Like a myna bird in an airplane

A 34-year-old man died two hours ago. He was a known antifascist and he was murdered for his political beliefs by a Golden Dawn member. As I write these lines, I can hear Eddie Izzard’s voice coming from the tv on my right. He is doing a mime of  a myna bird that is flying in an airplane. Other myna birds fly outside the airplane and look at it in a state of confusion and disbelief.  On my left, I can hear the distant sound of police sirens. Surely they have nothing to do with the incident that took place two hours ago. But the thought doesn’t make them any less terrifying.
I don’t dare switch off the television. Because then I will be left in a dark room, watching the ceiling for hours, hearing those sirens outside. I don’t want that. I prefer the sound of people laughing. I was laughing too, two hours ago. I was crying tears of joy. Eddie always makes me laugh so hard that I start to cry, you see. Now I know that even he is stained by all this. The association will always haunt me. I will laugh with his jokes, sure, but that laughter will leave a bitter taste, that of all the shame and guilt I feel for constantly trying to escape my reality.
I feel like I helped a man take another man’s life tonight. Like his victim’s blood is on my hands, too. I have done nothing to prevent it. I may not have handed this man the knife, but I saw that he had one and I didn’t take it away from him.
I feel numb. I knew this day would come, so I am not shocked, not really. I am not in shock, in denial, or in anger. I have started grieving a long time ago, so I guess I’ve already passed the first two stages of the grieving process (denial, anger) . The next stages are bargaining and depression if I’m not mistaken. I must have skipped the third one and went straight to depression.
Sometimes I feel like that myna bird in the airplane. I feel in awe of how exponential our technological growth is, how amazing the achievements of human beings in their limited time on earth. Like a myna bird that doesn’t have to fly itself, but instead is flown to its destination; like technology has outgrown its evolution and it no longer has to fly if it does not wish to; this is how I feel.
And then I look outside the window, waiting to see a beautiful, endless, blue sky, and all I can see is confusion, fear, envy, ignorance and hate in the eyes of all the other myna birds, who cannot understand why on earth a bird would fly in an airplane.
Eddie is now doing the bit about the Big Bang and the methods of procreation. It’s the finale of the show. Soon “Definite article” will end, and I will  hit the replay button and listen to the same jokes again. I don’t think I could bear a moment of silence tonight. I know I won’t sleep. And there is something comforting in listening to other, carefree, relaxed, happy, British people laughing.
I don’t envy them. Because I’ve been them and it’s more than one can ask for in one’s lifetime. To be free to laugh without feeling guilt or shame about it; it’s a privilege. And  it is so easy to forget how privileged we are. I know now that I have lived a very privileged life. For the most part my problems came from the  inside. I felt anxious, depressed, at times miserable, hopeless and helpless. But the helplessness was a great lie. If I had wanted help back then, if I had asked for it, I would have been given it. Now, I don’t just feel helpless. I am helpless. Most of us Greeks are.
I want to believe that most people are more resilient than me, that they will find strength in each other and bounce back easily. I hope I will find strength in others, too.
I decided to watch instead one of Izzard’s interviews on being a “male lesbian”. He tries to explain to the interviewer that he is a transvestite who is attracted to women. The interviewer looks perplexed. Eddie explains that he wears whatever he wants. He might wear a skirt and makeup. Or a suit and makeup. Or whatever the hell he feels like wearing. And that has nothing to do with his sexuality. He tries to show this guy how ridiculous it is that a man can’t wear a dress just because of a societal norm that, if changed, would harm nobody. He is also a myna bird sitting in an airplane seat, this Eddie Izzard.
The interviewer tries to understand. And I am sitting here thinking that if Eddie gave this interview in Greece he might not live to do another standup. I remember how naive and happy-go-lucky I was four years ago when my friends and I decided that we should try to bring him to Greece. It never crossed our minds that if a popular transvestite British comedian were to do a standup in Athens he most probably would be sworn at and bullied by fascists. A few months ago a friend told me that Izzard was thinking about it, searching for the right venue and all that… I was terrified.
I have no idea what tomorrow  will bring for us here in Greece. All I know is that my usual avoidance/escapism techniques don’t work anymore. Nothing works. Except maybe the comfort that I feel around other people who  think and feel the same way I do. A bunch of myna birds flying in airplanes, all of us.
It’s 6.21 am.
I will watch another standup. And then I will try to sleep. And hopefully tomorrow I will feel better, stronger, saner. And I will read this. And I will delete it.


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