Uprooted

2 Apr

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.

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8 Responses to “Uprooted”

  1. valerie 02/04/2010 at 8:39 AM #

    i totally agree.
    my fiance lives in montreal. we are currently paying off the government so we can live together in virginia, since i can’t take my kid away from his father (or move my kid to a french speaking area when he has enough trouble learning english). anyway, the entire process of immigration, the entire idea of borders, ridiculous. and i would talk about my views on patriotism – but if the DOS is watching my every move and they find me unpatriotic they’ll deny my fiance’s visa. seriously, being patriotic is a requirement.

    heart this post.

  2. (S)wine 02/04/2010 at 8:45 AM #

    Valerie, in the same boat; my wife is Canadian, now a Permanent Resident…and really I should hold my tongue as well; she gets her permanent Green Card next year (the US Gov’t gives out temporary ones for 2 yrs. to make sure the marriage is legit; then you have to re-apply with a $500 fee for the perm one).

  3. valerie 02/04/2010 at 8:50 AM #

    yeah.
    we’ve paid the $455 for the ‘petition’, the fee for the visa itself is about to go up from $131 to like, 3 hundred something, then we get married and pay 1,010 for the AOS. not including all the fees for medical and blahblahblah..
    thankfully, we’re doing this ourselves and not paying a middle-man lawyer as well..

    all i can say is: being ass raped by the gov’t is an expensive fuck.

  4. (S)wine 02/04/2010 at 10:00 AM #

    we did it all ourselves as well…came out to something in the $3,000 range, I believe. nice.

  5. Ron Mwangaguhunga 02/04/2010 at 10:48 AM #

    Great stuff. Thanks for the kind words yesterday on the April Fools post,

    cheers,
    R

  6. willkay 02/04/2010 at 12:13 PM #

    Whenever I see/hear/read the words National/International waters, my mind immediately jumps to the Falklands War/Conflict/PoliceAction. The British Government insisted on a 200 nautical mile/370km Exclusion Zone around the Falklands/Malvinas. Of course, they still sank the General Belgrano, outside the zone, heading the other way, killing 1200 men. But hey, that’s the way war/conflict/policeaction/politicallymotivatedvotegrabbingfuckery works.

    [This comment was brought to you by the keystroke “/”.]

  7. anna antic 02/04/2010 at 3:52 PM #

    I recall one instance in my life when I celebrated crossing a border. Okay… really two. The first time I was a wee Anna traveling with the family to Florida and I nearly peed myself once we hit the tourist trap known as South of the Border on I-95. After all those teaser signs, my little brain had to experience it! The second time came when the mister and I moved ourselves cross-country from Massachusetts to Oregon in a 1983 VW Rabbit. Two bicycles on the roof, our dog and nearly half of our belongings in back; we whooped and I snapped a photo when we saw the “Welcome to Oregon” sign. Then we promptly noticed we were the only non-Subaru on the road, and began to worry.

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  1. Tweets that mention Uprooted « (S)wine: fiction… sometimes -- Topsy.com - 03/04/2010

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