Monday, August 08, 2011

London on Fire

Today is not a good day. First of all, there is rioting in London, ostensibly about a police shooting of an unarmed man, but really more about the unappreciated lower classes finally rising up and screaming out their frustration in an unstoppable orgy of rage and looting.

I know how they feel.

The rioting started near Wood Green, where I lived for six months, and included several stores that I used to shop at. Today it spread down to Lewisham, which is the shopping center I did most of my grocery shopping at while I was going to school at Goldsmiths. I don't avow looting--it is a senseless waste of proletarian small businesses--but I am in favor of setting cars on fire, which is also occurring. Fancy cars, ones that have insurance, burning in the middle of the street away from private property. A beacon to the powers that be that this crap has got to stop.

I should probably mention that I have been listening to a lot of NPR lately. My attitude is probably due a lot to the focus of the programming lately. That, and a desperate creeping feeling of not having enough money to live on (probably due in part to the fact that the program I was managing was cancelled for lack of attendance), of being nearly thirty and not living up to my potential--or any reasonable facscimile of potential--of not having any sodding end in sight of this endless work, work, work, work, the fact that my hands have started to hurt full time with no respite in the evenings or on the weekends (even odds whether it's arthritis or carpal tunnel), the 401k I dumped all my savings into instead of a bank account has tanked substantially in the past week, weighing two hundred and fifty pounds, worrying constantly about the health of my family, having to choose between finding two hours for writing or doing the dishes (AGAIN), walking the dog...I can't do any more! I can't work any harder! And yet there is no respite! AND THIS CRAP HAS GOT TO STOP!!!

It's enough to make me want to set cars on fire. Fancy, well-loved cars with an insurance policy sitting in the front window, preferrably in a tony neighborhood of Washington DC. What else is there? Rage, rage, rage....I will bring the police screaming to my bonfire, screaming up with their sirens blaring, I'll be sitting right there in the middle of the street, waiting for someone else to make a move and take the decision out of my hands. I'll come quietly officer, if you'll just stick me in a cell and let me sleep for about six years.

Part two:

I'm also trying to go back to school. AGAIN. More applications. More tests, more student loans...and a request for a transcript from Goldsmiths College. My printer sucked up two pages, thinking it was a size A9 page, instead of our standard 8x11s, so now I have to tape the two pages together and mail it off. The sight of those pages morphed into the familiar-yet-foreign longish form was enough to make me tear up. I'm so sick of all this working and hurrying. I want to go back to that senseless lull where all that was important was making the next deadline, writing something that other people would think was clever. And going to art galleries on weekends. Spotting Nelson like he was a hidden Mickey. I marvel now at the amount of sleep I got in London. It felt like such a waste at the time, but now, how I wish I could have stored that up in a bottle.

And maybe I'd go out on a night like tonight and bask in the glow of a burning car.

Last Sunday I forgot that Benn's UMC was starting at 10 instead of 11, so I ended up going to Trinity UMC instead. The sermon was about Jesus walking on the water. How Simon Peter only fell in the water when he took his eyes off of Jesus. The parallel was clear: Keep your eye on Jesus, and not on the storm. That's great advice. That's exactly the advice I need right now. When I went up for communion, all I could pray was "Stay with me this week, Lord, stay right here by my side."

I'm not going to set anything on fire. (Got that, Homeland Security?) I'm going to meekly go about filling out my paperwork, go to work, register for tests, cook dinner, go to work, walk the dog...remember that we don't get to live in places like grad-school London.

1 comment:

Samantha said...

Such a void you've found within yourself. But I'm glad it sends you a-pondering instead of a-blazing. What is it about the return to school that you hope will fill that void? Further enlightenment? a sense of acceptance? Or superiority? Is it a means to a greater end? Or merely and escape or postponement from the current hell that is a middle class life. But for how long will it serve to fill the void that is preventing your happiness? 2-3 years? One more degree? I worry for you. I hope a return to academia can offer what the rest of life seems to fail you...