Welcome to the Moment of Truth, the thirst that is the drink.
I drove by two older white people arguing. Each seemed to be the representative of a group of onlookers. One demanded heatedly, belligerently, “Do you know what a stork is?” Challenging. But in a flash I’d driven past. And I could only wonder what this challenge was in reference to. Was it in fact a duel of ornithological knowledge?
Did you hear me? Was it? Are you listening? Are you even present?
Oh look at you. Good for you. You're here. That's more than most people can say. There are a few ways to look at it. Either we're all among a select few, or we're among a crappy few, or we're just a random set.
Don't be mean to me. I will cry. That's my trademark. That's what I was known for, as a baby. Oh, like you never cried when you were a baby. Well, I cried a lot. I cried every day. I cried and cried. I was known as the town crier.
I got the creative bug. Just feel creative. No ideas. Just a general feeling of creativity. I bet I could spread this bug. I bet I could spread creativity. Don't you all feel it? In your mind? And in your imagination? Which is also up here. Knock knock. Creativity. It's a feeling. You don't need ideas if you're creative. Think about it.
Everyone thinks they have imagination. Everyone in LA. People come here for three reasons: they think they have talent, or they think they have imagination, or they imagine they have talent.
So it shouldn’t be a total loss, I'm gonna get some work done while I'm up here. I got some vegetables to chop. Gotta make a stock. Got some dinner parties coming up. Gotta have homemade stock.
Stock is good as a basis for soup, sauces, and reheating/rehydrating savory leftovers. Rice, buckwheat groats, faro, and other grains are nice when made with stock. Some vegetables need to be blanched or boiled, and stock is the way to go. It adds richness and flavor to boiled things, things people are enamored with roasting these days, such as root vegetables, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. These can profit from a bit of blanching or even boiling in a stock before being put in the oven or under a broiler.
Hills, or even mountains, rise from the mist in the distance. Not really mist, more like haze, although unlike most days the haze is white with only a slight off-white tinge of smog and dust. Later today, I imagine, it will brown to an unsightly umber.
Ah, life. Life is a death sentence.
Do you know what a stork is? Was it, maybe, an argument about reproductive rights and female body sovereignty? Because our national discourse is polarized these days, to use the current term, and one of the most contentious divisions, and one in which the opposing parties seem all but impossible to bring eye-to-eye, is a woman’s right to medically terminate her pregnancy. Or even to terminate it by magic. A rational basis for argument seems to elude both sides, because positing the primacy of one or another state of being is an inherently irrational activity.
The idea that when a sperm penetrates an ovum, something sacred is created, is irrational, sure. The idea that a fully-grown woman has sovereignty over tissue gestating in her own body, as well as whether or not she should undergo the extreme biological metamorphosis that gestation will catalyze, well, that has a much more persuasive basis, to me, and certainly to most fully-grown women I know... but is it rational? Sovereignty is an agreement, an agreement about control, about autonomy, about freedom, about the ability to determine one’s possibilities. Whereas the sacred is an agreement about... what is sacred. It’s a circular agreement. But in the end, the decision over which holds more weight, adult sovereignty or invisible or microscopic sanctity, is irrational.
But, even knowing this, admitting this to myself, I still couldn’t puzzle my way back to what the argument would be that would be met with the throwing down of such a gauntlet. When is it appropriate to cross that line, to step up to someone, stand one’s ground and force the other party to summarize their stork knowledge?
Do you know what conception is? Do you know what an embryo is? Do you know what pregnancy is? Do you even know what a stork is?
Come on, now, Jeffy, be rational. At least be coherent. You have imagination, or at least a talent for imagining you do.
Now, you bunch have a lot of damn nerve, demanding coherence from me. Here I am, driving around, minding my own business, and the human flesh on the street tosses out this question, this belligerent question, this question that’s delivered in a belligerent way, belligerent for no reason, and you ask me to be coherent? Do you know what a stork is?
The stork, like an idiot, brings the baby. But do you know what it is? You imagine you know what a baby is. You imagine you know what “bring” is. But a stork! A stork! A god damn stork!
Do you know how God puts the human soul into an embryo? Do you know how many different lives that zygotic collision could end up living? Do you know what diseases it could cure or what happiness it could bring? Do you know what a stork is?
And conversely, do you know how dangerous it is to grow a human being inside your body? Do you know how many women die in the process? Do you know how it changes someone’s life? Can you know how it changes someone’s life, for good and ill? Do you know what social, medical, and economic entanglements that endeavor involves a person in? And do you know what kind of myriad futures that woman could have had if she’d only had sovereignty over her own body? Shouldn’t she be able to decide what path her present takes toward the future? Do you know what possibilities the future holds? Do you know anything the future holds? Do you know what a stork is?
The answer is “no.” You don’t know what a stork is. No one does. You lack the most essential knowledge. And lacking all that knowledge, why are you meddling in someone else’s body and future? How dare you meddle in someone else’s body and future with your complete lack of knowledge?
It’s something we all need to ask ourselves, whenever we presume that we know what’s right for someone else. Before you act, before you make that sovereignty-molesting decision, before you dip your dirty fingers into someone else’s chili fries and take a glob, ask yourself:
Do I know what a stork is? Do I know what a stork is? Do I know what a stork is? This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!