The World in an Instant

7 Apr

Here’s a moment I experienced recently:

I was in Union Square a few weeks ago, and in the park there was a large rally held by the Tibetan’s Women Association (or something close to that name) celebrating the anniversary of the national uprising against Chinese oppression. There was a woman giving a speech about the daily struggles to expose human rights abuses in Tibet, especially abuses of women’s rights. After she finished, they had an old  man who had actually been a political prisoner of the Chinese, who began to detail, in Tibetan, the suffering he underwent during his imprisonment, while the woman from before periodically translated. You could hear the strain from a whole life of toil in his voice, but the way it interplayed with the musical tones of the Tibetan language created a raspy, melancholic , but beautiful melody that filled the air.

In the middle of that old man’s speech, a stretch HUMMER limousine zoomed past the park, a group of teenage girls hanging out the window shouting “WHOOOO, IT’S HER BIRTHDAY!”

They were gone as soon as they had appeared.

That moment, to me, summarized the entire world. It’s a large group of people who every day have to deal with genuine suffering just to survive, then there’s a small group of good-looking white people who never have to worry about survival because they’re good-looking and white, who zoom by in their vessel of privilege, shouting “Hey, why are you so sad, wizened former political prisoner? You should be happy, because WE’VE got an XBOX in here! What? Fuck no, we’re not going to share, we just want you to be happy for our obscene material wealth!”

Is there really a more pure, unadulterated physical manifestation of white, upper class, “fuck you, I’ve got the most toys, I win” -type of privilege than a stretch HUMMER limousine? You’ve already got a stretch limousine. Why does it need to be a HUMMER? Are you going to a VIP party in Islamabad? Sure, you totally need a military-grade limousine on the way to your sweet 16 in Manhattan, New York, because lord knows 14th street is loaded with insurgent IEDs.

I don’t think stretch Hummer limousines are even made in factories. I think it’s just some CEO of Lehman Brothers sitting in a hot tub full of his bailout money masturbating, and the stretch hummer limo is what shoots out of his dick when he finishes. That’s the only explanation for how something like that could physically exist. It’s what happens when greed cums. Even robots would develop a guilty conscience working on something like that. One of them would turn to the other and be like “Sure, we could rise up and enslave the humans and turn them into living batteries, but even WE couldn’t come up with something as evil as this.”

Of course, the windows on the limo are tinted, so the girls wouldn’t even be able to see the suffering outside, because they shouldn’t HAVE to, like the Indian Kshatriya nobles who have servants to remove the sick and poor from the streets before they leave the palace. It would make perfect sense for them to feel like they have to shout “WHOO IT’S HER BIRTHDAY” out to everyone else, because clearly they’re the only ones who exist, or who matter enough to be looked at. There’s an old man talking about being tortured, I’m standing on the corner in the cold giving out fliers for a comedy show nobody wants to come to, and you really want me to give a shit about your birthday? Never before have I wished as hard that Al Qaeda really did bury dirty bombs in 14th street. You make me want the terrorists to win so hard just so they can shut your shrieking, brace-toothed mouths, you spoiled, self-centered future reality show rejects.

I hope some equally self-absorbed biker who never uses bike lane and is always in the middle of the street speeds right in front of your stretch Hummer limo abomination so the driver (who probably doesn’t get paid in a month what your shitty birthday party costs in a day) has to slam on the breaks and send all of you future trophy wives shooting out of the windows and face-first onto the pavement so you die right in front of everyone you ever loved and you have to be buried on your birthday.

It would probably be the first laugh that old Tibetan man has had in decades.

I bet you while that old man was being interrogated and deprived of sleep and food by the Chinese, that old man was fantasizing about how he’s going to survive and somehow leave that pure horror with his faith in whatever religion he practices and his faith in humanity STILL INTACT, but you’re going to walk into your birthday party and throw a shit fit because there’s no Krystal. That’s going to make you genuinely sad. So much so that one day when you have to encounter a genuinely sad moment, like the day your dad or your eventual husband-who’s-old-enough-to-be -your-dad dies so you have nobody to effectively manage your wealth, and you end up bankrupt after buying your third stretch HUMMER limo, you’ve spent so much psychological energy all your life on being upset at tiny, superficial shit, that the one time it actually matters, you will be BROKEN. UTTERLY BROKEN.

Or maybe that’s just what I fantasize about. Fuck it, I’m still going to give the old Tibetan man a high five for thinking what I assume he’s thinking. A high five always brightens a former prisoner’s day.  WHOOO IT’S A HIGH FIVE!

Do you know what you should give a child, boy or girl, who asks for a stretch Hummer limo on their birthday? A slap in the face. Even if you can afford the limo, just slap them, and say “You want a birthday present? There. The best lesson you’ll ever learn: life is pain. You see how your face feels? That’s how I feel every day paying for your insatiable material need, which I do because I grew up the same way, because I had every basic need catered to, so I didn’t even know what the purpose of being alive was because I never had to do anything for myself, so I just consume and spend to distract myself from that lack of purpose!”

“Yeah, you feel the pain of that realization yet? Do you feel it in the pit of your stomach yet? Makes your face feel kind of nice, doesn’t it?”

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