Saturday, November 3, 2007

Week of October 28, 2007

To my knowledge, nothing this week flooded, leaked, crumbled, broke, or collapsed—not even me. I did have odd dreams, although I didn't remember much of them when I woke up. Also, thanks to PMS, I fell asleep soundly on the bus, even missing my stop one evening, and sometimes started to doze at lunch. I felt myself drifting off during a couple of department meetings, which may have been noticed because I had so little control. There were a few times when I felt overcome, almost sick with sleepiness. Then, at 10:00 or 10:30 p.m., when I tried to sleep, it wouldn't come. I wasn't exhausted, and it would take me unusually long to get to sleep. Then I would wake up two or three times during the night. Once or twice I overslept. All that should be relieved soon, but it's an odd feeling to have so little say over one's body and functioning.

On Monday, October 29, J. T. and I met after a Lyric Opera dress rehearsal and went to Red Light (Jackie Shen). At some point early on, perhaps during the small plates, J. T. started peering past me at something by the entrance. "I really can't see very well and can't be sure, but that looks like Mayor Daley and Bill Kurtis." I turned around to look, although I did not have a good angle and could not see well through the plants, but I did spot a forehead that strongly resembled that of one of Da Mare's family members, a niece with whom I had worked 10 years ago. "Looks like Daley to me," I said. I'm not from Chicago, and I'm not fond of the Daleys in general or Richard the Younger in particular.

J. T. remained uncertain. "There's no security," she pointed out. "This isn't a power place. And the mayor wouldn't stand at the bar like that." (Why not? I thought.)

A few minutes later, I looked to my left, and there could be no doubt now. Daley and Kurtis had moved to the center of the room and had been joined by Kurtis's producer-girlfriend, Donna LaPietra, whom J. T. recognized from a ZooBall dinner. They spoke to Jackie Shen, then were taken to a private room, which I could just see into. J. T. was beside herself that there was no security. I noted that three or four men had gone in shortly afterward, but she said, "Those are suits." Maggie Daley arrived some time later.

I'm recording this as this is the first time, I am sure, that Da Mare and I have dined at the same restaurant at the same time, perhaps even in the same restaurant. Most likely it will be the last.

Monday morning I read about the accident in Wadsworth, Illinois, that killed or injured 59 draft horses, many young, many Belgian. Every time I looked at the drooped eyes of the horses pictured, clearly in shock, I saw an inexpressible world of suffering and betrayed loyalty and trust. I cried every day at work. For many, including me, it did bring to light the use of horses in the pharmaceutical industry, the slaughter of horses in Canada and Mexico for French and Japanese markets, and, if that were not bad enough, the inhumane conditions under which horses are transported and killed. Like dogs, in our culture horses are working and companion animals. Their slaughter should be as repellent to us as it would be if it were poodles or Pomeranians.

Later in the week, I read about a fire in a foie gras company building that killed 15,000 ducks. 15,000! I imagine how those ducks must have felt, trapped, unable to flee, suffering unspeakably, and all for human greed. I also read about the slaughter of a dolphin pod, including babies, by the Japanese; the story was accompanied by a graphic, disturbing photo of the bloodied bodies these intelligent, sentient animals. All for human greed.

I cried for the horses, the ducks, and the dolphins partly because I cannot save them, I cannot comfort them, and I cannot reassure them that not all of my kind are hellish, heartless monsters. And because I know that what happened to them is the proverbial tip of the proverbial iceberg, that human cruelty is pervasive and unstoppable, that even now, at this moment, any moment, unthinkable cruelties are being committed without thought other than money and sadism against those with no voice, committed without conscience, committed without end.

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