Monday, February 16, 2009

Yesterday I went to a viewing of a short documentary about the Zapatistas in Chiapas, Mexico. The Zapatistas are a group of people indigenous to Mexico through the Mayan ancestry and whose land has been taken away by the Mexican government, leaving them poor and without a means for sustainable living. The professor who presented it said something very powerful. He said that this is our struggle too. There isn't their poverty and their poverty and their poverty, but it is a universal poverty, it is our problem. He went on to say that it isn't "doing for" others that is a means to overcome poverty - that's all well and good and can be beneficial. It's not even a "doing with" others - working together to overcome. It's a "being with." It's a deep connection and relationship with the people who are dealing with the problems and a commitment to be poor with them until their fight is won.

The idea of social activism has always made my bones tingle. I tend to give high value to macro-level policy reformation and creation. But there is need from both the top and the bottom to invoke social change. I just want to be a part of it - that's all I ask. A part of the global movement towards equality in all measures of the word.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

I Fell Asleep Laughing

I'm pretty sure Valerie and I were secretly in a movie last night. Let me tell you what happened.

We were sitting at Natty Greene's just drinking our beers chatting and watching the craziness around us. These two guys approach us and thus the awkwardness ensues. They ask us if they can sit down and we didn't really respond with an affirmative, but they took their places on the bar stools. Names: Andrew and Peter. Handshakes: fishlike and gimp. Attire: Button ups, pleated khakis, and blazers. I think the sequence of our conversation started with them disclosing that they were from Guilford, and then they asked where we went to school. I asked what they were studying, where they were from, etc. (This was the type of conversation for the most part - me asking them questions while Valerie just sat there, fiddling with her engagement ring!) Oh, man, so Peter asks us if we have gone to any concerts lately. Ohhh, man - this is where it gets good. I tell them I mainly go and see local bands, nothing mainstream. And then they proceed to tell us how much in love with 80s music they are. They riddle off all the shows they've gone to - REO Speedwagon, Alice Cooper, Tears for Fears. I somehow list some 80s songs that I listened to in high school and Andrew tells me which album it was off of and when it was released. Valerie and I both drink our beers as fast as possible and tell them we are off going to another bar. Easy escape.

But it's not over. We part ways with an awkward handshake. We can't believe what just happened. We go to McCoul's to debrief and after about an hour I go to the bathroom. When I return, lo and behold, Andrew and Peter have arrived. I sit down and Valerie is stiffling her laughter so much that she is crying. We don't understand! We don't talk with them much and as we finish our beers and get ready to leave an 80s song starts to play. We look over and they are singing along with it, nodding their heads to the beat. Perfect ending.