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11:02 p.m. - 2010-04-02
An Entry in 3 Acts

Slept longer last night, almost 5 hours. Which would be great news if it had been good sleep, but my old pals, Terror and Confusion, were sharing the bed with me. Snapped awake just before dawn from a dream so fricken real the first thing I did was a panicky inspection of my lower back with my hands, and then I came downstairs to use the toilet and checked my back in the mirror just to be extra sure. See, in my dream I had to forfeit my kidneys. According to the people in charge I was far less valuable than the people who were getting my kidneys. In the beginning I didn't know they'd take both. I was sad when they took the first kidney. Ashamed too. But when they came to take the other one I was terrified. I would DIE without my kidney! Didn't matter to them though, they just took it anyway. Just before I woke up- in my dream I'd been turned out onto the street. I stumbled out of the hospital with two tidy incisions where my kidneys used to be, so scared and sad and ashamed, knowing I was going to die from uremic poisoning.

As always, the nice thing about my horrible night world is its simplicity. Doesn't take any kind of special psychological training to explain my stuff, that's for sure. No mystical mumbo-jumbo and obtuse symbolism.

"You are too worthless to even merit internal organs. We're taking them for people who deserve to live. Now go away and die, and don't leave a mess when you do it."

Word.

Perhaps my lifelong love affair with cartoons has something to do with how straight up my dream imagery is. These nightmares brought to you by: PTSD, Survivor Guilt, and Friz Freleng. No haughty auteur like Fellini directing my horror shows. Nope, my psyche apparently matriculated at The Chuck Jones School of Night Terrors. Should I ever resort to pharmaceutical help with my messy night world I'm sure my drug of choice will be manufactured by Acme. Probably prescribed by the guy on the left.

Saw something cool today. We were over in Rivertown duking it out with the Social Security Administration again. This time victory was mine. The federal government has finally (with much muttering and grumbling) admitted I exist. With the name I want to be known by and everything! And there was much rejoicing. Now this only leaves my passport and driver's license to change over and I will finally, finally have the bona fides to travel within this supposedly free country. To think I'd live to see the day when I needed papers to travel by rail and bus. Forget about planes, the bullshit Security Theater has become too farcical for me to willingly participate in. Picture ID? Okay. X-ray my purse and carry-on? All right. The shoes? Dumb and almost to the breaking point, but doable. But when some numb nuts TSA agent yanks me out of line, confiscates my $46 jar of eye crème, insists that the public safety is served by sealing my mascara and lip gloss in a ziplock bag (must have been those clever anti-terrorist ziplock bags!), and then sends some Amazon with horrible body odor over to take a long look inside my bra, supposedly to make sure I wasn't smuggling 42DDD worth of explosives onto a fricken flight to Milwaukee, I gave up. All done. No more flying. Not if I can possibly avoid it and so far I have. Who the fuck do these jokers think they're fooling with this crap? I'll take my chances with the underpants bombers and shampoo MacGyvers and exploding sneaker guys, just stop already with this nonsensical 'safety' shit. Nobody on that flight to Milwaukee was one iota safer because I'd been felt up by a stinky giantess and some guy got to bring my pricy eye crème home to his wife. To say nothing of how much security can be had with those mighty, mighty ziplock bags.

"Hazeem! Our mission has failed! They put the bomb in a ziplock!"
"Ali, are you sure? Curses! Foiled again by ziplock technology! May Allah strike down those devil Americans and their see-through plastic storage bags!"

Puh-leeze.

Anyhoodle, about the cool thing I saw today. The main drag of Rivertown is a very old, very wide cobblestone street that runs on a straight path from the top of a hill down to the Hudson River. A long, long street that 100 years ago was lined with graceful mansions, brick and limestone row houses, and on some blocks commercial places like stores and opera houses. These days it's quite different. Rundown, scrungy, dangerous and filthy. There's a teeny bit of a renaissance going on now that the surrounding neighborhood is slowly being taken over by a lively entrepreneurial Hispanic population. The slummy bars and skeezy crack houses are disappearing and small bodegas, cafes, and hopeful businesses like tailoring shops and music stores are coming in. I wish these newcomers good luck, it would be wonderful if they bring some peace and prosperity to that blighted place.

And today I saw evidence that the immigrants are winning against the scum and despair. Just as we left the federal building and started back up the hill way up near the top we saw a slowly rolling police car with its flashers going leading what from a distance looked like a mob. The 'mob' was heading down toward the river. As we got closer I could see a couple of priests wearing cassocks waving the car traffic away from the procession. The 'mob' was a Good Friday Passion Parade.

Another priest flanked by a herd of altar kids was at the head. Behind them came Christ and the thieves carrying their crosses. Several Roman guards cracked whips at the 'convicts'. Behind them came apostles and the Marys (Magdalene and Jesus' mom). And behind the costumed ones came the rest of the worshipers. 100s of them. Whole families, lots with babies in strollers and slightly bigger kids bopping alongside. Smiling honeymoon couples. Old people escorted by tattooed and pierced young men who'd doffed their usual gangster clothes to put on a nice shirt and walk their abuelas to church.

It was great.

We didn't have such things when I was attending Our Lady of Terrible Vengeance. Once in a while there'd be some feeble attempt to make us do the Stations of the Cross in the church itself during Holy Week, but no parades. No reenactments. And to see this whole community turning out to pray and celebrate in such a vibrant way was simply fabulous. Especially because of where they were. That sad degraded place which at least for my whole life has been a living symbol of urban blight and hopeless criminality all filled up with people who'd literally taken their passion and love and hope to the street. Well, does it get any better?

Not really.


Still as sleep deprived as a Gitmo detainee, but slightly less woebegone than yesterday. ~LA

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