Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Another weird dream!

As I sat down at the greasy table in a dimly lit bar, I was surprised to find a dark-haired, female police detective take the seat across from me. Ignoring the obvious question (how did I end up in a low-rent, gender-swapped version of True Detective season 2?)*, I asked what I could do for her.

The answer, it seemed, was to explain why I shouldn't go to jail.

She slid a few photos my way, blurry messes of colored light and shadow, and pointed to an ill-defined figure at the center of one of them.

"Is that you?" she asked me.

As I squinted at the barely recognizable shapes, my new friend began to explain that a man matching my description was a suspect in a serious investigation from the day before, armed robbery or something like that. He was described as kind of a wannabe rocker, and was known by the victims to play in a rock cover band in bars not unlike the one we were now sitting in.

"I don't see how that could be me," I replied, after a long moment, "honestly, I can't even make out who that guy is, you couldn't get a better picture than this?"

"And what makes you think it's not you," she pressed. "Same build, same dark hair, same..." she glanced disapprovingly at our surroundings, "...pastimes."

"Look, ma'am," I began, tracing the faded outline of a guitar neck jutting out from the picture of my supposed doppelgänger, as the first few notes of Eve 6's "Arch Drive Goodbye"** twanged around us, "there's no way that man is me."

"Convince me."

"Fine." I stood up as the music swelled, breaking into my own rendition of the final song on my favorite band from middle school's final album, following the second verse and chorus, I belted:

"I don't play decent guitar/ I'm never gonna be some rock star/  And I'm not that guy, got an alibi/
I'm so sorry...


The alarm, again. A gray morning and boring ride to work on the Metro.

God, why is my life never as cool as my dreams?


*Haha, just kidding! TD Season 2 came off as surprisingly low-rent, considering it probably had a budget several times that of the first season.

**For reference. The whole story seems much more real if you play the song over it. Like most of my dream music, I hadn't actually heard the song in months. the way that you shock shock shock me...

Friday, September 11, 2015

Has it really been 14 years?

I hadn't even realized what day it was until I heard a brass quartet playing a slow-jam rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner as I rode by the McPherson Square metro station. Frankly, that's probably the extent of the Patriot Day observation I'll do. The morning bustle of one of the busiest courthouses in the United States didn't exactly lend itself to observing a moment of silence at 8:47 this morning.

Over the years, I've gone back and forth on how strongly I want to commemorate 9/11, waffling between "Support Our Troops!" platitudes and belligerent "America is the REAL aggressor!" college campus rhetoric. Now I fall somewhere in between.  

Memorializing a terrorist attack is important, but we can't afford to think only about ourselves, even for one day. So reflecting about everything that has happened since those towers were knocked down, I'll simply acknowledge how privileged I am to exist in a society (and a body) where neither my physical safety nor my socioeconomic security have ever been put in serious danger. I recognize that many people, both at home and around the world, are denied that safety, while others choose to put themselves in harm's way to protect me.

What's more, I'm fortunate to have a job helping to safeguard access to justice and the rule of law. Institutions like courts protect societies from breaking down into overt violence, and (when we do our jobs right) give voice to the voiceless and do our part to ease structural violence.    

Remember 9/11, but also remember that it's each of our duty to work toward a world where evil cannot take root in the soil of desperation.