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pain

picture 1Austin City Limits is one of my absolute favorite things. Every fall a ton of gifted musical acts gather to perform for three days in Austin, Texas. It is magical. This is something I have been attending for years. It has all of the talent of SXSW without the pretension and annoying people walking down the middle of Congress acting like they don’t know there is a line of 100 cars waiting for them to move so they can continue driving. Anyway….I really love ACL.

I have done something terrible though. Something that ACL will never forgive me for. I’m not sure what it was but it had to have been really really bad. How do I know I did something really really bad? Because Austin City Limits has loved making my musical life unbearably difficult for the past several years by scheduling at least two of my favorite acts at the same time. They are obviously trying to get back at me for something. They want to hurt me. They are succeeding.

This year it’s M.I.A. and Muse on Saturday night. Same time. It hurts to write it. I have loved both of these acts for years. When I saw the line-up for this year and bought tickets I never thought I would have to choose between them. How can I? I’m so sorry for whatever I did ACL. I really am. Please, please forgive me. I am literally down-on-my-knees begging you to reschedule. I need to see them both. I might die if I have to choose. I absolutely will die if I have to choose. I mean, whatever I did to deserve this can’t have been so bad that you would wish for my death. Right? Right!?

Last year I had to choose between the Kings of Leon and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. And it really hurt me. Hurt me deep. I went with Kings of Leon and they were brilliant. Beyond amazing but I will always feel a little bit sad that I haven’t seen the Yeah Yeah Yeahs live. I mean, they probably had an amazing set at ACL. I don’t know. I will never know. And even if I see them live somewhere else, I will never have seen them live at ACL. You can probably hear the violins playing in the background of this post- and also the thunder-like sound of my heart breaking. You like that kind of music ACL? How about tears? You like the sound of those? Because I am planning on calling you and leaving you lots of messages that are comprised of nothing more than my ugly sobbing. I am your psycho ex-girlfriend ACL. The more you hurt me, the more I stalk you and send you dead roses and maybe set fire to your house- I don’t know- it all depends on how bad you continue to try and hurt me. I can’t be held responsible for my actions. This is on you ACL. And no jury would convict me. Probably.

I digress. What I mean to say is I am so sorry. I am so very, truly, deeply, sorry for whatever I did that made you want to hurt me this way. I will literally do anything for you to reschedule Saturday performances, please don’t make me choose between M.I.A. and Muse. Please. Pretty please. Remember all the good times we’ve had over the years? Remember how faithful I have been in attending? That has to mean something to you. Think of all the good times ACL- think of the good times and reschedule.

100 0121 Beautiful, Peaceful- This is My Uganda

Yesterday, a place I love was attacked. Yesterday, people of all nationalities were killed while watching the World Cup Finals in Kampala, Uganda. One of the places that was bombed was a place I know well. In 2008, I sat in that very same rugby club and watched the opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympics with people from all over the world. Everyone cheered as their respective nations walked around the stadium and I will always remember how happy I felt at that moment. They served good food, they had comfy couches, everyone who came there had a smile on their face. That night in Kamapala, Uganda at the rubgy club was one of my happiest. And now that place is gone. In the last ten  minutes of a thrilling match the world split apart for those in my favorite rugby club as well as those at a nearby Ethiopian restaurant.

I don’t understand this kind of disrespect for human life. I simply can’t comprehend this type of hate. Honestly, at this point I don’t care who perpetrated this attack and why- it won’t change what has already been done. Later, I will wonder and speculate. Today, however, I just want to remember that place as it was and send all my thoughts and prayers to those who are in hospital recovering and the families of those 74 who will never recover. Today, the attackers will not occupy my mind- they don’t deserve first thoughts- first thoughts are reserved for those whose pleasant and happy night was brought to an abrupt and violent end.

One of my favorite Ugandan hang-outs is gone but I won’t ever forget the way it was. My memories will not be tarnished by hatred. I will not be afraid to travel back to the place I love, the place where I have found some of my most joyful moments and experiences. Despite last nights events, Uganda will remain in my mind as one of the most peaceful places I have ever visited. A place where I not only witnessed peace, but where I found my own.

I knew a boy once who had the unique gift of being born disillusioned. He could never be hurt and could not understand oppression except as that vague sort of thing he imposed on others, but it could never touch him. He had the most beautiful lips. Full and always moist without being wet. Lovely for kissing. When I kissed him, I had the most extraordinary sensation of dying a little. He was a wonderful kisser.  He felt no pain, yet he craved pleasure as if it were his lifesource.  He fed this habit with an ease only one who has no concept of consequence can. The kind of pleasure he craved was rarely physical, although he did find a certain satisfaction in that as well. Satisfaction but not ture pleasure. In his mind the only real pleasure one could obtain was from others suffering. Mentally he tortured those around him he viewed as weak. Although I’m sure he never thought it of himself, I always believed that he did this so that others might become as disillusioned as he. He understood that people without his ability needed oppression and painful experience to become as he was and he took it upon himself to provide the necessary knowledge. He thought of himself as a teacher. I filled myself up with him and realized he was empty.

Zoe had been in love with Frank her entire life. They met in elementary school when he tripped her on the playground- she broke her arm and lost her heart all in the same day. From that day on Zoe had only one mission: marry Frank and spend the rest of her life making him happy.

Zoe knew all about how to make a husband happy. She had watched her Mother cater to her Father’s every wish her whole life, and she didn’t know anyone happier than her Father. Her Mother made him three meals a day, washed and ironed his clothes, rubbed his shoulders every night, and she even bathed him. Her Father always had a smile on his face, and who wouldn’t in his position? He went to work every morning, although, if you mentioned it Zoe could never remember what it was he actually did for a living. Zoe always had a notion that he managed some sort of cosmetic factory because he always smelled like perfume and had lipstick smeared on his shirt collar when he came home at night.

Occasionally, her Mother would make a mistake and rub her Father’s shoulders too hard and then she would feel so bad about making that mistake that she would be sick and have to spend a few days in the hospital. One time, when she burned the potatoes, Zoe’s Mother was in the hospital for a month. When her Mother came home she made sure to spend extra time with Zoe, teaching her how to make her own husband always happy when she grew up.

Zoe made sure to always do whatever Frank wanted. She even did all of his homework in high school and is probably the reason he graduated. Frank left her once, to go to college, and Zoe didn’t leave her bed for three months. He came back though, because he loved her and also because he had a little “trouble” with a girl at college and also he never went to class and even if he had wouldn’t have been able to pass the class. Frank wasn’t intelligent but Zoe loved him anyway. So, Frank married her and Zoe’s Father gave them a house and a car and gave Frank a job. Although, Zoe was never quite sure what the job was. It didn’t matter though because Zoe kept Frank happy and she was fulfilling her life’s goal and using every trick her Mother taught her.

Zoe made a mistake with Frank’s dinner once and she felt so bad about it that she was in the hospital for two weeks. When all her bones healed from being sick Zoe came home and promised Frank she would never make a mistake like that again. Frank was happy and Zoe kept him that way.

Poor Zoe wasn’t able to keep her promise. The dry-cleaners lost one of Franks shirts. When Zoe told him about what happened Frank lost all his happiness. He was so sad about his shirt that he took one of the kitchen knives and began swinging it wildly at Zoe. For the first time in her life, Zoe’s first thought wasn’t about Frank’s happiness, it was about keeping the knife away from her. Frank swung and swung and hit Zoe in the shoulder and the leg, then Zoe did something her Mother never did, she fought back. The neighbors heard the ruckus and called the paramedics who walked into Frank and Zoe’s house and saw an awful scene. Zoe seemed to be bleeding from everywhere and Frank had wounds on his ankle and arm. Before Zoe lost consciousness she implored the paramedics for one thing.

“Save him!” “Save him!” she begged.

And they did.

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