Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Oh, Are We Fighting? Sorry, Didn't Notice

The White Sox are in town, so Suzanne came in and she, Marley and I went out to dinner the other day.

"The thing I love about New York," Suzanne said, "is how everyone has such an attitude."

That confused me. "You love that about New York?"

"Oh yeah! It's a swagger. Like confidence. You think you're all so superior."

Still not getting it. "Again, this is the thing you like?"

"Totally! There's no hatred! Everyone has this idea about New York, like you look down on everyone."

"Well, we kinda do," I had to admit.

"Yes," she said, "but not in a bad way. Everyone else has this us against them mentality. They see New York as the enemy. Like, people in Chicago, we have this attitude that we're the best of both worlds, because we're a major city in the mid-west. We combine the pure, old-fashioned, rootsy heartland American ideals with modern, industrialized city life. But we have this bitterness that we don't get credit for that because we're still not as big and recognized as New York City. Chicagoans pretty much hate New York. But let me ask you this, what's you're opinion of Chicago?"

"Well, I like you."

She laughed. "Oh, you are SO sweet! But seriously, not what you think of me, what you think of the city of Chicago."

I though for a second and said, "It's alright, I guess. I don't know, I don't really think about it."

"Exactly! This rivalry, this hatred, it doesn't really exist on your end, it's not something that matters to you. It's a much bigger deal to us, we're the ones who are, like, all negative. You know, there's a lot of hatred in this world. So much of it comes from people being just, like, insecure. If more people had faith in themselves, maybe there'd be less pain everywhere."

Then Marley said, "And that's where the angels come in. Partly, anyway."

Suzanne nodded. "Yeah. I just hope I can help enough people see that."

"You can see it's a problem," said Marley. "That's what makes you a good angel, that's why you'll help plenty of people."

Suzanne smiled and looked like she was gonna cry for a second. But collectedly, she looked at me and said, "I love this girl."

Who wouldn't?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Angels In The ISI

Inspiration comes from many forms and sources. There's positive ones, like simple joy: maybe things are going well, you feel refreshed and energetic. You're at your best, most productive, and whatever line you're in, your work is not a chore because you're bringing a positive energy to what you do. The less you feel like you're actually laboring, the easier it is to labor. In some ways, it seems a little unfair, because you're not really conscious of how effective you're being. That's why it's better to just let it happen, look back later, and who knows, you might end up surprising yourself with what you've done.

Or, and some would argue this is the more likely scenario, you're in a negative place and your labor is your escape. Now, I'm not just talking about art; many will assume this falls into the whole "true art comes from pain" bulls--- that leads to pseudo-intellectual self-aggrandizing critical ramblings and rationals to engage in over-indulgence. But how often do you also hear about people throwing themselves into their jobs because their personal lives are in shambles? In some respects, artistic creativity and corporate business diligence are not all that different. People from all walks of life need a distraction, whether it's a work or at home.

This begs the question, why does everyone need to be distracted? If a human's natural state is the very thing they need to escape from, what does that say about the purpose of human existence? If someone is having a good life, we often say they're "living the dream." And there's the problem. Maybe happiness shouldn't be the dream, maybe it should be the standard.

The issue there is, without a goal, with nothing to strive for, humans are never truly happy. I've talked about this before, it's aiding in the journey towards joy and self-fulfillment that drives the angels' existence. So are we actually positive or negative? We're like emotional medication, but, are we the curing indication found within or unfortunate side-effects listed on the label?

Either way, doing it makes me happy, god knows my job on Earth didn't make me feel this way, or anything for that matter. I was going to ask Marley what she thought, but pontificating on a drug metaphor is probably not what you want to ask of a former heroin addict. I asked Lira, and she said, "Do you honestly believe if there was a concrete answer, I would tell you?"

"No, you'd tell me to figure it out for myself or I'd never learn anything."

"Good boy. Keep it going, I have faith that your IQ will hit the century mark someday."

I coughed a sarcastic laugh, "Thanks for believing in me."

"No problem. Take eternity if you have to. And you probably will."

You've got to love her.

Monday, April 4, 2011

That's Not Quite How Michael Kay Would Phrase It

"Burnett's a question mark," said Sashial. "He's a fucking mental case. The Yankees need him to live up to his talent, he's never gonna do that if he doesn't learn to grow the fuck up and stop being a emotional little bitch."

I said, "That's funny, I heard one of the sportswriters from the New York Times say the same thing on ESPN." She laughed. "Get the fuck out of here, you wiseass!"

"You know, you're sounding more human every day."

She didn't seem to like that. "What the fuck are you talking about? I'm a fucking archangel."

"Yes, but when I met you, you seemed pretty down on the whole human race."

"Bullshit," she answered, "I always had love for you, you know that."

"Oh, nobody knows that better than me," I said, "but you still had a sincere contempt for what we did, it was like you were trying to rescue us from ourselves. I couldn't tell if we did a single thing you found worthy of your attention other than reveal our shortcomings. Look at you now. You love baseball. I know it started because you love heckling from the stands, but you're even talking statistics now, in your own way of course. You've taken enough interest in a human recreational activity to absorb a level of expertise. You would have never done that a year or two ago."

"How the fuck do you know that? Remember, Lira and I were in your head, not the other way around. You've gotten to know us really well over the past couple years, but there's a complexity to us you still couldn't imagine."

"So I'm wrong?" I asked.

She exhaled and tilted her head. "Not exactly. We were created for a specific purpose like the archangels, but we were also fitted to be adaptable. We can develop feelings and interests. Humans are constantly adapting too, I'm sure you know that. Their interests come and go with the generations, much shorter even. These things you think of as fads, we're not immune to them. We've seen so many things come and go, you saw dozens in your lifetime, imagine how many we've seen? It's a constant reminder that the human lifespan is so fleeting, these things define your era. To me, it's like they're gone in a heartbeat. Kind of like humans."

"What does it matter?" I asked. "When their life ends, they end up here."

"Oh FUCK, sometimes I really think you'll never fucking get it. Our goal is to enhance the living existence, to aid the challenge of that, and it goes by so quickly that if you blink and miss it, someone has a miserable life. Overcoming sorrow and desperation in your lifetime is the true reward, not playing video games and eating peanut fucking butter and chocolate cookies for eternity."

"Don't be hattin' on my Tagalongs," I said. "And I do get it. Well, I'm getting it."

She smiled. "I know you are, sweetie. Remember, angels go on for hundreds, maybe thousands of years. You've only been one for a few years. You've got plenty of time to learn."

"You're right. So, you think the Red Sox are really the favorites to win the division?"

She chortled and shook her head. "Fuck them."