I’m always trying to think of ways I can inspire people. This sounds cheesy but it comes from the darkest darkness – the question, Why do we bother?
I ask myself that question so often that it defines my daily pursuits. I blog to find the answer. I work in marketing and advertising to find the answer: This is why you care. Come over here and look at this.
Yesterday I told a coworker/friend, I’m realizing lately how dark I am.
His response was, with much illustrative gesturing, Black holes eat planets and then spit out entire universes.
I tried to look this up just now on the interwebs, and fell into the black hole called nasa.gov. Wow, are they writing from scientists to scientists. Or am I just high? Whatever. It’s a lovely idea, even if black holes don’t spit stuff out again. Okay let me sell out and look at Wikipedia’s entry (lame, too easy).
A black hole is a region of spacetime exhibiting such strong gravitational effects that nothing—not even particles and electromagnetic radiation such as light—can escape from inside it.
Why didn’t you say so?
Y’know, this may come as a big shock to a lot of people, but women don’t get into math and science because women are 89.1% more likely than men to use the word “doohickey.” A woman may build a rocketship in her garage out of empty cat food tins and the frisbees her ex left behind, but she may not remember the name of the brand of wires she used. Whereas if a man built it, he’d ignore everything and everyone in his life to do it, but he’d know all the brands and all the theories.
One could say that a black hole is, just like it sounds, kids! a place where everything falls in and doesn’t come out again. Kind of like your aunt Beth when she starts telling you stories about her Brownie adventures as a girl in Montana. But simplicity is too easy, and not technically accurate, so instead, let’s start an article off with a definition that requires further research even to understand the definition.
Bullshit, bullshit, she mutters.
Men quantify. Women experience. Am I done making wildly unfair gender-based generalizations? Sure! What the hell was I talking about again?
Scrolling, scrolling ^^^^^^
Omigosh! So funny! I started this off confessing how I’ve wanted so badly to be a New Age guru, a Sheepak Chopra, a wildly sexy, unconventional goddess of knowing. Setting free the masses with my YouTube videos.
Can you hear me snorting in derision at myself?
Not many people are in a mindset where they have the blissful epiphany that, in theory, they’d like to set folks free, but in practice WHY ARE YOU DRIVING SO SLOWLY I WANT TO KILL YOU ARGGGGGGGH…
The question is, Why do you bother?
This question is my fetish, because answering it is always different, and because it feels so fucking good to answer. I dare you to ask yourself and wait, through the tears or the extra slice of pizza, for what emerges. It’s scary, but spectacular.
I bother because I just watched a few episodes of Cher’s show in the 70s, and am awe struck by her vocal capability, her humor and humility, her raw performance style in those sparkly bra-free 70s dresses, and the fact that she inspired probably three thousand drag queens in the years since.
I bother #becausefamily.
I bother because the other day I was walking around the industrial, unpoliced, homeless haven-neighborhood where I work. It was evening, later than I’m usually in the area, and I passed the first police officer I’d seen, uh, actually ever in that neighborhood. This woman in uniform was not discussing matters with one of the bazillion homeless, drugged up, arguing people who walk up and down between bus stops on this street all day. No. She was talking to a teenage girl, friends nearby.
As I passed them, the girl pulled a little $3 liquor bottle out of the front pocket of her hoodie. I thought, Awesome, the seventeen year old from the suburbs gets hassled, because she’s the little girl in that scene in Men in Black where Will Smith chooses to shoot the one who “doesn’t belong.”
I walked up the street back toward my car, shaking my head at how conveniently law enforcement in this city avoids its most drug-ridden, troubled neighborhood until it wants to give a girl from the ‘burbs a lesson she won’t forget about what riding in a cop car.
A tiny woman passed me and said hello.
She was so short and gave off such a strong vibe of friendly innocence that I did a double-take. She apologized when she asked if I had a few bucks. Although the chaos of the neighborhood has hardened me to such requests, this time I found myself reaching for my wallet. As I obtained and handed her a rare cash-money-bill, we chatted about the fact that cops were asking these kids questions. How dumb can you get, she said, referring to the girl walking around with a visible lump in her sweatshirt pocket.
We parted ways.
I got into my car wanting to say, No wait. Really. If there’s anyone watching, this entire encounter, this past ten minutes (maybe twelve?) summarizes the beauty and pain and intrigue of human life. I wanted to tell the homeless lady, No really, I would walk up this street brandishing a fifth and assume no one would stop me.
My attitude is just based on what I see every day walking around here. It looks like no one’s watching. She, on the other hand, assumes everyone is watching. She has been policed. Too many times.
And who knows what happened to the girl with the Wild Turkey in her hoodie pocket.
Three women, one story. Coppage. Hell! Let’s throw the fourth woman in there, the police officer herself, standing under that AM/PM gas station light, asking that girl those questions. That can’t be easy, in fact, that may suck more than any of the things the rest of us experienced in relation to the event.
Maybe the worst thing of all is being the bad cop.
Or the black hole.
Or the girl calling her mom from jail, wondering if by the time her mom answers, she’ll know how to say Um I’m in jail…
Or the woman living on that street that night, happy for a few bucks, happy to not have caught the attention of the cops.
When I ask myself, Why do I bother? I think about those ladies.