david suzuki at the toronto public library

“in the past, when i went on a book tour-i’d use the book as an excuse to give a speech on the environment.”

“i’m tired of fighting-we need to get together and talk, because if we can’t agree on what’s important, we will lose every time.”

as i was leaving work today, a woman with obvious mental health issues came into the store. she has been banned, and as no higher management was in the store, i took it upon myself to let her know that she was not welcome (i have already had to ask her to leave on many occasions-for stealing, for yelling homophobic terrorism, just for blocking peoples’ way with her effects) and she flipped out on me-she yelled at me that i was harassing her, that i was off my meds, that my “fucked up eyes” should not look at her, and when i told her that i was calling the police, she went to my co-workers and told them that they shouldn’t hire “temporary foreign workers” and that she was going to call immigration to deport me.

i’m a canadian citizen. but i happen to be one that works in the whitest rich neighbourhood in the city that is gentrifying too rapidly for its britches. i know that mentally ill folk are being squeezed out of their sausage wrappings, but is this lateral violence necessary or excusable?

if nothing else, my young white co-workers got a glimpse of what may happen at any moment in my skin, and i only wish their outrage could translate not only to the huge outbursts, but also to the microagressions that happen regularly. but how can they? i am not perfect, and i do harbour feelings of rage against those who have systemic and overarching power-whether or not they cash in on it. i acknowledge this, but do not apologize for it, because it is real.

i bought myself a purdy’s ice cream bar and went into david suzuki’s most inspiring talk at the reference library. i was in a privileged position there, as i was invited by a committee member and saw the poor folks who had been in line for hours scramble for better seats. i met a kindred spirit, and was moved by much of david’s talk-including the beauty-full and heart-breaking history of immigrants in this country who arrived here without their grandparents-so they arrived with “the shallowest roots in the old country and none at all in the new”. how people can be lost in just two generations with no language, culture, or geographical connection. how we choose who to remember and credit, and who gets lost in the shuffle? how he had to skip part of the description of his mother because he couldn’t read it without crying-that for me is enough to put it on my list.

the quote off the top shouldn’t have been made in the past tense, as much of his political agenda made it to the forefront of his talk, but at this point-how can that be separated from who he really is? i don’t think he can.

as i go through my own ongoing struggles and triumphs with relationships, the final food for thought of the night was when he described how the ones that “vanish from our consciousness” are “heroic in their humanity”, and i think that right there describes my mission in life.

i left inspired and clear and great-full, and i will leave all of the bad feelings of the earlier confrontation with this sign off.

goodnight.

psych-i will really leave it with the surprise tweeting of a line from my poem that was published in the first edition of the generations literary journal years ago.

that was amazing.

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