Minutes Given Over in Thanks

Awoke in a haze, dehydrated as always. What else can you expect in the desert? It is too early to be awake. Do we have time? When is your flight? Starbucks. Caffeine is our god. In the car, driving to the airport. A sendoff of friends. Unheeded traffic. No, we made it. Enjoy Florida! Subaru was smashed, totaled. Maybe they were in a rush, got too caught up. I was alone on the return. Driving through the morning sun. Filtering worry, placing it. There is always work to do. Homework, writing, it is break. Take a break.

Pump ten at the Allsups. Allsups has the cheapest gas on Saint Michael’s Drive. The wind had winter sleeping within it. The gas pump didn’t work. Mister inside the store didn’t process my fifteen dollars.Outside someone asked, Ma’am, do you know what day it is?  He was distinguished but leathered. Warm and comfortable in his stance. He had the reminder of a mustache.

Excuse me?

The day, do you know what day it is?

It’s Thanksgiving, I said.

The date? Do you know today’s date?

I believe it’s the 25th. But I could be wrong I am not too sure. (How can I lose track of the days, the date so easily. I set him up in the wrong day. The time, once again was wrong. But that leads me to believe it never mattered anyway.)

Whoa, you have a great voice, he said.

Thank you.

Happy Thanksgiving.

I’ve heard all of this before. I think it was in my head. Maybe someone said it. I think this day is one long dose of deja vu.

I walked into a warm house with bodies drifting on the couches and in the kitchen. There was a turkey in the oven. The vegetables need to be made. How long does the turkey need to cook? Let’s get some wine. The guacamole is delicious. Cigarette after cigarette being smoked on the stoop. The turkey is almost done. Give thanks. An eclectic family joins hands in an adobe hut. I am thankful for this family, for being here and nowhere else, for our hands touching palm to palm, for a break from school, for breathing, for being.

There was a fire outside in the backyard. Everyone was smoking cigarettes, a digestion aid. We ate too much. I can’t move. I need to sleep. There are tons of movies on T.V. Let’s watch a movie. We fall asleep. 12 hours later, we are still full from the meal. It is a new day.

Artists & Ethics in Our Media Based Society

We live in a media based society. One where entertainment, whether that be television, radio, music, even the celebrity of people, fuels human interaction, perception, and culture. Our perspectives are based upon visual and aural aesthetics.

“All human societies have created, shared, and consumed with pleasure the symbolic products we can collectively call culture or the arts…The very processes through which societies create and maintain themselves are those of storytelling,” (Gross 95).

Our country experienced a pervasive industrialization during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Mass production integrated itself into the daily functions and workings of our culture and entertainment became a commodity. We did not resist or question the new sound and image advances definitively, even though for the first time, entertainment was being mass-produced. These types of advances played into our nature as humans, fostered our desire as people to know everything, fed our curiosity about other people, our innate sense to accept what we immerse ourselves in physically (as we are flooded aesthetically every second). Nevertheless, this gave rise to consumerism, an economy based on consumption and profit, placing advertising and “profit-focused entities” (Gross 97) at its core. Herein lies the shift. As the “media” began to gain power  within the economy and culture, they accumulated the power of language. If any person, religion, or entity holds the power of language, they can therefore, write the “master narrative.” Preexisting examples of this are the bible, any religious texts, any news station, etc.

Continue reading “Artists & Ethics in Our Media Based Society”

A Memoir or Something Like It

to11By the end of all of this, I hope you know less about yourself than you thought you did when you started reading.  After all, this is not a memoir.  This is not about the person you were or the person you want to be.  You could write a memoir about your childhood, your eccentric mother who danced in the kitchen at dinnertime, or the week you thought you lost your mind because you couldn’t figure out if you were gay or straight, but none of it would be true. You could write a memoir about the life you wished you had, and all of it would be true, but if you wrote a memoir about your real life, it would all be a lie.  This is the memoir about the other you—the person inside your head, who can’t get out.  The you who is not really a person, but a thought, an abstraction. Continue reading “A Memoir or Something Like It”

Nutley, New Jersey

nutley_nj2The descent into Nutley always takes longer than the ride out.  You can never leave quickly enough.  You make your way down the quaint suburban streets, counting the traffic lights, one after another, driving past houses that all look the same with their American flags and picket fences.  Then you turn onto the avenue peppered by nail salons and pizza parlors, past the Shop-Rite—a monstrosity of a building with three parking lots.  It dominates an entire block and in town like Nutley, where food is the focus of everyone’s world and half the population is 60 plus, the Shop-Rite is a hot spot.  Traffic to get into the place backs up four traffic lights and what should take two minutes to drive the mile stretch, winds up taking ten to fifteen minutes.  You pass the Oval, the multi-purpose sports field that is home to the ever-losing football team who are seen as celebrities in the eyes of Nutley’s citizens.  You pass the high school and middle school, followed by more nail salons and pizza parlors and then you’re out! 

nutley_twp_nj_0131Nutley is a town that is still stuck in the 1950s.  “Tradition!” they say.  “We pride ourselves on tradition!”  But, what they really mean is we pride ourselves on ignorance.  There is such a lack of culture.  Everyone is okay with the fact that there is no local bookstore, coffee shop, music store, or even a cool ‘hip’ place for the middle school and high school kids to hang out and socialize.  They have been driven out of the parks, while the police try to crack down on ‘gang violence’ and graffiti.  As if a town like Nutley would have a problem with gangs.  If anything, the town itself is driving the youth away, without any type of stimulation or invigoration to go live life, forced to aimlessly walk down the avenue on the weekends, harassing passersby.  Inevitably, they all end up at the Nutley Diner, the place to be on a Friday night after 11 o’clock when there’s nothing left to do but stuff your face with disco fries and endless cups of coffee.   Continue reading “Nutley, New Jersey”