We were doing laundry during “Free Washing & Drying” day sponsored by a local church. The gent who runs everything hasn’t been pressuring or overbearing when it comes to religion and we’ve gotten to know him very well over the last year. He has asked us to come speak at his congregation this upcoming Sunday before I leave for my new job to comment about the changes this last year has brought into our lives.
There’s every reason for us to do it, and I’ve started trying to lay out what I’d like to say since my wife is anxious about public speaking, particularly to a denomination which she was indoctrinated in by way of abuse in a dozen ways through her entire childhood, leaving mental scarring that is still a struggle to this day. She’s going to go though, because it’s important, and the gentleman who has been there for us every two weeks for 10-months to pay for our laundry when we had not a penny to our names, deserves to know the impact that has had on us.
When you’re homeless, a clean pair of socks and underwear is better then the best sex you’ve ever had. It’s a moment where you feel again human, part of, connected, capable, possibilities actually seem possible again, confidence soars, misery slackens and you can see a trail forward again. Think I’m joking? Try wearing the same clothes and not showering for 7-10 days at a time and still engaging in your standard day-to-day routine without feeling outsidered and uncomfortable. Even a rotation will have you slicked down with the grime of the world in no time and my hat’s off to you if you’re unfazed by the experience in this materialistic and impression based existence we all inhabit.
After agreeing, I headed down to the best damn burrito joint in the whole of creation, Taco Loco, aptly named for the disgustingly sized plates of filth meat fixings they dish our at poverty acceptable pricing. Friendly staff and owners too, always smiling.
After ordering and having a smoke outside I walked back in to pay. I hadn’t noticed earlier the elderly family dining in the corner. I hadn’t noticed the bearded gentleman and his yarmulke calmly resting on the top of his head. Being a misanthropic and culturally insensitive clod and a twat–along with a Jew myself–I’ve referred to them as “head condoms” at different points.
Sensitivity has never been my thing clearly.
I hadn’t seen anyone wearing one since New York City ages ago. In this political climate it’s like wearing a target on your head and declaring that you’d like to be sent to the modern day concentration camps when they’ve scraped the hispanic blood off the floor sufficiently to allow the next round of victims.
Politely I interrupted the conversation between the two men (the bearded man’s wife was sitting to the side and helped me find a segue while they were engaged to let me slide in).
“Sorry to interrupt, but I’m Jewish as well and I haven’t seen a yarmulke in ages. I just wanted to say hello and introduce myself.”
The bearded man stood up, and shook my hand. We got down to chatting.
He’s from Hawaii and didn’t know any local groups that might facilitate my wife and myself engaging with the faith to understand my roots better or foster a better understanding. He journeys to Auschwitz once a year in honor of the sacrifices there. He has a bat shit crazy Rabbi he loves learning from. On his arm, he has tattooed a series of numbers (amidst the others) to express his solidarity with members of his faith. He’s not old enough to have earned them the usual way, but feels they bring him to be more connected with his people.
He wears his yarmulke as a “fuck you” to the climate of hate and rising fascism that is bubbling over across the world. He knows it brings notice, he knows that many people stare at him and consider him abhorrent. He’s aware the danger it brings. Quoting “Transmetropolitan” – he doesn’t give two tugs off a dead dog’s cock about what any of those fuckers thinks about him. He does it to inspire his brethren to not hide ashamed and be true to their spirit and beliefs.
He does it because it helps him be proud of his faith, and if someone is offended by his passive display of confidence, it’s because they are weak in their own and it is not his responsibility to fix stupid.
I went back to the laundromat and had a conversation about ghosts and the possessed copper carousel that I once owned which glowed under Luminol spray and left a soaked patch of luminescence two feet wide beneath it whenever it was placed in a new room.
I met a real man today. What a fucking inspiration.
Fuck the new age Nazis and this puppet regime of misdirection that panders to the ignorant jackals across the world and at home. Bring me your seething falsely righteous hatred of a people and I’ll raise you an old man with a little hat and a my own fist.
I’d put my money on you cowardly shitbitten assholes backing down every time.