Dare to be Different
Parked along the travel station wall well under the awning, protected from the vile weather are two cross-country bikes, obviously packed for a long trip. One bike sports a large pink ribbon and both have the slogan "dare to be different" stenciled on their side packs!
I go inside the Subway, looking for what I hope are womyn bikers.
Instead, I find a trim white man who appears to be close to 50 sitting at the formica table peering into his laptop. He his a bright yellow "dare to be different" tee-shirt on that has bicycle sitting well within the outline of the u.s.of a.
I realize by the we finish our conversation that should have asked him 'different from what', as I assumed we shared something in common with the different theme.
Funny how these right wing fundamentalists see themselves being 'different' hmmmmmm
John tells me that he and his wife and two children, one 8 and one 15, are on a cross-country bike trip that began in Florida and will end up in San Diego.
He wants to know where I think they will run into warm weather...
We are okay as long as we are talking about the weather. I tell him I'm spreading the word about Monsanto and working to end wars.
His eyes narrow and he beings the "we have to attack them before they attack us" propaganda, and quickly concludes with how we've helped so many nations around the world.
To which I snort and retort "sure, helped ourselves to their resources".
He looks incredulously at me, his voice raising an octave or two as he insists that people are so happy we've entered their countries.
Like Viet Nam, I ask, with 2.5 million people dead? Or maybe Korea with another 2.5 million people dead.
He challenges the coincidence that I'm saying the exact number of people were slaughtered by U.S. weapons in Korea as in Viet Nam.
I smile kindly and inform him that I believe he is missing the point by focusing on comparing statistics, instead of being horrified - which I know he is deep down inside - that we have murdered so many human beings for the sake of corporate exploitation.
He changes the subject to this country and demands triumphantly 'how many people starve to death in this country' expecting me to somehow think the murder of others justifies feeding the u.s. citizenry?
When I tell him a little more then 3000 people a year, mostly babies and old people, he reels back, shock paralyzing his face momentarily.
He recovers quickly and attempts to point out how many people we have in our country, trying to make me admit that 3000+ is actually a very small per centage.
I shake my head as I point to the huge dumpster outside the restaurant that is being emptied into a garbage truck and point out the richest country in the world that throws away so much food every single day, and you do not feel shame and remorse that we are allowing so many human beings on this soil to starve to death?
He covers his discomfort by demanding to know how many people I've fed lately. When I tell him that I happened to have cooked for 30 people just a few days ago, he dismisses my work as insignificant.
It is then I see the gold cross hanging around his neck and the u.s.a. flag stuck in his back pack.
His wife has returned from the bathroom and is standing silently near us. When I ask her what she thinks, she tells me she is not good at debating. I ask her if she's good at expressing her opinion.
She looks anxiously to her husband, who waves angrily and dismissively at both of us. She hurries to another table and opens her laptop.
I want to ask her why she is taking this trip. Does she have breast cancer? Why the pink ribbons - but she is not talking with me.
I try to salvage at least my calm and centered self, as I wish them a good trip and leave quickly out the door - but I drive my truck slowly by the large, clear windows, turning a full circle, backing up, and turning again, giving them the opportunity to read everything painted on it.
I wonder what in this country they imagine they are different from??? hmmmmm
Well, they had the opportunity to meet and engage with me - that's very different for them. I just wish the children were awake...