Disappointing Spider

You are a spider on a park bench, and you are going to die.

The park bench seemed like a good idea at the time. Plenty of right angled structures for webs, and the strewn human crumbs guarantee some sort of insect activity.

But in practice, it didn't work so well. Shoes, bookbag straps, dropped napkins were always f-ing up your web. On top of that, the park bench is behind a big flat wall of a building, that really seemed to scoop a lot of strong winds half the time. So you waste a majority of your day just clinging with dear life to the wood, trying not to be blown away like a newborn.

In fact, if it hadn't been for a lost ant who just up and died nearby, you would be dead already.

You start making excuses. Bad genes. Inclimate weather conditions resulting in slow local insect maturation. But that's all a bunch of BS. You are the result of 2 billion iterations of successful spiders before you. You were born alongside hundreds of other nearly genetically identical brothers and sisters plenty of who are squatting over their own blossoming egg sacks already.

You just have to face up to it. You have only yourself to blame. You just didn't want it bad enough. You don't deserve to be consumed by the living glory of the next generation. You picked the park bench since you pretty much landed on it, and were too lazy to look for better wares. You half expected the flies to impale themselves, pre-wrapped onto your fangs.

In the end, you just weren't very good at being a spider, and it's probably a good thing that you won't be one for very much longer.

Revolution Revolution

Our hero is sitting in a row of interlocked chairs at the DMV, awaiting his number to be called. You might mistake him for a math professor, with his patched tweed suit, and his habit of holding a fist underneath his chin for head support.

He moves deliberately, head turning to examine the piles of magazines, pausing to judge the relative distance of both stacks near him, as if weighing the joint pain against the opportunity to reading a 3 month old issue of Time.

Presumably he decides against it, as instead he grips his cane with two hands, setting it squarely in front of him. He squints to make out the clock on the far wall, tilting his head up to attain the last bit of needed clarity. It is 1 minute to 9 o'clock. With an effort, he extends his left arm in front of him, comparing the dials on his wrist to those of the wall. He gives a snuff of approval and returns his grip to his cane.

He tried joining an existing group, but they wanted nothing to do with him. "Kids these days", as true as it ever was. It was unclear from their leader's rude rebuff whether they thought he was a government narc or just not capable of helping. In either case, within the next few weeks he'd disprove both.

Gladis is at the corner of Jackson and State. She is mounted atop a cherry red mobile assistance device. Half scooter, half wheelchair she ordered it late one night amongst promises that Medicare would cover it. This was mostly correct, save for the taxes and shipping and handling, which with something as heavy as this, rivaled the purchase price. In a way, she's happy that they swindled her, as it was the anger of that which drove her to seek out, something, anyway, to respond.

Nobody saw this coming, and there is no reason they should. It has never happened before. Historically, the concept of mass retirement is relatively new. Humans just are not meant to be purposeless. Sticking the wisest of us into a building with some of the only people who cannot appreciate our perspectives just piles on the misery.

"Even so, why hasn't his happened sooner?", you ask.

A fair question, the difference in our generation, was that we grew up knowing how to use the latest communication tools. We were not regulated to bitter political discussion over pinochle, but had already spent our lifetimes establishing connections with communities and groups, and so when we began being put out to pasture, either by ourselves or by our children, something started crystallizing. Something which fit perfectly into the gnawing desire for purpose building in the pit of our stomaches.

We had spent so many hours angrily talking about how things should be. How we disliked the status quo. How the system was broken, but at the time we were also busy. Some of us had kids, others had mortgage payments. Almost all of us were a little queasy about the idea of how an arrest record for even a civil disobedience charge might affect our future employability.

The young have too many concerns about their future to be able to act freely, there are simply to many logistical concerns which hinder their ability to express their conscience without hesitation.

Harvey is sitting in a late "Oughts" Outback, in a gas station parking lot overlooking a freeway. Some of the others in the group are driving the stereotypical gigantic Pontiacs, but he never threw in for those. He sips the sub par gas station coffee, his face pre-winced. He starts poking buttons on the car radio, trying to get it to show the time. He swear a couple times before succeeding. Nothing is ever easy.

At 10:02, our hero is being helped out of the door of the building by two good samaritans who seem to be holding their breath. People with sick expressions are rushing out of the building, they take dramatic breaths of relief when they reach the outdoors.

"Um, are you going to be okay, do you know how to get home?", one of the samaritans asks.

Our hero nods, still playing the dottering fool. He absently pulls at the back of his pants, which is beginning to feel cold and uncomfortably squishy. He'll walk across the parking lots towards a nearby McDonald's where he can change and hop on a bus before anyone realizes that this was not an isolated incident, but a warning shot...

"Oh thank you young men", Gladis purrs, "I don't know what happened!". A police officer and a college student are attempting to push her "vehicle" out of the middle of the crosswalk of State street. This has been going on for minutes now. They tried to push it, but she had set the brakes. They then asked her to get out, and she went dead weight on the college student, bringing both crashing to the ground.

That feigned "Oh my" as she fell, she will replay many a time later back amongst her cohorts.

The officer, at that point, had to stop what he was doing, and help her back into her saddle.

Eventually, someone with an elderly parent comes along and points out that the break is on, finally clearing the intersection. Three minutes total for Gladis, Doris, up on Lower Wacker will brag that she went a full five.

The young's greatest asset, is also one of their greatest weaknesses. The population has grown callouses to images of college-age kids being hauled away from doorways and roadways. Most 40 year olds just assume the kid is a pot-smoking good for nothing anyway. Moreover, the police can man-handle the kids with relatively little chance of permanent harm or likelihood of public sympathy.

We, on the other hand, our bones are made of glass. After our first sit in, we nearly bankrupted the local police force with just the civil suits from broken hips alone, and that picture of a police officer holding his baton menacingly at a phalanx of old ladies proffering a tray of cookies gave us more positive press than any ad campaign out of Madison Ave could ever have achieved.

Blank asphalt and empty asphalt stretches off into the distance in front of Harvey. It's an eerie sight on a Monday morning in California's I-10. He glances back in the mirror at the solid mass of cars, driving in formation to his left and behind him. They've even extended onto the shoulder, and he can see angry drivers behind them getting stuck as they try to pass them in the ditch. This only compounds the issue of course.

Harvey cranks up the radio, rolls down the window, and takes another sip of terrible coffee.