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sunday scaries: the mindful hawks of smart town
the mindful hawks of smart town
There was the wild crack of a pool cue, followed by cool guys pretending to care about sports.
“Baseball is so capitalist. You’re all alone out there. Just you versus everyone else.”
At the end of the bar a first date was beginning. A confident man looked up from his menu.
“So I listen to all kinds of music,” he said.
“Wow. I listen to all kinds of music too,” replied the woman. “I love the hip hop genre.”
The man said, “I have this playlist called ‘Boyfriend Dick.’ All the stuff to set the mood: Bon Iver, The Weekend, Frank Ocean. What I provide is nothing extraordinary, just consistency: The boyfriend experience. If you agree to date me, there will be absolutely no surprises.”
Happy hour was ending in the neighborhood of Smart Town, a place where everyone was really cool and deep. No one kept honest hours, worked with their hands, or suffered much. Everything was taken care of! Life was pretty good.
This was Peter and Alina’s first time visiting Smart Town. Things were a little different where they were from. They were from Dumb Town. In Dumb Town, people had to hustle. In Dumb Town, people were sick. Actually, Dumb Town was in danger of getting invaded by Smart Town, and Peter and Alina were canvassing against the war effort. A few days ago, a Dumb Town plane accidentally crossed a Smart Town no-fly zone and was shot down, triggering a huge escalation. Smart Town never really liked Dumb Town and did not mess around. The big war was imminent.
Peter and Alina decided to get back to work and left the bar. They passed some street art that said, “Fuck the Patriarchy.” Alina scanned the QR code. It pulled up a link to the Spring catalogue of a fashion company.
“Ah, this is like a subversive political organization. But they achieve their goals through fashion,” concluded Alina.
They walked down the street, taking in their new environment. They saw Latino families waiting in line at food trucks, while the chic laptop class preferred shelter and meals in silence with headphones. A Postmates cyclist wobbled home. Somewhere in the park there was a mountain lion nobody had ever seen before.
“Look at this place. It only knows diversity through gentrification. Very interesting,” said Peter. “By the way people dress you can’t even tell who’s rich or who’s poor. Be careful Alina, the person dressed like a bum could be wealthy!”
The couple posted up in front of the Smart Town cafe, where they flagged down a hippy cyclist with a COEXIST sticker on his helmet.
“Hello…so sorry for the interruption. My name is Alina, and this is my husband, Peter. Would you sign this petition to stop the war? I think it would be in both of our interests to halt this escalation.”
“Happy to help,” said hippy bike person. “But Dumb Town is not very environmentally friendly. It keeps fracking for oil and polluting everything. I’m pretty sure Dumb Town is the number one cause of global warming right now. Did you know the environment provides the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat? By protecting the environment, we are also protecting our own health and well-being. We must protect biodiversity and climate stability in the name of economic justice for all.”
“Yes, that is definitely a big concern of hours too, but—” began Peter.
“Also, the Republic Platform party is against this war. So as a member of Civic Justice—their opponent—I’m legally obligated to take the exact opposite position. This is an issue we can really seize on! We can be the war party!! Anyway, I just volunteered for a river clean up, so I’m feeling pretty good.”
“No, we don’t want war,” clarified Alina. “We want to stop people from dying.”
“Oh,” said hippy bike person. Then he kind of just stood there, arrested by an acid flashback.
Peter and Alina moved on to a couple of Indian men walking a dog. They gave them their elevator pitch. The world was ***this*** close to ending! Literally, Smart Town had all its nukes pointed toward Dumb Town. Even neighboring Chill Town was getting paranoid. It started developing nuclear weapons for the first time in its history, just in case.
“As you know” said one of the men, wagging his finger. “Dumb Town has a toxic record on human rights, democracy, and international relations. Particularly, we are acutely concerned about the Trans Hate and homophobia coming out of Dumb Town and are monitoring the situation very closely.”
Alina was confused. Back home in Dumb Town, she had not heard the word “trans” before. But she tried to assure the couple.
“Yes, of course. Dumb Town government is very backwards. But violence cannot be the solution. We are on the brink of total annihilation. Most residents don’t want war, but we have to show that to leaders with this petition.”
“It’s not a war, to be clear. It’s a ‘special operation,’” shot back one of the men. “We believe that by consciously invading Dumb Town, Smart Town can fight Trans Hate and really capitalize on this unique opportunity to educate Dumb Town and teach it some manners. Therefore, we cannot sign your petition,” he said, showcasing their pet dog.
Alina and Peter brushed it off and kept going. Next emerged an erudite white couple holding coffees. They had no distinguishable features. In fact, they literally had no faces at all. Just a void where their faces were supposed to be. The man was wearing a hat with just the word “water” on it. Peter took the lead this time.
“Apologies for interrupting. But we are circulating a petition opposing Smart Town’s invasion of Dumb Town. Could you sign our “No war” petition? It will be submitted to the appropriate ruling parties.”
The woman was dressed like a thoughtful social worker, but then barked, “I’m so glad we’re is refusing to negotiate with Dumb Town. We cannot back down. Dumb Town residents are complete animals. Maybe if they knew about therapy and practicing mindfulness we wouldn’t be in this situation.”
Peter and Alina were taken aback by their intensity.
Turning to Peter and Alina, water hat person said, “We won’t sign your petition because we need to teach Dumb Town some boundaries.”
“But wouldn’t boundaries mean not invading?” asked Alina, now totally disorientated.
Then water hat person got really amped up, and declared, “Dumb Town is an extremely misogynistic place. Women’s rights are in peril. And it is Smart Town’s moral duty to fix that by spending billions of tax dollars to fight this war despite no plan for how it will end.”
The discussion turned into an episode of Pod Save America, and Peter and Alina got out of there.
Next they approached a group of Black and Brown people protesting police brutality. They chanted: “ANOTHER WORLD IS POSSIBLE. ANOTHER WORLD IS POSSIBLE.”
“Hey so sorry to bother you,” waved Peter. “But we are trying to stop World War 3, and—
“Is Dumb Town full of a bunch of racist cops?” thundered one of the activists.
“Um, well, we’re not actually experts on the state of policing in Dumb Town. We’re just trying to stop the end of the world,” said Peter. “But Smart Town has begun leveling cities and killing people. Many of them women and children. And the poorest have been left behind to die! This will cost a tremendous amount of money and lives. Your signature will mean a lot.”
“But Dumb Town is definitely anti-BIPOC and must be stopped immediately. The only option is more war. Defund Dumb Town!”
Things weren’t trending well at this point. Peter and Alina approached an Asian woman, and they gave their usual pitch. The woman grew reflective, then said, “One of my concerns is that Dumb Town residents don’t treat their bodies well. Studies show eating a diet mainly consisting of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while limiting sugar, fats and processed foods helps reduce the risk of chronic disease and depression. But here’s what we can do to help: give every Dumb Town resident access to Erewhon.”
She was a wellness monster, with an evil, refreshed nature. She looked like she just spent the last month inside a sensory depravation tank, her cold gaze now looking down on everyone.
“For those reasons, I support this special operation into Dumb Town,” she calmly concluded.
It was getting late and the streets of Smart Town grew quiet. The couple tried to make out the stars through the polluted fog. Instead, they admired a constellation of satellites. They didn’t know it, but it was good enough.
Then someone shouted, “Don’t look at the moon!” snapping them out of their trance. It was a fully grown man wearing a baja pullover, gesturing broadly at Alina and Peter.
“It’s bad luck to stare at a waning crescent,” he announced, giving off the energy of a deeply touched man, or just some guy who has convinced himself that he is an empath. Regardless, Alina and Peter were a captive audience.
“You have have come so far. What has been on your mind?”
“Is this war just?” asked Alina.
He produced a tarot deck, and fanned it out before Peter and Alina. Alina pulled a The Chariot.
“Things are under control, and moving according to plan. We are witnessing triumph. In time, we will all see the good to come from this invasion,” said Shaman guy.
“The people of Dumb Town are lost. Lost in logic. Lost to capital, to science. The path to prosperity for every Dumb Town resident is to reject their industrial nature and look to the cosmos for salvation. By the way did you know that astrology is important to many people for a variety of reasons? Some people find that astrology provides insights into their personalities, relationships, and life path, and helps them understand their strengths and weaknesses. Others use astrology as a tool for making decisions, planning events, or timing important actions.”
Peter and Alina walked away.
A few hundred feet down the street from them was an unhoused Black woman. A nicely dressed white couple walked passed her.
“Please help us,” pleaded the women to the couple. “We’re dying. Right here in your backyard.”
“Lady, don’t you know Smart Town has to fight racism abroad? Don’t you know we have to defend freedom and democracy at all costs? Democracy allows for a more inclusive and diverse representation in government, ensuring that the voices of minority groups are heard and their interests are protected. This helps to prevent discrimination and promote equality.”
“Please, I am just trying to buy a pair of clothes so I can go to my job interview. This is my way out. Can you spare a few dollars?” asked the woman.
“Do you have Venmo?”
“Actually, sorry lady, we can’t. We just donated our money to the war. It’s like so important. You should try and help out too.”