My girlfriend had an issue with our dinner the other day. She says it felt uncomfortable being with my “straight laced” friends since we were the only ones there living an alternative lifestyle. She seems to think you’re self centred which is ridiculous. I had to explain to her that my 9-to-5ver friends don’t talk about their profession, they aren’t assholes at all. Deep down their just like us and in fact they feel like their health and home insurance benefits, the gleaming pimped up cars in the garage, the rent paid up in advance and the fat salary are not great at all and that having a career is the worst thing ever. They don’t even discuss their frustrations and office politics and would rather hear about my various projects that barely pay my bills and romanticise my starving-artist-trying-to-get paid tales. They are wonderful people. I guess she’ll get more acquainted with you guys the more I bring her to our weekly dinner.
Things change, I get nostalgic sometimes and I think about a few things and maybe its not so rosy. I remember when we would huddle in cramped dorm rooms and talk about politics. With our select brews in hand to coat our throats we went on for hours debating and reviewing policies, ridiculing politicians and jestfully taunting each other for our political views. When it came to being vocal about social injustices you were unashamed and unrelenting and spoke tirelessly. When it came to rallying other students to join a cause you were passionate and a joy to watch. The past is a beautiful but a painful memory when I think of what you used to be. Now you are muzzled.
The same mouth that spoke of progress, revolution and strategic reform now wraps itself around cigars. You let out half spun rhetoric about the rigid systems in place that you cannot leap over. Do you not remember the noodles we lived on for breakfast lunch dinner and snack time? I see your belly blowing up your tailored shirt and its a sign that you are falling victim to fast food. Safe to say a cleanse is in order and I have a batch of all natural homemade shakes that would help with your weight gain. That steak you ordered right in front of me with no shame is the reason you are bloating up. God doesn’t condone gluttony, my friend. I saw you speed fast in your sports car while I was jogging the other day. I wonder how you can live with yourself driving an over-priced, gas guzzling, noise pollutant like that. Have you no regard for insect life? Think of the innocent bugs that smash into your windshield and the millipedes you run over when all they wanted was to get to the other side.
For a while I assumed you were aware that your role as the Trojan horse in The Man’s world was pivotal but now I am not so sure. When you speak I can smell the hopelessness in your voice that you try to glaze over with what you think is words I need to hear. You were supposed to be our champion but it seems you have been seduced by restaurant dinners. The team building weekend trips mean you have been assimilated and embraced as part of the fold. You are so out of touch you don’t even compliment my counter culture threads anymore. I would like it if you would show appreciation now and then because it takes years to perfect this only-bath-on-occasion look. Anyway, I still have a little hope. My best bet is to assume you are just lying in wait for the day you can effect that change from the inside.
Sometimes I think maybe I have my head in the clouds chasing ideals that we cannot live up to. Sometimes my soul gets weary and I wonder what I am fighting for when we still don’t have peace in the Middle East and paperless offices. My mind is always racing thinking about the future and my day-to-day struggles that seem not to end. When I am at my lowest I hear of a success story in a far off country and I think maybe what is needed is one small push to tip the scales. Maybe the next article, the next conversation with a youth, the next debate with a politician, the next vote will be the straw that brings the camel to its knees. When I am almost ready to give up, I see the hope in a toddler’s face that walks for an hour to school every day, the determination in a single parent who works 2 jobs to provide, the daring of a freegan ready to devour a 3 week old burger and the resilience of a labourer that cuts grass on the roadside in the heat. Those are the same looks I saw on your face when you spoke of the future and I pray that one day you will find that hunger again, brother.
I hope you sleep well knowing you are a sellout and a disgrace to the revolutionaries and creators of peace everywhere.