Seems an uncharacteristically nihilistic vantage point for you, Jhagi.
Ron Collins

I’ve skirted around this question for a few days now. Trust you, to make me face it. Smiling.

I’ll try to find the words, but the music you can hear. Discordant sounds, Is it Maroon 5 or Vault 7? Somebody's watching us. I’ve been glaring at my TV with jaundiced eyes. That was a sudden rimshot, out of time and place in a smooth as silk four by four on the floor. The rhythms of our lives are still in place but I can hear the off beats.

If drums are the political framework to our lives, then bass is the legal structure that ties them both together. The bass finds a groove, and my fingers snap. I like how it works to fill in the spaces left by the drums. But right about now the bass player gets distracted and the bass line wanders off. I hear Canada has passed bill C16. That’s the one where it’s hate speech when you don’t use a person’s preferred pronouns. If I call you him, and you prefer to be zim, I just violated your personhood. A crime now apparently. Punishable by law. Fines, then imprisonment. Compelled speech? Are they telling me what to say now? What if you decide you want to be referred to as a sire of the magic mystic potato? What choice do you leave me? The bass finds its groove again but I can tell, the rhythm is off just a little bit. I imagine the bass player, sweating. The lights in here are too hot.

The piano joins in. Quiet fills. A lovely melody. It’s a pretty sound mixed over all that bottom end. That’s the sound of art I think. What makes the backdrop of life interesting. Except now, the piano player drank the cool aid. She’s hanging up used menstrual pads and calling it art. I swear I saw a woman drop colored paint balls on canvas… from her vagina. People were paying for her art. I still can’t believe it. What's left to give life meaning if not art? And it’s tiresome, pandersome, and narrative. Lady Thor is a thing. Even comic books.

Finally the singer comes to the mic. He’s a strapping lad, earrings in both ears, and his fake boobs push out of a tight spandex monstrosity that also reveals his chest hair. He wobbles to the mic on stiletto heels and glares fiercely at the crowd, daring us to say something. Oh he’ll kick your ass if you even look at him funny. Not very lady like but there he is, the center of attention. When he opens his mouth, I hear the words to this song. Oppression everywhere. Everyone a victim, of their sex, their race, their city, their state and their universe. Such savage pain Harvard and Yale students must face, paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to discover the world is a hard place, suffering finally understood to be the bane and regular companion of human spirit.

Someone crashes cymbals, hard. Everyone stops to look. A tiny woman, way to the back of the room stands up. ‘What if I don’t like this song,’ she begins.

‘Then leave..’ the singer says. ‘We don’t want you here anyhow.’ He farts. And laughs as the sound catches the mic and fills the room like an exclamation point. That’s what’s left of free speech. A culture and society that has closed its collective mind and prefers you to leave the party with the stink of its unpleasantness in your ears and in your nostrils.

This is what bugs me Ron. I don’t get a choice or a say in this world. I’m the dinosaur, I’m the strange one. I’m the squeaky wheel, the useless cog in a broken machine. I wonder if this is how our parents felt as the world shifted beneath them. Mine is, maybe everyone’s world is shifting and maybe I don’t know how to get off this ride.

Not yet anyhow. But when in Rome…