I had breakfast today with the lovely Lucy of London, that’s right, the Lucy of Letter to Lucy if you are a follower of this journal. She moved back to motherland England after having lived in the area for decades, and I had not seen her in over a year. I could talk about the instant reconnection that happens between good friends, the understanding, the disappointment, the loving and forgiving nature of friendship, but what was most profound about this too brief visit was the inspiration Lucy brought to the table. She was so happy, she was tender and tough. She was an honest and forthright advocate, she asked me what were my fears, and told me to fuck ’em. She sat before me as a shining example of follow through—of charting a course with a particular lifestyle in mind, and graciously welcoming those who cared to join in the journey. I was moved and a little bit dumbstruck by the magnitude of her words and her actions. All my love and thanks to you, Lucy.
And then on the way home from breakfast, I received a call from my other European, from Belgium, from my muse and dear friend and love, the inspiration behind the ex-pat character in Claire. He told me he had just returned home from the laundromat, having to do wash there as his equipment at home wasn’t large enough. I’ve known this man for many years, and never before has he had to go to the laundromat—I suspect, knowing that his home life is in turmoil, that he had to go to the laundromat for other reasons. Imagine a small, older man, sporting designer labels and a pocket scarf, boiling inside of his cashmere because he’s doing laundry next to muslims and blacks, both of whom he detests. And to further incite him, these intruders were pan handling while washing. He yelled and cursed at them, and once he had me on the phone, pounded me with his “knee-jerk socialist” speech which I have heard many times before. Please understand that I can’t begin to imagine the concerns of all Europeans over the refugee crisis, but this European is an extremist—the town crier/crazy person wailing that we’re all going to hell in a handbasket, OPEN YOUR FUCKING EYES AMERICA, THEY’RE COMING. He has been working for several years on a plan to move to Burma, to live with whack-ass monks and join in the killing of all muslims. On and on and on he goes.
I can’t accept, empathize with, or even discuss his point of view. What can I say? While many of his concerns are legitimate, his hate does not allow for rational talk. He offers no solution other than genocide. But an interesting side bar: when his business was up and running, when he had an income, his position was the same but his rantings were far less frequent, his dislike far less vehement, his choice of wine more important than any geographic fix. He is now poverty stricken, broke, busted, proud—and the world is a very different place when seen through the poverty lens.
I felt sorry for him. I felt stronger because I didn’t get into an argument with him but a little bit guilty for not being better informed about immigration. But most importantly, I continued to feel inspired, and put on my playlist to seal the positive energy inside.
photo credit: desktopwallpapers8.com