Thursday, May 20, 2010

Finding the Fight: Diego

“You are driven by your convictions, you have to fight for what you believe…” he said strongly, stopping where he stood behind the counter to gesture boldly with the black Lucky Brand skirt he had tried to sell me a moment earlier, that had just come in. It’s what Diego, prevailing over the Smith St. Lucky store, learned in Peru, from being raised around revolution.

We need his spirit here, we need a revolution, we need to stand up and fight for what we believe in. He is right. I am wimpy. I give up too easily from arguing what I believe should happen with the really hard things, believing it too hard to change things, to change the whole scope of the greedy capitalist system. But he is damn right, I stand corrected. (And, for the record, I don’t say that very often.)

And that’s why I gave Diego a gold star!

It started harmlessly, our conversation, like all conversations. But I don’t let it rest easily, and others seem shockingly willing to follow my lead, happy to have the chance to say what’s really on their mind. It is awesome, I love it. We went from talking about the peace sign that Lucky has popularized, to the idea of how self-centered we all would be if reared in the wild, not taught to share, to the sad, sad fact that there will always be divisive, opposing forces in the world.

I shook my head, fingering the cool brown leather mesh belt I coveted but couldn’t bear to spend $48 on. “Such a bummer,” I said. “Why can’t we all just learn to get along?”

He smiled his big bright smile, a smile that might possibly be able to make it all better. “Not going to happen, sorry…” he said, his accent accenting his words, softening them.

But, Diego, what of convictions? Sigh. Our convictions so often take only our own selves into consideration. It must go back to the idea of self-centeredness. It had come full circle: we are at the center of our own universe I do believe, call me Buddhist if you will, like Diego did. It is always easy, then, to make The Other remarkably, reductively Other. But better not to, of course. Better to see them, to reward them just as you do yourself (or should). Better to give them a gold star.

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