Monday, December 14, 2015

Season's Greetings

Things one remembers, does, feels, and grudgingly accepts during the holidays:

A German friend telling me that Ben Kingsley's performance in, 'Gandhi' (1982) was disappointing because he expected the portrayal to exude more cheer and goodwill.

An Australian friend laughing at my face when I told her I write in English.

Recounting all the memories I thought I shared with a Norwegian friend, animatedly, only to be met with blank stares.

Expecting sure and calamitous disaster from an impending gathering of close family members, knowing the only simple way to ward it off is to not say anything at all to anyone, just smile self-assuredly.

Looking at my growing gut with displeasure and foreboding.

Thinking about the relentless passage of time, and thinking about it again.

Reading a travelogue published over One Hundred and Eighteen Years Ago, and revelling in the topically contemporaneous dystopian humour.

Reading blurbs about books published over the last year by writers I enjoy reading, without wanting to read any of the books being so blurbed about.

Thinking about how good it would feel to be at a particular beach, at a particular time of day, among particular people right about now, when none of those things actually exist any more.

Being grateful for my life and my people.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

What do mass shooters think?

I had a dream last night.

I was angry, frustrated, depressed, maniacal, and violent. I got hold of a gun. I thought of all the people I wanted to kill, whose bodies I would riddle with bullets and feel satisfaction at having done so: all the people in my life who humiliated me, hurt me, pitied me, didn't love me back, didn't give me a chance, spoke behind my back, worked to undermine me among my friends and family, doubted me, loathed me.
I thought of all the people who I hated without ever having met: the recruiters sitting in their offices passing on my resume to the rejected pile because of my antecedents, my lack of the right qualifications, my strange name on the front page. The parliamentarians passing judgements on what constitutes a fair-go, a chance at assimilation, an equitable society for all with a level playing field. The politicians who say I am not warranted to feel offended when someone casts aspersions on my race, my ethnicity, my foreignness, that I don't really belong here, that I should be grateful for the very fact that I am here, that my life is worth less than the closest white person's.
I thought of the people I had met professionally: the clients who interjected constantly through my presentations to take credit for some input or another even though it was the first time they were encountering the idea, the smirking colleagues who feigned compassion with my circumstances when they were actually laughing at my misfortune, the school teachers and university lecturers who implied that I didn't fit in, that I wasn't the right sort of clay to be moulded, that I had an attitude problem that wouldn't stand me in good stead.

I thought of my father who died when I was nine. I thought of my mother who died when I was twenty-nine. I thought of my wife.

I thought of all those who would be affected if I killed someone. Their friends, colleagues, daughters, sons, wives, mothers, fathers.

I thought and thought and thought.

I then turned the gun on myself, put the barrel in my mouth, and fantasised about the blood splatter that would be left on the wall behind my head when I was done.
I then thought of my daughter who will turn five next month.

I woke up.