned-out actor and public persona. Or he is a robot, or spectacularly adept at hiding the fact that underneath it all, he is a Bushie, too. Now is not the time to be polite. Now is not the time to concede with a smooth made-up pancake face and gentle hands and greetings of “Thank you so much. Thank you, thank you. I love you. I love you, thank you.” to a crowd that will likely soon die in some sort of nuclear winter. It is not the time to be carefully masking Bush-hate while spewing a bunch of spirited-loser concilatory crap.
Now is the time for rioting. Now is the time, the golden opportunity, when John Kerry should get up on national television in front of millions of people, when he has nothing to lose, (in addition to Bush, who, now that he will never be up for reelection, can commit as many atrocities as he wants and not worry) and say the following:

“I, John Kerry, am baffled to be here tonight. If it is p ossible that I – indeed, Donald Duck! Barney the Dinosaur! The Purple Teletubby! – can lose the popular vote AND the electoral college of this country to a man who was AWOL from the military during one of the most controversial wars in American history, unnecessarily sent thousands of troops to fight in a completely unjustified war (and 57% of the people who had been in the military voted for Bush, while 46% disapproved of the war in its entirety), who was a so-so student and continues to astound people everywhere with his raging stupidity (when 42% of voters are college graduates), who has no tolerance whatsoever for legal unions between homosexuals (when 60% believes at the very least there should be civil unions), who, along with his hate-mongering administration, caused the entire world to hate America (and 54% of voters believe we are safer from terrorism, while 46% believe we are more secure [and the difference is?]), who has killed thousands of people unnecessarily, who has thumbed his nose at the U.N., who can’t pronounce words, ideas, and/or his catch phrases properly, who has lost thousands of jobs for the working-class, whose tax cuts have resulted in not only the former, but a unprecedented skyrocketing deficit, who has misrepresented evidence for the Iraq War, who has blatantly lied about the facts known by his administration to justify said war, who made the mystifying jump from Osama bin Laden to Saddam Hussein sometime in March 2002 and never explained himself, who, in summary, has been caught with his figurative pants down hundreds more times than Bill Clinton was with his literal ones down and was never impeached, then the conclusion I have quite rationally come to over the last few hours is this: I must be either dreaming or have crossed to a parallel dimension. All of you cheering for me, or, as the case may be, staring aghast at my gall, are figments of my solipsistic fucking imagination. And I am allowed to make up words.”
And then John Kerry should raise his arms and flap them, and he should rise, and the backdrop behind him, an American flag frozen rippling with house paint, should blur and fizzle, emitting an odor not unlike fried eggs and mangoes, while the sky reaches down in razor blade points of red lightning to zap the dragon-faced groundhogs leaping from the dirt. He should then list sideways, floating, and his left half should strike with the lightning, and he should laugh as the cheering/aghast crowd is slashed with a giant axe on the horizontal axis.
And everything should fade to red. And everyone’s eyes should close. And we should all become the blur and open it, our eyes, our nightmaring frenzied brains, to something – anything - else.

08:40 - Monday, Nov. 01, 2004
an open letter to those i used to party with
mike puts it best: 'i still like the middle-school type of parties, but sometimes with alcohol.'

when we were much younger, we had clowns and magicians to entertain us. we sat in a shrieking circle with complimentary animal balloons, for real not noticing the missing handkerchief or puppetup his fucking sleeve. parties were usually 2 or 3 hours long, because any longer than that and the kids would start whining. 'i'm tired. i'm hungry' (maybe not hungry after all that cake...) 'kristin is pulling my hair...'

somewhere around fourth or fifth or sixth grade, the slumber parties started happening, always minus those who secretly wet their pants or had chronic screaming nightmares. sometimes minus me, who didn't feel comfortable sleeping without a trash can next to my bed, in case of night vomiting (as if that ever happened except for that one time). we abhorred our parents' offers of entertainment, except of course when they were preparing or cutting the cake for us, or handing out goodie bags, or comforting the lone slumberer who did wet their pants or have screaming nightmares, unexpectedly. we told ghost stories and played the games we thought teenagers played: the ones sold in target and k-mart, marketed specifically as games teens played, but were really only played by preteen girls trying to be teens... the ones with boards and dice and cards with embarrassing questions on them. glorified truth or dare with a winner. amped-up spin the bottle minus the yuckiness of actually kissing a boy.

Somewhere between there and the second year of college, that sliding scale of nights specifically designated for driving aimlessly through suburbia blasting terrible dance music, of the first time smoking pot cuddled in the backyard with picnic chairs, armed with the knowledge of nothing more than we needed to set our drugs on fire and inhale them, of still getting together to have disco-bowling parties, of getting excited about things like homecoming or prom, even when we pretended not to be and even though, by college standards, prom is just a big, boring, uncomfortably dressed night with no alcohol and lots of professors in attendance, of mask parties, of fort parties, of themed parties of any kind where the purpose was to DO SOMETHING.

If I could stop anywhere, I would stop there, and still have the tremolo of a realization, back when i stopped being supremely unpopular, at least, that, you know, tonight I have plans! and I better clear my schedule for these plans! because these plans! are better and more awesome than anything else I might have had to do.

By now, parties are always a bunch of people I don't know and a few people I do standing around waiting for the alcohol to kick in so that they can talk to strangers. If there is a party without alcohol, people will start whispering to each other (as to not insult the host[ess]), asking, well, where is there a good party? meaning, one with alcohol? they will then leave, after a prescribed polite amount of time, claiming exhaustion, or wanderlust, or maybe, if someone has a stroke of honesty about them, boredom. then they go off to some party with alcohol and do the exact same thing as they were doing, except drunk.

Alcohol isn't my problem, primarily, although I think if I did drink I wouldn't be writing this, because I wouldn't notice it as much. It's just that if you don't drink, and there aren't that many people who don't, you notice this: that nothing starts happening until people are drunk. Nobody has any great ideas of what to do until they're sufficiently shitfaced. and the great ideas usually consist of going out and getting in fights. Now, at least. Freshman year it was different. Everyone was getting drunk, still, and nothing happened until people got drunk, but once they did, interesting shit happened. We built a fort out of vertical bedframes separated from their mattresses, with mattress pads for the ceilings and draped blankets for the doors. From then on, all parties took place in this maybe 7 x 7 space. It necessitated closeness. Nobody was sitting in the corner not talking or being talked to, because the corner was the coveted fort-place and whoever was in it was center stage.
They printed full size pictures of Pac-Man, John Ashcroft, an amoeba, etc on printer paper, stuck them to our faces with tape, cut eyeholes, and roamed through the dorms and stood in elevators, poker-faced, mute. Baffling. Why would anybody do that?

The answer is, because it's not standing in a smoky room waiting to be drunk so you can talk about nothing with whoever happens to be standing next to you. The answer is, because it's an activity. It has a purpose. You get together, for the purpose of _______. In high school, we got together for no discernable reason maybe two or three times a year. At the least, it was usually 'want to come over and have dinner/go bowling/smoke some weed and eat something really yummy/go driving/go to the beach/play Nintendo....

I love the friends I used to party with. I know they think I'm becoming a homebody, or that I don't like them anymore, or I think I'm somehow above them, or that Nick is holding me back, or I think I've found better friends. In truth, in order: only sort of, not true at all, also not true, only true in a twisted sort of way, and I haven't, but I have been hanging out with different groups. I liked it when I invited everyone over and we played charades and Cranium. I liked Robyn's birthday when it was a potluck, and going to the Pixies show with Andrew, Lara, Jeremy, Heidi, and Chell. And going to the Dushanbe Teahouse with Keren, Robyn, and Greg.

I like running into friends on campus and talking to them. It happens all the time. I wish I ran into some people more often so I could see them not in the context of a context in which I don't want to see them. I would like to get together for the purpose of just standing around and talking. If only I didn't always get there too early and catch the pre-alcohol awkwardness. Just ten or twenty minutes of floor-staring and cell-phone fiddling and attempting to get the music loud enough so no one notices no one is talking to anyone is enough to sour everything for me. Because by the time everyone is drunk and starts talking and laughing as though everyone is their best friend in the whole world, I've already seen. And I'm not drunk, so I can't forget. That sliver of truth, those ten or twenty minutes or the unknown amount before I get there, it's a tiny portion of truth I can't drink or smoke my way out of.


 

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