Sunday, April 20, 2008

Rambles from a Shambles

My plane reading for the trip here was I Am Legend by Richard Matheson which was really good. The book also includes several short stories after the novella, that are not mentioned on the cover of this version. I haven’t seen the movie starring Will Smith yet, but I imagine it is very different from the book, just from what I know about the movie from previews (for one thing, the movie is set in New York City and the book is set in Los Angeles). There are some parts of the story that require a great deal of suspension of disbelief – for one, the fact that this man figures out the epidemiology behind the germ turning everyone into vampires with a simple microscope, some books, and no real training in the sciences, after everyone is infected, before which no one who is really a scientist bothered to figure out over the years of its spread. But that aside, the story is compelling and the theme of survival of humanity in dystopias is something I love in a novel. The psychological and religious explanations for the disaster that has befallen the earth are masterfully written. The human connections, and the human connection to the infected, are sometimes moving and realistically absurd. The idea of a society beginning after the destruction of civilization, kind of along the lines of Mad Max. Except in this story everyone is now a monster – so the only uninfected human being left alive is actually the monster, and a legend among the new majority.

My hotel here in Arlington is right across from Six Flags. Right now, I would LOVE to go to Six Flags for some escapism via massive roller coasters. It’s been very busy here with these meetings, international visitors, and general ineptitude of hotel staff causing widespread chaos and shitty service. But I have maintained. It’s been a good trip.

It’s a long story but at one point I had fifteen thousand dollars of cash in my possession. Large sums of money, which fall into my hands sometimes in the line of duty, make me nervous. I mean, $15,000 is more money than I have ever seen in person, and I clung to it like it was my internal organs.

The people here for this meeting are people I work closely with via email and phone, but rarely see in person because they are largely from Africa and Europe. It is wild to see not only how they interact, but how the Africans interact with Africans from different countries, and the Europeans interact with Europeans from different countries.

This morning I had to go to church and I am happy to report I did not burst into flames upon entry. After the services, which was your typical white protestant stand and sing and hear a sermon style worship, the black office manager who is here with us commented that it was not what she was used to. Having been to many a black church in the line of duty, I knew exactly what she meant. There was not three hours of stomping and hand clapping, and feeling the spirit. There was just a by-the-book service that closely followed the bulletin and it was done in exactly one hour.

I’m still all tore up over this boy in Greensboro and I don’t know where I stand with him. What happens to me with boys is that they say the way they want it is ABC. So I do ABC and then they change that shit up, and I don’t understand the mixed messages, and I don’t know where people are coming from at all. I am so telling you that it is only a matter of time, shorter by the day, that I am going to take my cats and go live in an abandoned army bunker at Carolina beach, where I can be gross and diseased and sexless and just live off of canned goods. During that time I will write poetry about how much I despise humanity. They are mostly just like the infected in I Am Legend -- they wanna break into your house, rip you to pieces, and drink your blood…and even if you become one of them, they just might decide to eat you anyway.

One of the men from the Congo described to me in vivid detail the practice of the militia members training the young soldiers to cannibalize their enemies, and while I had read about this before, hearing it from someone who is so close to it has my mind kind of messed up. Good lord, whatever is wrong with me, I am thankful I'm not a child soldier fucked up on drugs eating human flesh, or even just a plain ole impoverished hungry person.

More later.

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