Updated: Jan 21
I’m sitting out on my balcony in the dark. I’m not supposed to like it here, but I do. This morning I woke up and caught a sliver of light seeping in through the crack between the wall and my blackout curtain. I pulled the pillow over my head like an angsty sitcom teen on a school day, and wished that it was night time again. Not yesternight, just night. Dark. Still.
I like it out here because I can watch the bats and listen to the cars, and the uproarious sound of planes taking off and landing. I’m not supposed to like any of those things either. Bats are apparently considered pests. I ought to stop gravitating towards loathsome things and dwellers of dark spaces. Traffic is the centre of innumerable plaintive overheard conversations, and people lose sleep over living in close proximity to airport terminals.
I should resent cars and planes because they pollute, and my inner hippie says “fuck all these machines, go back to nature”. When I’m not in judgment mode though, when I’m just allowing myself to be in the moment, I like the way the vibrations shake the walls and make me feel like the world might just that easily come to an end. I’m not supposed to like these things but bats are my spirit animal, I like the way the city sounds, and the hum of engines makes my dreams come alive.
It’s humid, I think. I’ve never really been able to tell. I’ve been told that I shouldn’t like that either, but I do. It must be humid because the Roots sweatpants I’ve got on to keep the mosquitoes away from my must-be maple-syrup flavoured blood, are sticking to me like freshly licked stamps.
Someone actually invented a device that moistens stamps for you so that you don’t have to lick them…and offices stock them. I ordered them when I worked at my office job, in those devastatingly dull months after university. Millions of children don’t have water or shoes, and I personally ordered hundreds of dollars worth of non-recyclable plastic receptacles that moisten stamps. I know what you’re thinking “But Dré, they serve a purpose. You’re not meant to lick stamps because the glue contains toxic chemicals”. WHY ARE WE STILL MAKING SHIT WITH TOXIC CHEMICALS IN IT?! No correlation with the increase in cancer rates. Surely not.
I was working on one of those pieces again, an article with a lesson for the reader. One where I set it up like a story, carefully worded, with an uplifting conclusion, and a take-away. Those are getting more difficult to write though, as I’ve realized that life is not a collection of increasingly happy endings, and I certainly don’t have all the answers. It’s not this linear straight up ascent. It’s ups and downs and fucking screeching halts and corkscrew inversion twists that make you never want to go to Six Flags again…until you do. I wanted to finish that piece but it all just seemed too scripted. So I wrote this instead.
A ute just pulled up outside playing “Holler if ya hear me”. Thank god for that. Thank god for Tupac Shakur. Thank god for Hip Hop. No genre gets me more pumped up. I’m not supposed to like that either though because it’s provocative and some of it conveys problematic messages but so does everything else. Have you watched the Disney movies that we grew up on? What a way to screw up generations upon generations. But Disney movies promote things that are advantageous to rich white men, so they’re okay. Let’s keep proliferating disguised oppression.
I heard it again today. Another unrequited opinion about how I should love. Or shouldn’t. I’m not supposed to like how heartbreaks feels. But I do. It means that I’m really feeling again, for the first time in years. I listen to the instructions though, you know…for next time. I should be more guarded, tread more carefully, choose more wisely. I should trust less, judge more, fear more. Essentially, I should love less. I solemnly swear to do just the opposite. I shouldn’t love broken people or book one way tickets to visit briefly encountered soulmates but I do, and I never won’t. I’ll always love fiercely, nonsensically, unconditionally, even if it’s not how society thinks it should be done. Even if it all comes crashing down like a condemned building. To rebuild, means to enhance one’s masonry skills.
Apparently there are people on the other side of the world who think I’ve been to rehab. Fuck, I wish I knew about this imaginary rehab stint. The closest I’ve been is a single AA meeting at Burning Man. I wish I had been to rehab though. It would have been way easier than getting sober of my own volition, in a society where alcoholism is encouraged and celebrated; where you are isolated, patronized and even pitied for choosing to refrain from excessive consumption.
Alas, fear not for me, dear friends. This is not a disease or a deprivation, it is a personal choice. I chose after countless years on the bottle, no longer to participate in this normalized systemic brain-numbing that was hindering my progression. It’s up there on my list of decent life decisions.
And that’s all folks. Notes from a darkened Newtown balcony on a humid January night.
Oh and, challenge the systems in place.
The closest I've felt to home in years-- my little balcony corner, Newtown, Sydney, Australia, January 2018.