Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Midnight is where the day begins

It isn't quite midnight but is close enough. The house is quiet and Bono is sighing and fluttering through Your Blue Room. Ishee is asleep at my feet. It's strange how animals know when there is something wrong with you. Ishee isn't the nicest cat, more apt to bite than to purr. But he has been an angel since I got sick.

Have you ever listened to the silence of your house, late at night, just turn off your TV and mp3 player and listen to the silence coming from the house. Small creaks of the frame of the house settling, the sound of snoring in the other room, the ticking of the carriage clock on the mantel, and in my case the clack of the keys of my keyboard as I write this.

The house is so loud and busy otherwise. The TV's are playing and the phone rings or someone knocks on the door. The cat is complaining about the hair laid across his bunghole and you can hear the cigarette burn when you put it to your lips to take a draw.

I remember in college, I took this class about disablilities and one of our assignments was to cripple ourselves for three days. I went blind. I have these dark Bono sunglasses and I took water soluable glue and stuck cotton balls on the inside to keep my eyelids down. I normally wear corrective lenses, legally blind without them, but I wanted to see what it is like to be blind.

It's wierd. The outside is scary, because it feels like you are walking on the edge of the earth and you are about to fall. I went to the grocery store and I seemed loud and smelly, fruit and vegetables smelled gone over. Flowers feel like strange alien insects. I tried to sit in the kitchen while mom was cooking and it was too loud. So I got up and went into the living room for TV. The only shows I could watch with real meaning was Roseanne and MASH because the characters are as familiar to me as the people I live with. Other programs were like reading a book with pages missing.

The only time I would take the glasses off was to bathe. I turned out the bathroom light and lit a candle and bathed that way. It was very abstract, but as I lay in the water, I felt like the way the blind fetus must feel floating in it's amniotic seas. I have several books on tape and I listened to one of those. I recorded my journal every night before I went to bed.

Blind sex is bizarre. I was dating a boy and he took me to his house and we made love and it was strange because I had no reference point. Sex is so much about seeing and being unable to watch him moving against me and look into his eyes was distracting and I had a difficult time reaching orgasm. TMI? Tough, don't read this if you don't want to. One thing that was fun was exploring him with my hands, his face, his hair, his chest and legs, his penis, smelling every part of him, feeling his body hair. But when he did the same to me, it was as if my body was not my own anymore.

Food was fun though. My mom would fix my plate and then we said the plate was the face of a clock and the potatoes were at twelve, the corn at three, the meat at six and my bread at nine. Food tasted richer though. So there I was, in the dark, realizing that midnight is where the day begins.

The Vampire or the Victim

I made it. Just some nausea but I made it. Tired, but restless.

Back to the Southern Vampires.

We were talking about humanity. Bill's, Sookies, Jason's, the Vamp's in Monroe, the ones at Fangtasia, all the people in this insular little microcosm of life encapsulated in Bon Temps.

There is a real representation in this tale, white and black, rich and poor, old and young, gay and straight, living and undead. I know Charlaine Harris explores the Vampire culture in other parts of America in her other books, but since I haven't read them yet, I will stick to this little middle of the road place where extraordinary people meet under extraordinary circumstances.

As I sat there in the treatment room watching the drip and listening to You Know Who, I began to think of what the world would be like if some humanlike alien were to land smack in the middle of ordinary human life. I know it has been treated before in shows like Alien Nation, but what if we had to relearn everything we had been taught for centuries about a certain tribe or race of people.

It has happened among our own human race with the various groups that flowed into the larger world, especially in America. Where there were once the Native peoples of the Americas, free to roam and live and fight and celebrate and die on this continent, now there is a melting pot. We have people here for reasons of slavery, war, some just looking for something else, maybe a little better than they had at home, some looking for freedom, for identity, for a life different from their own.

I think it is fascinationg that Harris makes her Vampire Bill a Civil War Veteran when now, he wants to have civil rights that were denied the slaves that lived in his father's house. Now Bill is the one looked at with contempt and suspicion. That her story is set in the Deep South, the unfortunate hot bed of so much bigotry is not lost on me and now Bill suffers because of the fears and prejudices that exist there. He is white, supposedly of the privileged class, but as one of Arlene's children observed, "Mamma, he's so white," Arlene responds, "No baby, we're white, he's dead," And when you are the object of prejudice, aren't you dead to the world of justice and equality?

Bill and the other Vampires do not see themselves as human. Why? Is it more than just Vampire arrogance for their race? Or is it that after being characterized as monsters and beasts they have voluntarily given up on their humanity, considered it not important enough to fight for because no one will change?

And doesn't that happen when you give up on yourself? Nothing left to fight for so you look at other people as smaller than you, less substantial. Don't we feed on each other's fears, like a Vampire feeds on his human victim? We twist truths and generalizations and we promote the notion that the people we hate are less human, less capable of values and virtues, mindless and destructive?

Today, we paint pictures of people we hate. Take Muslims for example. Don't we bestialize the Muslim people, characterize all Muslims as mad, vicious animals, blood thirsty beasts, demons who turn away from the True Faith? I admit to that, hell, confession is good for the soul. But when we turn to face that local enemy, the quiet Muslim man who loves America and is as insulted as I about September 11, don't we in turn become the slavering beast of horror? Don't we become the beastial creature who desires the life blood. Aren't we as the Vampires of old and new?

Let's hope Bill and Sookie and all the others discover this truth.

The Rain

I woke up this morning to the rain. It was still dark outside and the rain was coming down in steady little patter. I lie in the dark and listen to it and think of how cooling it is. The nights and days have been cooler and i have had the opportunity to live without the air conditioner. The air conditioner runs all through the summer and becomes a sort of irritating white noise after a while, tricking my ears into thinking they can't hear things. But now, like Sookie in her cone of silence with her beloved Bill, I can listen to the night sounds, the crickets, the night birds, the wind.

I slept well last night. I didn't dream at all. I feel better, stronger, even. But today I have to go to the hospital for my first treatment. I'll take my mp3 player and my copy of Dead Until Dark and read it while I take the cure.

It's raining again. Here comes the rain again, falling on my head like a melody, falling on my head like a new emotion.