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I don't know what made me buy that spare drive the other day; I guess I had a nagging suspicion that weather being what it was (hot) and computers being what they are (old), we were headed to a hard drive failure soon. And the prices have finally come down from the Bangkok high water line.

So, one queue, yesterday, our main RAID array failed, so it was immediately employed in backing that up. Our work is too huge to keep on DVD anymore, and so 14 years of archived data was briefly in jeopardy. No real way to store it than on redundant hard disks in an old mac pro with wheezy fans in a stifling office without air conditioning.

And I'm writing poetry this year more than I have in a long time, so I'm thinking about paring information down to the bone. What to keep, what to throw out. And there's all this political conventioning going on down south, and I hear snippets. The phrase that comes to mind is:

Make it look as simple as a liar's promise
Until it becomes as complicated as a liar's explanation.

But I won't beat that old horse today. Or the one where I say "Nyah Nyah Nyah. If WE had an election scheduled for November 6 here in CANADA, the campaigns would have only JUST STARTED." Well, OK, I'll do that one: "Nyah Nyah Nyah".

And I'm not voting in the U.S. election this year. Because I last lived in DC, and that's where I would send my mail-in ballot. "But what if enough people didn't vote in DC and it went to Romney?" Heh. No, not worth the $2 postage it would take to send me my ballot and have me send it back. And local politics? Don't live there, no right to choose anything, I say.

So, altogether, why am I holding onto this citizenship? Well, because in terms of taxes and adherence to U.S. law, I'd be treated as if I was a U.S. Citizen anyway, so there's no gain there in terms of making more than $90K, or vacationing in Cuba... I suppose there may be some possibility that there will be money left in the till when my Social Security comes to term. You know, it's such a strangely ambivalent thing. Perhaps I'm just holding onto it for the sake of having a passport that needs no visa.

In a way, being American for me is like a failed Hard Drive. I know the information is in there, and it can be retrieved with great effort. But until its worthwhile and until I need it, i'll just leave it in a cool dark place and hope it doesn't succumb to mould.

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
asakiyume
Sep. 7th, 2012 01:51 pm (UTC)
I think birth country is still somewhat talismanic. wakanomori is still a UK citizen (subject, he insists, not citizen. Whatever, you royalist, you, I say), even though being a resident alien in this county carries with it severe risks of imprisonment without anything like due process. Admittedly, more for people of darker skin tones than Waka. But if he or I did anything to rub the gov't the wrong way, that would be one huge club they'd have to wield if they wanted to, and I don't think it's paranoid or conspiracist to suspect that they would: I mean, evidence simply does bear that out.

.... um, yeah, where was I.

Oh. Holding on to your citizenship. Talismanic. Right. So, to me it is perfectly understandable that you hold onto it. (Though it would also be perfectly understandable if you were to say you were shedding it. But is CS also a US citizen?)

Make it look as simple as a liar's promise
Until it becomes as complicated as a liar's explanation.


That is excellent.
barry_king
Sep. 7th, 2012 05:40 pm (UTC)
It's become that sort of Talisman that you use as a paperweight. Odd thing, really, since I wasn't born in the U.S., the laws in Greece stated that I should perform mandatory service when I turned 18, and I wouldn't be safe until after 30, or so I was told. So my dad took me and my mother on a month-long vacation in Greece. We did a tour of Athens and toured the Peloponnesos from Corinth down, spending a good time living like Greeks in Poros, which is a very wild island, not changed much in years. Wandering the goat-tracks, coming across old shrines half-swallowed by woods. And the sea. I guess Japan is similar, being so focused on the Ocean, but the impression I got was that Greece faces the sea in all things, with a sly, good-hearted jocularity and a sense of accomplishment.

But that was a while ago. I'm a subject, too, now. I've only made a vow ever to two women, I chuckle, and one of them I haven't even met...

Thanks on the poem. I've felt for a very long time that if Americans quit trying to make everything simple, things would be simpler. But no. Hammer and nail, as always, and the Republicans are worse, but not that much worse then the Democrats.

Still, I do like this language of compromise.

"We all speak well of a bridge
That carries us over; over safe."
asakiyume
Sep. 7th, 2012 05:50 pm (UTC)
Wow, synchronicity. I was just saying to my father how bridge building--actual, real bridge building--is always so inspiring (he'd been talking about a book about building the Brooklyn Bridge).

I took a picture of a beautiful bridge. I will post it later.

I loved what you wrote about Poros, but I don't understand the "So" connector. How did your dad's taking you on this trip have a bearing on a possible requirement for military service?
barry_king
Sep. 7th, 2012 05:56 pm (UTC)
No, sorry. Labo, they used to call me in school in the Phils, which means "murky, stormy, unclear". ;)

He wanted to be sure I understood Greece and could appreciate it, so he took me when I was... sixteen, I think. Never got to Delphi or Euboea, so the stuff in Pythia, I had to construct from maps and photos.

Oh, and to answer your other question, CS's not a US citizen. She lived on a green card for ten years. Technically, you're supposed to give them up when you leave. So she went to do the legal thing. It was a nightmare. She actually had to go to Toronto to Customs in Pearson airport and sign a waiver that she was giving it up of her own volition. Whenever she goes into the country, she needs to keep the piece of paper in her passport that signifies that she gave it up. The paper is identical to the one they give you when your green card is CONFISCATED. It's assumed that you will break the law and keep it, which gives them cause to deport you at any time if you return. That's how screwed up things are in the immigration-works in the U.S.: they don't even have the process for enforcing their own laws, and they don't want to!
asakiyume
Sep. 7th, 2012 08:44 pm (UTC)
The US government can't **conceive** of the fact that someone might give up their Green Card. What?? You don't want to stay in our country when we've said you can??? Are you CRAZY?????????

(And now I understand about Greece--thanks!)
barry_king
Sep. 8th, 2012 11:06 am (UTC)
Well, there's actually a very small percentage of people who don't take citizenship when they get the opportunity. I think they assume these people are cranks. With some justification.

But from crank to criminal... Well, let's just say that INS attracts a pretty anti-immigrant crowd. Which puts the lie to the "S".
barry_king
Sep. 7th, 2012 06:01 pm (UTC)
Ah; couldn't find a better version; Here's Clannad's bridge song. It's about peace between two individuals, but, by extension, about finding a way out of the conflicts during which it was written.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gObl40QPZvk
asakiyume
Sep. 7th, 2012 08:42 pm (UTC)
Oh for F's sake, the whole damn comment just disappeared when I was maneuvering around my blanking computer.

Well, what I said was, I think the song is lovely. I've heard a few other things from the band thanks to Thistle & Shamrock.

And then, while thinking about how I do like bridges--actual and metaphorical--I got to thinking about how sometimes I just like breaking stuff and seeing it broken. I love bridges, but sometimes I like them swept away. ... I'm not trying to say anything deep, just that I have these contradictory emotions. ... I want to capture that ambivalence in my character K, the desire to do what's sensible and at the same time the furiousness that leads you to throw away compromise and acquiescence. I think too often in stories the latter is romanticized, and that's not what I want to do. I want to show it as a path that takes a real toll. I want to show its attractiveness but not make it the right choice.

Or maybe make it the inevitable short-term choice, but definitely not the long-term choice.


barry_king
Sep. 8th, 2012 11:22 am (UTC)
True. It's also a comfort knowing that some bridges can simply be burnt. I suppose you can see that also as the early "confidence-building" stage in a diplomatic negotiation. Eventually, though, enough commerce and intermarriage happens over the bridge that it becomes impractical to burn down.

And then there's bridges like the Sokolovic Bridge over the Drina in Višegrad, where the fact that they are known for symbolizing the joining of two peoples is exactly why they are used as a staging area to deny that connection and to drive two people apart. The bridge becomes something more like a vector for one side to attack the other. In abusive relationships, the private symbols of the couple are used to hurt each other, the things that once drew them together.

So who is K, and where does K fit into all this?
asakiyume
Sep. 8th, 2012 01:57 pm (UTC)
K is one of the two pen pals in the pen pal novel, the novel I'm working on now. I'm afraid to say much about her role in her story because it's a grandiose, big thing that I'm wanting to do, and I'm sure it's a matter of having bitten off more than I can chew, but I DON'T CARE. I have to write it anyway.

But: She's a privileged member of a minority group that's discriminated against in her country, and her country is a developing country far away (not a real country; a made-up country, though the story's set in our present. Our present, but with a hypothetical additional country in it).
barry_king
Sep. 8th, 2012 11:38 am (UTC)
I used to listen to Clannad more. Then Capercaillie kind of displaced them in my heart: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyxOh6MO0dI
asakiyume
Sep. 8th, 2012 01:52 pm (UTC)
Ha! I have a song by Capercaillie in my playlist too, a version of "I will set my ship in order" (but this that you've linked to is more stirring--I like it a lot).
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )