Sunday, September 11, 2011

Thoughts - Ten Years Later

I wasn’t really going to say anything. Then, I was in the room when someone flipped on World News Tonight, they started showing clips, and a ton of emotions came up. Well, to be fair, I’d already decided to write about it before then, but the tone of what I had to say changed a bit.

Everyone old enough to remember it knows exactly where they were and what they were doing 10 years ago. I do not need to tell you about mine. You have your own.

Sometimes it feels like 10 years have passed, and, other times, it just doesn’t. The one thing that I think just about everyone on the planet has in common in their recollections of that day is that that was the day that we entered a new world, and we knew exactly what was happening.

I don’t mean that we knew all of the ramifications. We didn’t. We didn’t know that Afghanistan would claim 1,562 of America’s best and brightest and wound 11,191 more. We didn’t know about the 4,466 of our own dead, the 33,080 wounded, and over half a million dead civilians that would lose all in one blinded group of people’s headlong rush into an Iraqi conflict that was at once horribly unnecessary and entirely unsustainable. Did you hear me? I said over half a million people. Gone forever. And for what?

We didn’t know that we’d never again be able to travel simply and easily through the airport, or that we would no longer be able to meet our sleepy-eyed loved ones at the gate. We didn’t know the hatred that our own countrymen and women were capable of toward people who seemed to look “like” those who’d attacked us.

We didn’t know that the president who was an emotional lifeline so soon after the attack would soon be so deep over his head that he’d never find his way out. We didn’t know the way that the world that rallied behind us would turn on us so quickly because of the decisions he made. We didn’t know.

So, what did we know? We knew that the world we’d been living in was gone. We knew that America would never be invincible again, and the words “things like that can’t happen here” were now meaningless.

We knew our neighbors weren’t so different than we were, and that the oft-hated New York Yankees were just a bunch of guys who were a huge part of a wounded city’s attempt to heal. We knew we were living in a new world, and that we’d have to find a way to pick up the pieces of the old one.

We knew that much.

Now, our country seems to be divided more than ever. Elected representatives seem to be more interested in fighting with each other than trying to get anything done to help people who desperately need it. Pundits point fingers and scream endlessly. Money’s tight, and people hold on to jobs that are below the pay grade and comfort level they’ve spent a lifetime establishing because they know too well the hard times of unemployment checks and fruitless searches.

But you know something? I think we’re going to be all right.

I believe this because in our hearts, we share one thing. It may be simplistic/idealistic of me to say, but it's something that I desperately want to believe to be true.

We’re Americans, and the things that bind us together are stronger than the things that push us apart.

Shantih shantih shantih.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Such Sweet Sorrow - Part 1

For an outwardly gregarious person, I don’t make the best partier.

Seriously, partying tends to make me feel contemplative, restless, and incredibly introverted. You know, just the kind of things that you'd look for in a night on the town. I’m talking about all kinds of parties too, not just the BOOM-KA-KA-BOOM club to-dos. If I had a dime for every time I went to a social event in high school, came home and contemplated my life, I would be a rich, rich person.

So, why so serious? I think there’s a few reasons why.

The Set-UP

I took to alcohol later than a lot of people. That sounds awkward. I’m not an alcoholic here! I only mean that I hadn’t really touched the stuff until a few years ago due to a lack of interest (and a serious aversion to fizzy drinks). Furthermore, I didn’t take to partying until around the same time I decided that drinking was fun.

My job. I work with a film festival with a couple of major booze sponsors, so, once a year, I’m able to drink as much as I’d like every night for about a week straight. FOR FREE. Then, when I go out to other festivals . . . same deal. FREE hooch. (unless you count tipping the bartender, which I try to get out of doing if I possibly can)

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to go out and actually have to pay for a drink when you’re used to getting it for free? It’s kinda tough.

And going to a party every night means that there’s 8 days of (mostly) good food, (hopefully) good music, and (usually/maybe) good company. So, for one concentrated period every year, I can drink, dance, eat, hang out, and have a good time. This would be pretty perfect except that I have to stay aware of the next day’s events/screenings/general mayhem and try to be cognizant of the fact that I not only have to be functional then, but want to get home before 2:30 AM.

But most importantly, I really enjoy the chance to talk to people about the things that I think actually matter. So, rather than go out and shake it until dawn, I’d much prefer sitting in the corner with somebody interesting and finding out what makes him/her tick. It’s fascinating.

The Breakdown

Partying, in general, makes that kind of interaction really hard. Instead, it’s all “WHOOOOO!!!!!”, trying to stop thinking about how much you’re actually paying for the drink you think you’ve asked for, and making a half-hearted attempt to groove to a song that you know in the 30 seconds that it’s played before the song changes abruptly to something you’ve never heard before and hopefully will never hear again.

And did I mention that I think over-crowded dance floors are a kind of slow DEATH to a party?

Besides, when you’re the dyad/small group specialist that I am, partying just seems so . . . shallow. It’s that kind of “Why am I here again?” feeling. Sometimes, I don’t even really know the people I’m with. The party atmosphere is deceptive too. It’s so high-energy that you think that all of these cool people you meet are your buddies, which isn’t entirely untrue, but in the cold light of day, they’re not there, you know? Again, if I had the proverbial dime for the folks who’ve said, “oh, Adam, we’ve GOT to hang out when this whole thing is done!” and actually MEANT it . . . I’d be a pretty poor guy. Which I kinda am already. Dangnabit.

I don’t want to seem like I don’t like parties at all. I’ve been to some AWESOME leg-shakers in my day, and it’s not that I want to suddenly see all of my options for going out on a Saturday night dry up.

I suppose that I’d just like to find the balance between the frivolous and the profound.

That sounds easy enough, right?


P.S. I'm going to post something about the new Noel Gallagher single really soon.