Tonight (Tuesday), I went to see Jack Johnson in concert with a friend. I was pinch hitting for her sister, who got sick, and even though I’d never even heard of him, I was looking forward to it.
Live music is always fun, so it was nice to be in the midst of an audience that loved every note he played. Unfortunately, that type of low-key, if the Grateful Dead, Dave Matthews, and one of those homeless guys who plays guitar for cash in the subway all fucked and had a baby and that baby grew up in Hawaii, music is not my cup of tea. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the experience and the fourth row seats that gave us a great view of the show.
One thing that I found amusing during the night was the tendency of the two opening acts to toss “Orlando” into their patter in the most awkward and obvious ways. It was hysterical. They were all like “You know who rocks the hardest? Orlando!” or “I don’t care what those people in Miami say, Orlando has the best people in Florida!” And the crowd would go absolutely wild, cheering and stomping and screaming.
I’ve never felt the urge to cheer when the city where I currently live is announced. I guess that’s not true – maybe after a highly turbulent flight where I thought I was going to die, when the flight attendant announces that we’ve landed in Orlando, I might let loose with a hoarse cheer. Other than that, though? It doesn’t do anything for me. This is one reason that I don’t care about sports at all. Cheering on a team because they’re in a geographic area I used to live? I don’t get it. I don’t look down on it or think someone is stupid for doing it. I just don’t understand it.
I have no loyalty to a specific area or even to a group of people who have a geographic area in common. This extends beyond local and regional, all the way to national. I don’t have any sense of genuine nationalism. Whenever I hear people talk about “America” (or as I say it, with a George W. Bush accent, “Amurrikuh”), as this element that fills them with pride, I don’t get it. I support the people that join the military even if I don’t agree with the actions the military orders them to take, but I don’t feel a sense of pride about “our boys over there”. It’s not my war, and I don’t fucking care.
I’d like to think that for some reason, this lack of passion or loyalty was a result of a higher level of perception, maybe a subconscious striving for a truly global community, but I don’t think it is. If we had a global community, I’d be just as uninterested in the Earth v. Mars debates. I think that I just don’t care. I’ve talked before about how I don’t care about 9/11, and that is still true. It’s not that I don’t have compassion – I do, sometimes too much – but the fact that Americans died instead of people from another country doesn’t make me feel more passionate or angrier or anything “more” because the victims were from the country where I was born.
Today, when I was at the barber’s for my weekly shave, two men came into the shop. One was dressed in a suit and looked like Louis Farrakhan if he had eaten Don King. The other carried a news camera. They were interested in finding out what Joe Q. Public thought about the local election. The reporter asked me what I thought, and I was blunt. “I don’t care about local politics. I only pay attention to national politics and only once every four years.” And I realized how true that is and how few things I really do care about.
I’m fiercely loyal to my friends. For the people I love, I will do absolutely anything. But once it gets beyond that small group, that fiefdom, I feel a huge disconnect and sense of pure indifference. I can’t even fake it. Sometimes, I watch other people and listen to what they say and hear them on the news or Twitter or in person, and I wonder what it must be like. What is it like to care about things like who a local judge is or whether a team from your hometown wins or loses or if America wins the World Cup or a war in a foreign country? What is it like to feel ties to a community or a hometown or a school? What is it that makes someone feel pride in anything other than their own immediate actions?
Sometimes I ask myself these questions and I have no idea what that feels like. And I’m okay with not knowing – I’m indifferent about that, too – but it also makes me wonder if maybe, I’m just broken.