Why was it my desire to forget, ignore? "I'm hereby holding myself accountable for my gloominess," I said. "For each time I've looked at that glass and called it half empty. In 2011, I'm going to do things differently. I'm going to stop worrying all the time..."
I disgust myself.
What kind of animal am I if my goal is thus? If it is to look away, hide my face behind my paws? Maybe it has been this year of blogging, maybe it has been the prison guard's ruthlessness, perhaps I can attribute it to Esteban, but this year no such wish tugs on my heart like so many feeder fish.
This year I cannot pretend the Great Pacific Garbage Patch does not exist. I cannot pretend the wars this country is engaged in are justifiable. That the platitudes espoused by politicians hold within them any kind of meaning. That the media is a lens through which we can clearly see the world we all inhabit.
I will not look away.
Because what kind of a life is one spent reshuffling reality into something more palatable? What do I gain by smiling at Mingus, Mr. Pawlsey, Fremlin as though we are free and happy creatures.
Which is not to say I believe joy has no place in my life. It is merely that happiness is not inherently better than sadness. When I am as mindful of this world as I can be, any joy I experience is all the sweeter. Here a moment of humanity (catity? There should be an synonym for felines) is altruistic in the most fundamental sense.
The dog told me of a woman outside the prison guard's post office. She had a sign the prison guard did not deign to read. And she had a baby. After rethinking her actions and leaving the post office, the prison guard tried to give this woman some money. Charity. But the cops had arrived and chased her and the infant away. Oh, Boca Raton, oh, South Florida, oh our lives which entangle us and tear at us and the despair that could swallow me at these thoughts.
But to fully fall into that despair is something not within my genetic code. Yes, I am despondent, and I believe we all should be at some level, but to allow oneself to sink, to never begin kicking one's feet, to never try to burst through the surface of the water, gasping, choking on plastic - that is true failure. It is a failure of imagination, of empathy, and of character. We must struggle with the truth and then we must act. Even if in our lives our actions to reduce suffering seem minuscule. Even if the five dollars the prison guard wanted to give that woman and her baby would have only bought the woman a cup of coffee; these actions are worthwhile. They are what will make us worthy of this world and our privileged place within it.
I cannot speak for you of course, dearest reader, but I feel a fracture in my heart and I know I am not the same feline who began this blog. I cannot be.
I will not be.