I was walking home yesterday, with earphones firmly on, music blaring, moving to the groove as I walked. The weather was great. There was no snow. No rain. I looked good, I felt good, I was not cranky (which is rare), I was smiling about something someone (a cute boy, if you must know) said to me. It was basically one of the good days. So there I am, standing at the corner of the street waiting for the walk light, when I see a girl, maybe she was Mexican, maybe she was Latino but she had a long pony tail and, she was dancing. Her lithe body moving to the rhythm of whatever beat she was listening to. So I crossed the road, I smiled at her,put my bag down and … I danced. Not quiet as gracefully as her, and I was probably making a fool of myself, but I danced. I got my body shakin’ to a beat I could not hear. She didn’t blink. She just danced along. And maybe I witnessed a raised eyebrow or two, but who
And that’s the thing. People ask me what I love about this place, I tell them ‘freedom’ and they don’t get it. They raise their eyebrows as if to say: you, wait and see, girl. This is not a free country. But how can you know freedom, how can you truly understand it without knowing how it is like to not have it?
America is a comfortable, largely free world. You can go out and have a nice day, today, right now and nobody would stop you.
I could sit back and criticize U.S foreign policy, talk about racism and how things are not as they appear, how life is difficult for some people as opposed to others, about income disparity, about student loans, and high taxes, and interests rates and so on (I do all of this for a living!). I am sure America is not perfect. I am sure other countries in the world are better, have a similar or better kind of freedom.
But, its the simple things, the small things that largely define how happy or unhappy you are – in that moment. Most take this for granted but I don’t. My world is still at the far end on the spectrum of developing vs developed; a world not-quiet moving toward freedom, not quiet-moving toward human rights, the stagnant, the morose, the debilitating face of human tragedy. My world is still at war. My world is still fighting to live another day.
So having to dance with a random girl on the street on a lazy afternoon and not having to care about what people think, that is freedom to me. And I am enjoying it while it lasts.