The angry bro guys in their huge trucks. The nervously ironic hipsters, giggling endlessly about pop culture. The self-satisfied middle-aged white guys explaining the world to each other with phrases from talk radio. The impossibly strict radical activists lecturing each other with phrases from Cultural Studies classes. The sullen, slow moving underclass teenagers. The very, very quiet Mexican ladies working menial jobs. The subculture kids piling on makeup and leather and making new schisms of nothing. The armies of couched people in front of televisions, pounding beers and watching us rationalize to each other. We’re all nervous as hell.
Everyone knows it. This thing is ready to blow. We’re all watching a cigarette ash grow long, far longer than it should. When is that damned thing going to drop?
I remember standing in the middle of the street at midnight, on Ventura Boulevard, in the middle of the L.A. Riots. There was a curfew on, but the cops were all down south. Greg and I walked down the center median of an empty street. “Do you think it’s the end?” he asked. “No,” I said, “More bullshit yet to come.”
This time I can’t smell smoke, and we didn’t have to drive through an angry armed crowd. No troops on the streets.
It feels like 1992 again though. The economy is teetering, about to slide, taking the lower middle class down to the bottom again, exposing all the inequities, pushing people past their limits. There’s a hell of a lot of wealth around me every day but it’s clearly fake. If the Chinese ask for their money back or someone cooks off a suitcase nuke in Chicago, or maybe even some little moth’s breath of fate happens to tip things over, something impossibly tiny… Suddenly we’ll see what we’ve been living.
I feel like I’m in a bar full of angry drunks lately. All it will take is one elbow bump, and we’ll find out what shits we were all along.