I’ve been thinking a lot about the Harvesters from Independence Day. For the less nerdy among us, those are the aliens. I’ve been thinking that they got a bum deal. Sure they came to harvest and kill. Sure they planned to pillage and destroy, but how is that different from the shit we do? How is that different from who we are? Didn’t we capture them and keep their ship and dissect them in the name of curiosity? We can’t really say it was in the name of science because science belongs to all of us. The gov’t wasn’t about to tell us shit and reddit hadn’t popped off yet. They weren’t going to warn us. They were cool with letting Brett and Becky go on the roof and get vaped. They were utterly fuck deficient.
And here’s the thing, I identify with the Harvesters. You see, I myself am an alien. I occupy the space between fear and curiosity. Hands grabbing, eyes roaming, disapproval masked with manners. It’s a strange thing to be invisible on display. About a month ago, I went dancing with a friend. It had been over a year and even though I’d spent the day vacillating between naps and vomit, I was stoked. We went to a large Brooklyn venue to watch a friend of hers spin an Outkast tribute set. The moment I walked in my hips started to sway. The Deep South wraps its roots around the base of the spine. The beat calls, the ass responds. No alarms. No surprises.
Shortly after our arrival we were approached by a sweet White fella with rhythm trapped in his hands. It couldn’t seem to find a way past his wrists but God bless him, he was feeling it. We play the club game. He approaches and his face asks permission, we dance around in circles, silently communicating that he may enter, but must proceed with caution. Not too close. No sudden movements. He’s respectful so we bring him into the fold. He tells us he’s visiting from Ireland and he’d mistakenly thought that Outkast would be performing. Bless his sweet little heart. We talk hurling and gales while we sway our hips and he sways his hands. My friend leaves to chat with the DJ and it’s just the two of us. He moves closer to make his interest known. I spin around and around, because the whole world doesn’t love it when you don’t get down. In fact, they hate you for it.
He vanishes for a moment and I’m alone on the dance floor. I let the music wash over me and I’m all hips and hair and yes, even hands. My eyes are closed because it’s been such a long time since my body has felt this free and even as I feel the consequences burn and tingle, I do not relent. I open my I eyes and Brogue with the big hands is back, but now he’s got an entourage, a group of young, milky blondes with wide eyes and bright smiles.
They form a semi-circle around me as they stare and attempt to mimic my movements. They giggle and their energies point, in wonder and awe. They smile the smiles of a tour group at the zoo and I am suddenly in a cage. Just like that, my freedom is my captor. I smile back and keep moving. After all, I’ve earned this night. They cannot have it. I close my eyes and I spin and I sway and I catch Brogue’s eye and he’s standing in between the entourage and me and I see his dilemma. I see him deciding if The Experience is worth the ribbing he’s going to take. Is it worth the questions and the jokes? Will it make him seem cool or crazy? It looks like fun, but will they look at him, the way they’re looking at me? It never even occurred to him that The Experience wasn’t even an option. The Experience was a tired old dyke who just liked to flirt and occasionally bat boys around like yarn.
It’s a funny thing to dwell between the seen and the unseen, between caricature and invisibility. I exist in a space where people stand right in front of me with their bags and their bikes and claim my space as their own. I exist in a space where people flip their hair in my face and close doors on me and expect me to move out of their way. I exist in a space where if I express my displeasure, I’m met with tears at best or violence at worst. Yet, I see my body chopped and screwed and sold for parts. The lighter the skin, the higher the value. Erasers should really be white instead of black.
So, while I don’t have entirely murderous intentions, I definitely understand wanting to wipe shit out and start with a clean slate. How many thinkpieces and townhalls do we need? How many hashtags? How many dead black bodies? How many gross ass men standing tall in their filth and winking with their wealth? Peace? No Peace. If the mothership comes calling, y’all go ahead and help Brett and Becky with the organic glitter paint and the signs. But, don’t come looking for me. I’ll be under the invisibility cloak with Keisha and Serena heating up the phaser.