Borders are as an absurdity to me as timezones. Once, driving west toward Los Angeles, I passed at seventy-five miles per hour a large sign which read: “Welcome to New Mexico.” In that instant, nothing felt different. There was no major or minor change in air pressure, no major or minor change in geography. My brain simply processed another piece of information. Same thing would happen (or not happen) when I’d cross into different timezones. That is to say, nothing of note would indicate what was being delineated in white font on green tin placards on the side of the road. In fact, practically it was an unconscionable pain in the ass to set back my watch while speeding across a concrete highway littered with trucks carrying pigs and cows to the abattoirs.
I don’t intellectually understand borders. The myriad, man-made physical barriers are amusing, especially if pimped up with deterrents such as barbed wire, electricity, un-natural bodies of water, pits of molten lava, etc. I see them and I think of powerful, overgrown boys with mis-guided allegiance and foreshortened sexual organs, building hostile structures out of legos, sharp stones, and sticks.
I don’t intellectually understand patriotism, either. Loyalty and fidelity to a hand-drawn-out territory administered by a central government, which is itself administered by a central bank is, for me, such an obtuse, ancient, cultural idea that it equates the absurdity of belief in a flat world around which the sun and rest of the planets in the system–in fact–the entire universe, spin.
Add to all this the cultural stranglehold of religion with its conveniently-flexible edicts of virtue, morality, and despotic, patriarchal governance over Man’s life in the present, future, and past (via mysticism), and we find ourselves spinning in a matrix of evil, man-made history perpetuated from generation to generation by guilt, mis-information, and desire for totalitarian mind control.
For the last thirty-one years I’ve been sort of trapped in between two countries: Romania and the United States. It is a geographical and intellectual limbo, which–at first–seemed painful, but eventually crossed over into the rational, logical realm. I realized that the grey, purgatorial area that I was (and have been) inhabiting was in fact exactly where I needed to be; where everyone needs to be. I take issue with John Donne: every man is indeed an island; there is nothing inherently wrong with that. The important caveat is whether certain islands wish to build mutually beneficial bridges to other islands. If they do not, there is no harm. No foul. After all, the Leopard is a life long solitary creature. And so man.
Especially absurd to me are immaterial delineations such as the ones drawn in water or air. “National/International waters” and “National/International Airspace” often elicit either snickers or eye rolling. Or both at the same time. And the vision of some vessel mistakenly wondering into foreign airspace or foreign waters without permission and then absorbing the consequences (often delivered in military form) is something out of an Ionesco play.
I’ve been called un-patriotic, a geographic atheist, immoral, misanthropic, a cynic of gigantic proportions. You know the saying about sticks and stones, so labels do not concern me. The day we resolutely blur the imaginary lines of geography is perhaps the day we’ll have a start at something good.