I recently read a biography of Nelson Mandela. The book shined light on Mandela’s personal/prison life, his political journey and the morals that influenced him and the South African anti-apartheid movement. It was very inspiring. Mandela, an educated, well respected man stood up for what he believed in in a way that I’ve never really seen someone do. He has, what I think most public figures lack today, integrity. His commitment to the people of South Africa through (mainly) non-violent actions is a massive part of his legacy. He stood up for ideologies that, many believed, were criminal and fought for what he believed was right. He went to prison, for 27 years, for the human rights of millions of South Africans.

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Violence is not the answer, to anything. There will always be people who do stupid, abhorrent things to strike terror into the hearts of millions. But why can’t we stop these people before they decide to create terror? It’s time to increase the discussion about violence, about what causes people to respond in a way that destroys lives. Mandela changed a nation through patience and peace. Think about it this way, bombs don’t solve anything, discussions do.

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The Cross Walk Effect

June 25, 2013

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And so we just stood there. Me on the side walk- him in his car. It felt like 30 minutes. I wasn’t going to cross and he wasn’t going to drive. It was like some forgotten scene from Waiting for Godot. We both looked at each other, smiling, god, we were so frickin polite. I’m not used to having so much power when crossing the street. I like being limited, feeling threatened. Like I could be swept away at any moment. Don’t give me the right to cross whenever I want, options make me nervous. You’re the one in control of the 4,000 pound metal 4-wheeler, why don’t you just go along and I’ll stay out of your path.

I guess I should have immeditely crossed. But I wanted to stand on the South East corner of Shanchez and 24th, I wanted the mist to cool me down before I made the 25 ft leap of faith to the North East corner of Sanchez and 24th. At this point it was an ego trip. He wanted to be the bigger man and let me go. SO FUCKING POLITE. I didn’t want to make the first move, but then I remembered, I wanted to take more risks in 2013. Being comfortable is actually a bad thing, I told myself. And then…I stepped 5 inches down onto the pavement. The surface was the same as the sidewalk but I felt electric. I waddled, cautiously, all while watching his front bumper and making sure it didn’t move. He glowed. That god damn prick needed this and I gave it to him.

Like a submissive jay walker I let him force feed me the right to cross the street. When I passed in front of his white Volvo T5, I imagined for a second that he gunned it, and I flew over his windshield, over his sun roof and caught a little air…then I came smack down on the hard black pavement. I would have laid, damaged on 24th street, looking up, broken, starring at his California license plate as it disapeared into the fog. “That bastard tricked me” (I would have thought), “no one is that courteous”.

I got to the other side. He excelerated behind me, and I walked into the coffee shop to order a decaf mocha.