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Thursday, August 18, 2005

indian market blues

WARNING: This post contains pejorative comments about treasured cultural events, religion and death
As I drove down Marcy Street this morning, I spotted the early-morning workers working on the early-market set-up for Indian Market and my heart sunk. I know, I know, I know that Indian Market is a huge cash boon for the city and that, for native artists, it's an important economic contributor to their livlihoods, not to mention a key showcase for their work. Still, I am not a fan. Part of this, I think, can be traced to one of the only times I went to Indian Market, by accident, when I was 19 or 20 years old. I was on my way to work at the old Nighthawk Cafe (do you remember it? Behind Burnt Horses Bookstore?) where I was employed as a cook, and I had been awake for nearly three straight days (for reasons that do not need to be recounted), so I was very very tired. I cut across the Plaza during Indian Market (smart girl) as I was living, for the summer, on Elena Street and, lo and behold, became trapped by hundreds and hundreds and hundreds (or so it seemed; well that's probably accurate, right?) of shoppers. Big, big shoppers. And it was about 102 degrees out. And a hot day in a crowd of tourists bumping into me shopping is the circle of hell Dante forgot to mention. So, you know, not my bag. I'm a terrible shopper. I like to go to bookstores, record stores and, once or twice a year, buy an expensive pair of shoes that looks like the last pair of shoes I owned or, when it's absolutely unavoidable, a new pair of jeans.
And now onto death.
So last night, after a really mediocre workout, I stopped by Darius' and hung out with him, Dan and Lalo for a while. Lalo, we've learned, since last I blogged, has cancer. Most likely stomach cancer. As he's 12 and already pretty skinny and weak, Darius isn't pursuing the biopsy/chemo option, which is entirely his decision but one I can understand; I'm not a huge fan of putting old animals through invasive possibly painful not necessarily curative but definitely expensive treatments. So Lalo is lying on the couch sleeping and Dan asks Darius where the B'ahai stand on matters such as putting Lalo to sleep (I had asked Darius what the vet had to say about this). Darius is B'hai (I'm just going to try spelling it as many ways as possible until something looks right), a religion I didn't know existed until a few years ago and, having such a tenous grasp on mainstream religions, about the only factors in Darius' religion I've been able to hold onto is the fact that he doesn't drink (I'm sure this is the one that sticks with me because this makes him a good designated driver). ANYWAY Darius says that bahai don't ascribe a soul to animals (disclaimer: do not attribute anything I am about to say to Darius as I am notoriously bad at retaining information about religious beliefs) so that the euthanasia decision comes down to the ethical one, about causing the animal the least amount of pain possible. Then Darius asked for my views on animal souls and anima. I told him the first thing that came out of my mouth, which is that I'm not sure I believe that any animal, human or otherwise, has a soul, but I do think that if you're here now in some ways you always are. And I believe that there is some kind of afterlife for all animals, some kind of big after-world animal sanctuary where everything is happy and good for them. I don't believe this because I have any evidence that it's true, and it doesn't really fit with any of my other beliefs, I just believe it because I want to. Because I think all animals are good and undeserving of judgement. Unlike people, they are never cruel. When they die they deserve a nice shady spot (or sunny rock) to lay upon, good food and endless petting. Lalo certainly deserves all this and more.
The three of us then administered a subcutaneous IV to Lalo in Darius' living room to help keep him hydrated. I hate death so much I can barely stand it.