Friday, July 02, 2004

F 9/11

The guy with a Pink Floyd T-Shirt was handing out CDs "free music from Michael Moore" so we got our copy of some "anti-Bush" music. There was a woman trying to register people to vote (as a foreigner, I got off the hook). She is wearing a large badge with DNC written on it.
A. has already talked to her before the movie and we resume the conversation. Politics, endless discussions about politics. We are arguing about strategies, tactics and efficiency when a young guy standing next to me interrupt the discussion and tells me that he agrees with what I said. That it is counterproductive to make fun all the time of the speech patterns of the president if we want the debate to progress. It does not work politically. Has not worked for 4 years. Move on and concentrate on the issues. Then there can be a political discussion...

His girl friend is standing next to him, silent, nodding her head in approval. A. joins in the discussion. The woman from the Democratic party leaves and here we are a small group of strangers, discussing in the streets. The woman says something about it, how good it feels to be talking like this, to connect to people. The remark reminds me about a book I read a long time ago: "Mass and Power" by Elias Canetti. A thick book on crowds and the way they modify people's reactions and behavior. Canetti wrote it in response to Nazism that he witnessed in Europe, but his observations are valid anywhere. This woman craves this sense of belonging, of connecting. Brothers in arms. The call is indeed hard to resist. I say nothing past the first words on the movie and why it is not as efficient as it could have been. I don't want to shatter this fragile community of four. The illusion to have found fast friends in front of a theater just because we went to see the same controversial documentary.

We soon are talking about other subjects. The guy is a waiter at HardRock café, his girlfriend is an accountant there. He dropped out of law school and he is thinking of going back. Enjoying life and trying to figure it out. We speak about movies and documentaries. Subcultures in America and their struggle to belong. We speak for at least an hour and we part.
I am happy not to have spoiled the illusion of community. It was good while it lasted.


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