to my fellow american,

07/05/2009

to my fellow american (specifically, the man who sat in front of my friends and i last night),

you were there among the thousands of us there to enjoy the symphony, fireworks and friends.  oh, and to celebrate America.

you likely trekked to symphony park by 10 am to stake your claim on the 8 x 4 section of grass of the steep hill.  thirty-two square feet of marked territory which you wouldn’t actually begin to enjoy until 7:30 pm.  well done.  as is customary in the polite south, the people on all sides of you left a safe 2 to 3 foot border around your blanket.

my four friends and i arrived relaxed at 6:30 pm and decided we could easily sit in a straight line in the 3 x8 foot section behind your staked domain.  we sat down and greatly enjoyed our picnic and each others company to the backdrop of a surprisingly cool southern evening.

then you arrived,  joyless and inhibited.

my friends and i continued our subdued celebration on the steep hill.  cucumber sandwiches, kettle chips, strawberries and swiss chocolate, goat cheese and crackers, mint cookie pudding, laughter, stories, smiles, and the occasional silent gaze into the sky.

among us, we were clinging to moments and stories:  the surprising return (the day before) of one from honduras, the imminent departure (four days later) of one to boone.

when suddenly, tragedy of all tragedies occured.

our blanket encroached upon your blanket.  and if that’s not offense enough, our (clean) plastic-ware also succomed to the 30 degree incline, as it slid slowly across the borderline.

all of this causing you, condensating chardonnay glass in hand, to turn around and “ask” us to get our “[expletive] off your blanket”.  some of us fumbled with apology, looking around for offending posessions (oh, a clean plastic spoon!  how dare you!)  then asking if there was anything else we could do.  you rolled your eyes.  you scoffed.  your two female companions fell silent and cut their eyes at you.  you humiliated them.  others of us sat silent in astonishment as our blood pressure rose and we stared up at the sky, preparing a full out assault upon your territorial philosophy should your words continue.

oh, and we were unable to kindly mention (amid your rant) there was 3 feet of empty grass in front of you.  you could’ve moved down if we were so intolerable.

your sense of entitlement disgusts me.  your selfishness disgusts me.  your ankle tattoo fooled me-  i expect someone with body-art to be slightly more relaxed.

but i don’t know you.   i don’t know what made you the joyless, controlling, caustic man you are today.  i don’t know your story, but i’m sure there is sadness.  i’m sure there is hurt.  in the future, please refrain from taking it out on five relatively quiet, polite, generous young women.  hell, we would’ve likely shared our food with you had we not been terrified of reproach.

last night, you embodied everything i hate about this country,  particularly my generation.  individualism mutated into territorialism and entitlement.  independence mutated into self-sufficiency and selfishness.  it was all i could do not to throw my bohemian lager in your face.

so last night, when the symphony got to my favorite part of their annual performance: each military  branch’s theme song, where they  current or former service men and women stand proudly, most of them choking back tears…

and this morning, when i walked with a family in their neighborhood parade, filled with kids decked out in red, white and blue streamers and then enjoyed poolside hamburgers and watermelon…

and tonight, when i walked my galut of a dog through my festive neighborhood past families and friends gathered in dozens of lively celebrations, horseshoes clanging for hours, little girls dancing to varied beats in front yards and the unbelievably good smells wafting from grills and was met with waves, smiles and exclamations of “happy independence day!  your dog is awesome!”…

i was reminded america remains much more than what you embodied.

though i am not proud to be an American, most days i am thankful.

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”

George Orwell

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2 Responses to “to my fellow american,”

  1. Melissa said

    Ouch. Sorry about that one.

  2. Melissa said

    Also– this was listed below your post… not sure if I understand the connection?

    “Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)

    * Times have changed…
    * When You Don’t Like Your Kids’ Friends’ Parents
    * Why Congress Was Reading Obama’s Speech
    * How was your child conceived?”

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