And I’m Just Getting Started…
By Al Carbon.
October 12, 2010
Exactly a year has gone by since La Acera’s first post, and an eventful year it’s been. On La Acera’s front, we’ve gained a number of writers who alternately make me laugh, who make me consider perspectives I haven’t thought of before, or who make me want to shake them while shouting “how can someone even think that?”. We’ve been controversial: we’ve been openly derided, yet we’ve been plagiarized by significant news sources more than once. You hate us in so many different ways, and you love us. We’ve thrown parties and performances. Our writers have at times been diametrically opposed to one another, yet we haven’t crumbled under the strain of our disagreements. People have said almost anything you can think of about us.
I suppose that means that to a certain extent, we’ve succeeded in watching and commenting on what’s gone on in Puerto Rico (and the world), and engaging ourselves and our readers in necessary debate.
However, it’s hard to feel successful when I feel like Puerto Rico is so unsuccessful. Thinking back to when I wrote last year, life was relatively good. The strike hadn’t happened. The riot/police brutality at the capitol hadn’t happened. There seemed to be less crime and carjackings. I wasn’t in exile from the Santini-sponsored clusterf**k that we used to call “Old San Juan”. My life felt less unstable and chaotic.
Now, however, I feel unsure about whether the semester will continue, whether I’ll be able to pay the cuota, whether it’s even worthwhile to go to rehearsal for Viudas for fear the Yupi will shut down for opening night. I don’t feel safe enough on the streets anymore. Willie died. Juanma died. Jobs keep getting cut. Businesses keep leaving. And I don’t see how we can get on in the economy here, or how the many people worse off than us could possibly deal with their desperation in a positive manner.
I see awful things happening. I see professors getting fired for teaching erotic books, and books being blacklisted. I see the same crooked politicians being elected by the same color-blinded, apathetic people. I see doctors leaving every year, making Puerto Rico a more and more dangerous place in which to get sick. I see the public schools, which are already pretty dismal, completely out of money and teachers and on strike. I see green initiatives that are standard in the US unheard of here. I see a complete lack of vision or motivation to lead Puerto Rico towards anything but being a better and better parasite of the US, and I get tired trying to cover the tiny pockets of beauty or art or justice that do exist here, and I am beyond tired of hearing all the vapid breast beating about how great this place is.
And I wonder, what’s the point? Life is so short. Why spend it here? Why force my kids to grow up here? Why expose them to the rigidity and the bureaucracy and the chaos and the mediocrity and the bullshit?
A year ago I likened Puerto Rico to a boyfriend who really wasn’t very good for you, but who you love anyway. I feel like I’ve had way too many black eyes in the past year, and I’m starting to wise up.
Honey, he ain’t good for you, he ain’t good for your kids, and he ain’t gonna change…