no idiocy today
I’m listening to Jarvis Cocker’s Sunday Service, still only half awake, and “All You Need Is Love” came on. I burst into tears.
This is his time to go over the Paris attacks that happened November 13th, and though I came in halfway through – Sunday is the one day my body lets me sleep! – and the feeling of being joyful of all that Paris is, the plea for understanding and not to fall into hatred…Being American, my media is overwhelmingly hatred for Muslims, the Syrian refugees, and anyone who isn’t a white Christian. I’ve never been so glad to have canceled my cable TV and have to rely on the internet for all world news, because now I pull from Al Jazeera and BBC. I’m deeply disappointed in how much hatred my country has been spewing since we first started to hear about what was happening that Friday (it was afternoon here), and only speaking up on my social media accounts that are locked down. I wasn’t going to talk about all of this here, but why shouldn’t I? There needs to be more love out there.
That Friday, I was off of work and had just received an email from God Help the Girl‘s Kickstarter, sending me links to download the film and bonus content, and all this anger and anxiety came up suddenly. If you’re not familiar with all that happened, leading up to having a nervous breakdown after attending the LA premiere of that film, cutting out half the friends in my life, and promising – not threatening – to throw one of the people involved off the roof of an iconic LA hotel, well then I’m sorry, but you’ll have to go catch up on your own time. Today I’ll just tell you that I wasn’t supposed to receive any of that information, so I don’t know if it was a supremely shitty clerical error, or them still fucking with me. Either way, I was in the midst of a rant on Twitter about how garbage people are when I started to see something about Paris. I lived there for a bit and still have a lot of people there, and keep hoping that life will quit being shitty long enough for me to be able to be healthy enough and successful enough to save money to move to France like I’ve been wanting since I stopped living there. Not exactly Paris, because I’m pretty over urban life, but still nearby. Then the word “attacks” started to appear, and I started really looking for news. The hashtag #porteouvert came up, and the horror of realizing that the world was just watching, helpless, as a major city was still under attack, unfolded. Nothing else in my life mattered anymore.
My hands were shaking badly and I felt sick, and I couldn’t let go of my phone. I left Twitter long enough to open Facebook Messenger and tersely ask a friend I speak with most every day “Are you in Paris tonight?” She was my roommate when I lived there, and is currently in a suburb outside of Paris, but commutes into the city quite a lot (as Americans, we refuse to drive in Europe). She responded almost immediately to say no, but she was frightened because she’d heard from other friends that it was still ongoing, some people could hear gunshots from their flats, and she was cowered in the basement, away from all windows, because it might not be limited to Paris. I told her about the hashtag to share with any friends in the city who might be away from home, and we tried to keep each other informed with any news that was at least somewhat verified and wasn’t just blind hysteria, which is rather hard when the media is an hour behind everything social media is reporting, and you’re hysterical yourself. Eventually Facebook activated the check-in feature, and my other friends began to check in. Even if my phone was out of my hands and the screen was dark, a notification would appear on the lock screen giving me their name, and that they’d checked in safe. I feel very lucky in saying that none of my friends, no one I know or even that my friends know, were harmed in that attack.
And I wished I was there. Despite the naked fear that followed even into the next day, I wanted to be with the people who had made me so happy in that short time I’d lived there. I wanted to tell them that even though I was a foreigner with a still shaky grip on their language, I could tell them that we’re here for them, that we love them, and that they wouldn’t be alone in dealing with this ugly aftermath. I wanted to be living there right then so I could have a door to open to them and provide a little oasis amidst chaos, instead of sitting thousands of miles away in a studio, frustrated and powerless. France is the reason America is free, and when they tried to be the voice of reason after 9/11, our Congress acted like a bunch of surly teenagers (remember “freedom fries” and pouring delicious French wines down the storm drains?), but they were still, even then, our allies. I suppose this was the price they pay for standing by us, so there’s a lot of guilt over that punishment. I can only hope our more rational current President can support our oldest friends with that same tempered hand that France had with us in our days in fear, and to help them recover and continue to say that terror will not rule any of our lives. Mostly, I can just keep shouting into the wind that people use some critical thinking skills and realize that the Syrian refugees who are still looking for new homes are not to blame for any of this. This is what they’ve been fleeing from! And this is what the shitty people who believe terror is the answer want to have happen. There’s a reason “divide and conquer” is a common phrase, because it’s the most tried and true military tactic. I don’t go out much and most days when I’m not at work I’m lost in my own head, but I hope that in the wake of this, we link arms and show that no, we will not be divided. We have too much history with each other, we love each other too much, to ever let something like this separate us.
Anyway, this is all just disjointed thoughts that I’ve been going over for a week now, but haven’t tried to cohesively write. There’s so much more, but it’s not my place to publish more when I’m so indirectly involved in this. I can only say that I’m glad that my old home, my dearest home and place where I was happiest, is still there and living life. I’m so grateful that the people I know there are still with us, and I can’t wish hard enough that I was there with them. I’m glad that Jarvis is still here, doing his show, because for as much as I abused him during my time in Paris, I was worried about him when the news broke, and much like that time I dropped acid on the Coachella cruise and suddenly realized what a dick I was, I promised to be nicer if only I’d hear that he was okay, and not at the Bataclan that night. So now I guess I have to be nice, even though that’s much less fun. Mostly, I’m glad that I’m hearing positivity and not just blind war-mongering. Of course, I’m writing all this with the knowledge of claims that today is supposed to be a day of worldwide attacks, but all I can do is use the good humanity I saw during and after November 13 and hope it continues today, and that we might all have a peaceful day. Just once. Be safe.