Back in the car, y’all

Whenever I take a long road trip, driving for several hours and such, I necessarily have to make pit stops…for gas, bathroom, snacks, beverages. I used to bring my most favorite dog Ariel with me. She was born to ride, and we had really good trips together. I miss that old girl so much. She knew what I was thinking and where I was headed before I did. She was gentle and amicable, with other dogs and people, loyal to the maximum allowable by the Universe. Just a kind bundle of bones and fur, and smart. I could send her down three flights of stairs, she would do her business in the most available yet appropriate spot, and then turn right around and head back up the stairs. Ace companion. She was mine, and I was hers, no questions asked.

The pooch before the current lunatic was better than I realized at the time. She knew how to do what she needed to do and get business taken care of, then … back to me. She’s the only one I’ve ever had to actually put down, and that just about killed me. I can still remember, and feel, every breath of that last day, mine and hers. I hope I did right by her, and by Ariel. I always feel that I should have done so much better, but…hopefully I did better than I think I did.

At the moment, I am trying really hard to keep my promise to keep cleaning up some random area of my apartment. I’m still working on this one area in my bedroom, and for the love of all that is holy, I don’t know when last I had a foot fall on those few square feet of space. I keep finding stuff that I haven’t seen in literally years, my USB speaker that I love because it’s orange. I totally forgot I even had that. Also found the USB CD player and the external hard drive for backups. I also found the damned cable box remote, which I have not seen in more than eighteen months. Sometimes I amaze even myself.

To underscore the cleaning effort, I ordered a new vacuum cleaner and it will be delivered by the 5th. My plan is to keep cleaning up small areas until it arrives, then I can vacuum up the detritus and have at least a small area that looks habitable for human occupancy. I have literally a ton of trash to throw out, more huge bags full of … crap. Old magazines, envelopes, old bills. People are going to think I have bodies in these bags, because some of them are pretty weighty. Oh, well. It will give them something to talk about, assuming anyone is paying any attention to me whatsoever.

I suppose today was somewhat of a big girl day…cleaning up. Paid the property tax on my mother’s house, which is of course now my house. It was, of course, overdue but…I paid it. It was about $2500, and I really wanted to convince myself that i couldn’t afford to pay it now, but I grabbed myself by the collar and forced my hand to hit the enter key on the online payment in full. That’s actually a load off my mind. I need to sell that place, because I need the money, and I’m not going to go back there and live. I might go back to the city at some point, but I will not live in that house. It’s time has come and gone, and I can’t go back there and recreate the past.

Listening to Bob Marley on the re-discovered speaker…Redemption Songs…how long shall they kill our prophets, while we stand aside and look? I wonder how long that might be. The older I get, and the more I see of how this world is unfolding, the more I think prophets are amongst us all the time, and we don’t recognize them. We expect something grander, exquisitely articulate, impeccable in their oratory…but perhaps they are the least likely figures of all. Maybe George Floyd was a prophet. Did he not bring us to a flaming point of clarity, focus decades old aspirations into a burning X on the ground for us to gather round? Who is to say that was not his purpose here?

I stupidly watched more of the trial of Derek Chauvin, the ex-police officer in Minneapolis who knelt on George Floyd’s neck for nearly ten minutes, leading to his death in May of 2020. The video played for the jury is now reported to show an even longer torturous span of more than nine minutes, not the eight minutes and forty-six seconds most had come to accept, that George Floyd lay handcuffed and prone, in the street, his cheek pressed against rough asphalt and the knee of a grown man cutting of his airway. Nearly ten agonizing minutes. One of the eye-witnesses who gave testimony today said that he could see Floyd’s struggle to breathe, struggle to spit out the most gutteral wrenching sounds, and finally to begin spitting up blood.

The defense has attempted to make the case that police officers, all of them, on the scene were “distracted” by the crowd and had begun to feel “threatened”. Um, no. Derek Chauvin looked for all the world like he was riding the bull at some beer dive, hands in pockets, a smirk on his face, looking vaguely satisfied a s he squeezed the life out of another human being. Even when the ambulance arrived, he would not release his hold on the victim’s neck, and the witness said the ambulance attendants had to shove him out of the way in order to render medical aid to the victim. What. The. Fuck???

Regardless, this is only the second day of the trial. It’s a rare occasion to see a law enforcement agent brought to this point, because usually they are not indicted by a grand jury for questionable deaths in their custody. This is a big deal. But, as I have said before, this could go either way; evidence is almost secondary in arriving at a verdict. There are technicalities…did the officer’s actions summarily cause the victim to die, or did other circumstances (pre-existing conditions, drug intoxication) cause the immediate death? Welcome to U.S. jurisprudence, which is neither prudent nor just at times. But, here we go…and all we can do is wait for the machinery to wind down.

One of the memorable witnesses this morning was the young woman who actually filmed the clip that most people have seen on the news, the actual moments that George Floyd took his last breaths, crying for his mother, gasping, then going limp. She was seventeen at the time, and just recently turned eighteen. She and her younger cousin had been out to get snacks at the store that George Floyd was accused of passing a counterfeit $20 bill. They saw everything, and she filmed it. The prosecutor asker her what impact the whole thing had on her, and she said that when she sees George Floyd she sees her own father, her brothers, her uncles, her friends who are also Black men, and thinks in horror the situation could have been the end of life for any one of them. She then said, tearfully, that sometimes at night she remembers all of it, and apologizes to George Floyd, for not doing more, for not saving his life. But, she said, it wasn’t her job to save his life. It was Derek Chauvin’s. *sigh* So many lives changed in those ten minutes, on that one day, outside that one store, in that one city. So many lives impacted. Things will never be the same.

So. I am still wondering what more can be done, what is the work before us. How can we make something of everything that has happened in at least the last twelve months? I sometimes wonder if it was not divine providence that visited the COVID-19 lockdown on all of us at just the right moment. We had George Floyd, which had come very close to the murders of Breonna Taylor and Amaud Arbery and Jacob Blake. Without COVID forcing most of us off the streets and into semi-quarantine, we might have just blown ourselves up. That can still happen if the verdict strikes the wrong nerve.

Bob Marley is saying that I need to emancipate myself from mental slavery…none but ourselves can free our mind. I want to free my mind. I don’t know what chains it sometimes, but I do not always feel that it is free. Obligations, expectations, knots in the threads that hold me together, I think, not allowing the free passage of joy, of purpose. Blockage. Obstacles, pathways blocked. The mind is said to be able to re-generate itself, at least up to a point, such that if a neural pathway is blocked the brain can re-route the electrical impulses to circumvent the blocked point. Unless…unless there is simply too much damage where the nerve is rooted. Perhaps this is where faith will make a difference, because who is to say that a new root cannot be generated. I saw a picture of yesterday of a tree that had died, but somehow, another tree had come to life and grown within its carcass, the new growth surrounded by the old but … thriving. An amazing sight, If asked, anybody with knowledge of trees and flora would have said that such a thing was simply impossible. But, obviously it was not impossible. The more we know, the more we know that we don’t know, and sometimes life just surprises the hell out of us. I guess we should let it.

I am not impossible.

Published by annzimmerman

I am Louisiana born and bred, now living in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Fortunately for me, I was already living in NC before Hurricane Katrina decimated my beloved New Orleans. An only child, I now feel that I have no personal history since the hurricane destroyed the relics and artifacts of my childhood. As I have always heard, c'est la vie. My Louisiana roots show in my love of good coffee, good food, and good music. My soggy native soil has also shown me that resilience is hard-wired in my consciousness; when the chips are down (or drowned)...bring it on.

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