Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Dec.16,2008 - The Day the World Stood Still
"Vancouver is beginning to remind me of Winnipeg, " the jovial garage attendant said to my agreement as I paid the parking ticket thankful for my Ranger 4x4 on the icy streets. I was meeting my friend at the Scotia theatre where he'd bought tickets for us to see The Day the World Stood Still, with Keanu Reeves. I settled in with my
buttered popcorn dinner to watch this 'save the planet' film.
Later my friend and I proceeded to the Starbucks for decaf americano and regular coffee. I added to my earlier dinner with a fruit salad.
"He's the star from Matrix." I said.
"Yea, he has the face for science fiction."
"I walked out of church when the minister said we had to walk gently on the planet and meant it literally," The grapes and pineapple bits were delicious.
"But the planet is fragile," he responded. "Look at the rapid decline in male sperm counts all over the world. That's one of things like the canaries in the mines you should take note of." I thought about science and wondered who was measuring and how they were sampling these declining sperm counts.
"What we need is space travel as opposed to wasting rockets on war." I countered.
"I agree to that."
"Buckminster Fuller showed that there's nearly infinite energy but that the bullies are controlling it, hoarding out of their fear and inferiority."
"No doubt, but we're not investing in the nearly infinite energy now because too many people are making billions off fossil fuels."
"Then there's the alternative and energy saving patents the corporation executives are hoarding like the priests before them hoarded the secrets in the Vatican Library. The planet is resilient. We may not be. Consciousness may transfer to cockroaches. I could be looking at the carapace of a pretty cockroach in a future postmamallian lifetime." I drank regular coffee at night while he drank only decaf.
"We're interconnected with the planet," said my friend. He has a warm smile, black glass frames, lively dancing eyes, and usually wears a ball cap.
" After a decade of fear mongering terrorist propaganda for profit I'm just not ready to jump on this 'save the planet' for profit fear mongering platform. I don't think my sorting out garbage is going to do anything when my government is dumping waste en mass with cruise missile cocktails It's like our finance minister who evaded taxes and wouldn't hire Canadians. The problem lies way above me. I don't know how to change the bullies. Like that defence minister in the movie. "
"I just believe it's one person talking to another person." he said, " The greatest contribution of western consciousness is the realization that we all are born individually and die individually. "
"But our immigrant populations come with the old family, fear and revenge based tribalisms. It's only the second or third generation that move onto the individual consciousness. They want it too but their grandfathers' sold them out for properties their children's children are going to have to pay the mortgages on."
"I wonder what those old civilizations must think of us who only think in terms of a hundred years at most. Individually it's still us alone and God, the Creator."
"I believe it's us and God and our neighbour. At times my neighbour seems like the Borg. I can love God, the Creator, but my neighbour is the difficult one. That's why Jesus said "Love your enemy, even the tax collector loves his family." The Chinese waitress was cleaning the table and taking away our empty cups.
Pointing his finger and showing the three pointing back, he said, "But you really get what you put out and I think whenever I'm having difficulty what am I doing to create this." I agreed with my friend and Oprah on the "Secret" in principle but in practice it seemed to me to unravel pretty quickly.
"Don't get me wrong, I like Eckart Tolle, Deeprak Chopra and all the other circuit guys. But there's the government - type person, the neighbour who says 'we are not amused' , the bully, the authoritarian with a gun or the paranoid who needs to step over you to save their life, the immature one, the Homeland Security guy with the power to abuse, the smug jailors. To me the guys with real 'planet' power are like Zeus and Athena, gods so far above me and so far distant they're like soap opera stars. Clowns demanding taxes for word games and charades and threatening me if I don't take them seriously. In comparison I feel little different than a house slave to the outdoor slave, the homeless freezing in the street tonight. "
"Victim doesn't look good on you but as long as I've known you you've had this thing with authority." He said, as we got up putting on overcoats and scarves. The East Indian guys beside us were leaving as well.
"That's the same for Job in the Bible. Victimship doesn't look good on any one. The women got away with it by burning bras. " I said.
"Speaking of which I heard Halle Berry was naked on some Vancouver street last night."
"God she must have had frost bit nipples. But look at the Dalai Lama. He and his buddies did the peace and prayer bit as good as any could and now all he's doing is whining about the Chinese. That's victimship. Freud was rescued by the Brits and said, 'Maybe the paranoids were right." That's victimship too Now everyone claiming a monopoly on suffering. The bullies are claiming they're victims. It's the doublespeak of 1984 and Animal Farm all over again. Look at these bail outs. They pay themselves for screwing up but if us house niggers screw up we're freezing our butts with the outside niggers."
By that time we were indeed standing outside and freezing our butts. It reminded me of the the hundreds or more conversations we'd had in the Winnipeg backlane between our childhood homes. Our breath would be freezing on the fur trim of our parkas and we'd still be talking the winter away.
"You know the joke, what does the masochist say to the saddist, beat me, beat me, and what does the sadist say, 'no'." he said, laughing. "I've got to go. Work in the morning"
"Have you heard anything about these new messages astronomers are supposed to be getting?"
"No. What about Zelmon Schacter.Do you hear anything about him these days?"
"All I heard is one of his students is a rabbi here."
We were backing away from each other. He was parked in one direction, I in another. Already the discomfort of parting was on me. Soon I'd be alone with God. My friend's been a good neighbour but I remember how we fought in the snow when we were kids. Hard to hurt each other much with parkas and mitts. Like the Inuit poetry wars.