I Can Not Afford To Care About Egypt

You may recall that in the summer of 2009, thousands of young people in Iran took to the streets, protesting the authoritarian government and seeking some measure of control over their own destinies. I loved it. I felt a great swooping optimism about the middle east that I had never felt in my entire life. I prayed for Obama to put down his ice cream cone and say something to the people of Iran. Say he stood with them for freedom. Say… anything.

Instead, our president shamed me by remaining silent. Nine days after the brutal regime killed hundreds of protestors, including Neda Soltan, a young woman who was not protesting at all, but standing with her father when a bullet fired by one of the secret police struck her in the head. Her horrifying death went viral on YouTube and on that day, we really all were Iranians. The blood that haloed around her broken head was the same blood that flowed in all our veins. She was just a young woman, not a radical. And her gravesite was never disclosed because after the Iranian government quelled the protests, the government did not want her to become a martyr.

In the face of that bloodshed, brutality and evil, Barrack Hussain Obama took to a microphone to say, “We will continue to bear witness.”

Yes, we did. But some of us wanted more. We saw that moment as an opportunity to overturn not just the Iranian dictatorship that held its citizens in a steely death grip, but indeed to end all authoritarian regimes across the Arab/Persian/North African world. How I longed to see those fragile, sclerotic regimes topple brick by brick into the deep blue sea. How I ached to hear that Ahamadinijad had been assassinated.

But that was not in the cards. Our government and indeed all western governments saw fit to not utter a word of rebuke for the regimes or comfort for the protestors who risked their lives to leak out tweets and texts. Here, I posted some of those tweets:

Time to go: ABC thrown out of Iran http://bit.ly/15KqDD #iranelection

My death is irrelevant.Wht is important is that you do not forget my words.We want freedom.i will die for that #IranElection

140 chars is a novel when you’re being shot at. #iranelection

NEWS confirmed: Satellite dishes wr taken away fr ppl in Tehran #gr88 #iranelection

These 2 sites fake designed by state 2 gather info on protestors: mirhoseyn.ir & mirhoseyn.com Warn people& hack #IranElection

Youtube pulling graphic videos of the #IranElection. RT PLEASE: use liveleak.com not youtube for Iran videos

“natarsid,ma hame baham hastim” ” dont be afraid,we’re all in this together” shouted by people when police charged #iranelection

“Anyone with camera or laptop is attacked in streets” #iranelection #gr88

I’ve learned something today. Americans DO care about the world outside America Their media just doesn’t #iranelection

Be careful to remove username when reposting tweet from protesters inside iran. Govt is srching them out. …

our lives are in real danger now – we are the eyes – they need to stop us – #Iranelection

Yes, we bore witness – which was an excuse to do nothing. Reasonable people can argue about why the leader of the free world did nothing. Some would say that we learned a lesson from Iraq: don’t interfere in the affairs of the Middle East. Some might say he was simply a pussy. Actually, I would say that.

As an American, I do not get many opportunities in this climate to be proud of America. I am constantly told that I am what is wrong with the world. Well, on that day, I felt for the first time in my life that we deserved whatever hateful things the rest of the world might say. We were too satisfied with “bearing witness”. Not enough action in that plan.

As news about riots in other parts of the middle east began to filter past my daily wall of work, exercise, friends, I felt those tentative green shoots of optimism even before I understood what was happening. My instinct was a feeling: Yes, Yemen, yes, Gabon, yes Tunisia, rise up! Yes, fight for your God-given freedom!

The news has gotten worse from Egypt, particularly. The Muslim authorities have closed Twitter and Facebook and possibly phones. I want to continue feeling optimistic and angry – I want them to rise up. Smash their chains. This is the time to do it. The Tea Party has set off a thirst for freedom in this country, and with the world in such utter chaos, it seems only right that same strand of individualistic freedom DNA would be activated overseas too.

This is one of the reasons we went to war in Iraq. Those people were born wanting freedom just as we are. The concept was important enough to us that we had a war with ourselves over the concept of being freeborn men. We are the only nation in the entire world to do so. We are FUCKING AWESOME. Yes, they should follow our lead. They should care enough about freedom that nothing else matters. They should disrupt, protest, scream, and kill until they get the freedom that is their birthright.

I hope that happens. But unlike the summer of 2009, I simply can not afford to care. We will likely not do anything about these events, regardless of how dramatic they are. If the protestors can overthrow their oppressors on their own, my country will say yes, see, we exported freedom! If not, we’ll just shut up about it, exactly like we did with the protests of 2009.

I guess I am a little jaded now. I don’t think it will happen. I saw the Iranian government crush the protests too easily, with naked violence, and now there is not a peep. I suspect the brutal governments of those other places will do the same thing.

I hope I’m wrong.

Just Four Times More

On Facebook, Sheila announced that her sister Siobhan is playing at an event at the American Folk Art Museum on Friday. In support, I mentioned that one of my favorite songs is “Just Four Times More” by Siobhan. And Sheila, because she’s crazy, remembered that one sultry summer many a year ago, I wrote about a happy evening with Sean that included that song. I can not find it in my archives so I shall try to recreate it now – though I am sad to say that I no longer remember the original details. I guess this is why I write – to try to document the details and capture the richness of those moments.

The kitchen in Sean’s apartment was vast, and there was something I am tempted to call an island, though it’s not quite right. It was a cabinet that ran the length of the kitchen and there were three or four bar chairs on the opposite side, so it was a mix of an island and a bar. I loved the kitchen and spent hours cooking, experimenting, baking. I remember Sean got home a little bit early and together, with his son, we made dinner. I don’t remember what we made or how it tasted, but I remember that making it was just … it sparkles in my memory. It felt light and fun. I was happy, Sean was happy. He kept grabbing me by the waist, kissing me. I would grab his son and dance with him around the kitchen while Sean told me to “let him lead.” Maybe the reason I can’t remember much about it is because I can only remember the most extraordinary light-hearted happiness – it’s as if the emotion takes up the whole memory. There’s no room for reason. For such a light emotion, it has such extraordinary weight and mass.

And the background, the music we were dancing to, being happy to, was Just Four Times More by Siobhan O’Malley. To this day, when I hear it, I hear the laughter of a five year old boy, and the soft whispers of Sean’s breath in my ear, his arms around my waist holding me close against his tall, hard body, singing along to the lyrics. “Just four times more…”

The Secret Code

Sheila asked about Sean’s code so I thought I should start at the beginning.

I had been dating Sean for about three months; we were in a weird in-between phase: falling in love but not admitting it. It was one of the only times in my life I’d ever been able to actually play it cool. One Friday evening, Sean and I joined some coworkers and various friends for dinner and drinks. After dinner, most of the people left. One of the guys who remained was Paul, Sean’s best friend since high school. He had been Sean’s best man at his wedding and they had worked together at Cantor for years. Paul, another guy named Chris and his date, Sean and myself walked to a bar. We hung out for a few hours, and then somebody got the bright idea to do karaoke. We were just tipsy enough that this sounded like a really great idea.

We ended up at a tiny subterranean karaoke den, tucked into an otherwise sterile midtown block. We found a big table and ordered more drinks. Sean sat beside me, occasionally kissing me, asking if I was comfortable. I assured him I was fine, having a great time. And I really was. I was enjoying him. Meeting his friends and coworkers was fun, but there was a subtext to that. One of the great Relationship Steps. I cuddled in his arms and sipped my drink.

Suddenly Sean stood up and announced he was going to sing. The whole table went crazy. Paul and Chris started yelling, egging him on. I was not optimistic. He had a lovely speaking voice but I’d never heard him so much as hum along to a song. I sipped my drink and slung myself low in the banquette.

I remember the spotlight was dark and blue. I remember his blazing white shirt appeared blue – and he shot the cuffs just for show. I remember his eyes which were normally very blue looked like the color of the earth viewed from space. Everyone at the table continued whistling and shouting, but I didn’t do anything. I just sat there, waiting to be embarrassed for him, thinking how good he looked.

He took the microphone in his hand as the song he had chosen began to play. I recognized the opening stanza of… Arthur’s Theme by Christopher Cross. I felt the floor opening up beneath me. If there was a more cheesy song on the planet, I had never heard it. This was going to redefine bad. This was going to be epic in its suckitude. I knew it. Everybody knew it. In fact, I could not think of a more humiliating way to die – by embarrassement for singing Arthur’s Theme in front of your friends and your new girlfriend. If possible, I sank even lower in my seat.

He smiled, then held the microphone a few inches from his mouth and out came a few notes of the most effortlessly sexy voice I had ever heard in my life.

Once in your life you find her
Someone who turns your heart around
And next thing you know you’re closing down the town

Being shocked was one thing. But being surprised… oh that was another. He wasn’t playing it cheesy. His voice was cool and even, tinged with sadness. I felt myself smiling. Everyone at our table was still howling, not quite realizing that this wasn’t cheesy yet. I was sitting up now, paying real attention. His eyes found mine and didn’t move.

Wake up and it’s still with you
Even though you left her way across town
Wondering to yourself, hey, what’ve I found

When you get caught between the moon and New York City
I know it’s crazy, but it’s true
If you get caught between the moon and New York City
The best that you can do
The best that you can do is fall in love

Arthur he does as he pleases
All of his life, he’s mastered choice
Deep in his heart, he’s just, he’s just a boy
Living his life one day at a time
And showing himself a really good time
Laughing about the way they want him to be

When you get caught between the moon and New York City
I know it’s crazy, but it’s true
If you get caught between the moon and New York City
The best that you can do …..
The best that you can do is fall in love

I sat at the table, feeling my cheeks flaming, my heart racing. He was singing directly to me, and somehow, it was the perfect song. By the time it was over, everyone at the table was losing their mind, shouting and applauding. Sean gracefully put the microphone back on the stand and walked down the steps to the table. He sat down beside me and I hugged him. I was literally speechless.

“You okay?”

I nodded, but I was all jangled up inside. It was crazy – serenade by Arthur’s Theme? Really? Still, I was deeply, profoundly touched. I took a sip of my drink and held his hand.

“You ready to go?” he asked.

I nodded, surprising myself. I was having a great time, I liked his friends, I loved being out in New York with him. But yes, I wanted to go. I needed quiet; something was happening that deserved reverence and quiet.

On the curb, he caught a taxi. We made out like teenagers on the way to CPW. At some point, I pulled back and leaned against the door. I looked past him, to the lights passing on the horizon, sparks blowing through the smoke of night. A decision had been made. I was going to let this become what it was going to be – I would stumble, eagerly, blind, cleansed of memory, through the maze of metal days to lead me to the last moment: the single depthless mirror of the future.

Later, he would send me notes that said OIYLYFH.

Once in your life you find her.

Me. He found me. The song was the most direct way to say it.

Someone who turns your heart around.

The Company Men: Pity The White Collar Jerk

Please do yourself a favor and read Sheila’s review of Company Men. It seems like an amazing movie; I will definitely check it out just because the subject matter is, how do you say, right up my alley, but also I love the way Sheila describes it. Check it out!

Hoarder Lady A NOW Member?

Curbed is one of my guilty pleasures. When I lived in NYC, I became obsessed with real estate, and I guess it never quite left. Anyway, tonight I was reading an article from the neighbor of a hoarder. When a cleaning crew finally came in to clean up her mess, he sneaked over and took pictures. This is the one that amuses me the most:

Is that a NOW sign? It says “National”… Something. I can’t see it very well but it’s the same font as the sign I just took of the now.org website:

You know, that is pretty much what I think all NOW women must live like. But seriously, if this woman is living in her own filth, why should anyone respect her? She clearly doesn’t respect herself. I think this is true about most NOW ladies. They think they are entitled to respect and even deference when they do nothing to be shrill, ugly women who look like men.

Fighting Back

The studio was exactly like every other studio I’ve ever walked into: a long rectangular room with full length mirrors and barres against the walls. The women were different. They were, I realized with dismay, like me. Ordinary women who were either taking a break from the mommy trolley or were fresh from work, trying to squeeze in a workout to help fight the middle-age flab. Dressed in yoga pants, exercise socks, flowy sleeveless shirts. I took a position at the barre and waited for the instructor.

It has been ten years since I’ve been in a ballet class. I have a lot of reasons for this and none of them make me happy. Ballet, for one thing, ages you terribly. If you can still dance with any grace at age thirty, you’re a rare bird indeed. But it has enjoyed a resurgence recently, as pilates and yoga classes have incorporated ballet, vaulting it to trend status.

Thus I decided to take a barre class. It was a spontaneous decision, made literally an hour before it began, while I was at my desk, glazey-eyed with the mid-afternoon slump. Once I decided, I felt a momentary hesitation, but the Id took over and said you ride the momentum, you must go.

Thus, I found myself at a barre, feeling nervous and nostalgic. The instructor was about twenty, with an absolutely flawless willowy body. She began with some old stretches and warm-ups I remembered from days past, and then she cranked it up a notch.

That woman absolutely destroyed me physically. It was invigorating because it connected me to my youthful self, the girl who could effortlessly soar. But it also reminded me that, alas, I am no longer twenty. The downward pressure on every leap was incredible. My legs would not go where I wanted them to go or where I remembered them going, but I didn’t give up. Though I confess, at the end, there were a few counts that I missed because I was desperately trying to recapture my breath.

My legs were trembling at the end. My abs trembled. My body felt like knots of raw spastic nerves. But I also felt amazing. I had not worked out like that in a very long time and it felt good to give it all to something.

Later as I walked on jello legs to the parking lot, I felt like that class was a line in the sand. It was the moment that I stopped being stuck in a rut. It was the moment I decided that no, I would not march into middle-age with nary a struggle. It was the moment that I became aware that there was still life inside myself. I no longer had to be content to be boring and never have anything new to say or think or feel. It was just a stupid ballet class – but to me it was a corridor to a better world. It did not promise to return me to my twenties. It only offered to make me better today than I was yesterday.

It was an offer, and I snapped it up.

A Vexing Question

This sort of goes with this, an ancient thread that has been revived on my Enron blog.

I think it is amusing. I love the fact it’s driving Sean crazy.

Sheila, Tracey, Sean, and Todd’s Mom: You Are The Best

Thank you. I just found this again and it cracked me like an egg.

The Panty App

This is why I only accept gifts of La Perla, not some fly by night panty peddler.

According to the website:

Ever worry about your wife cheating?

Want to know where your daughter is late at night?

Need to know when your girlfriend’s temperature is rising?

This amazing device will answer all of your questions! These panties can give you her location, and even her temperature and heart rate, and she will never even know it’s there! Unlike the cumbersome and uncomfortable chastity belts of the past, these panties are 100% cotton, and use cutting-edge technology to help you protect what matters most.

Just plain wow. Sicko.

Cara Ellison Corp. Takes Delivery of New Jets

On the very day Cara Ellison Corporation took delivery of its new fleet of jets, this arrived in the Cara Ellison Corp. mailroom:

It came with a brochure:

Doesn’t this company read the news? Sheesh.

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