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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Metamorphosis of My Mind

Here is a blog post from a former soldier and I encourage all to read this post and he is looking for opinions on what he wrote... so please read.

You can leave comments below..... you can also leave comments on Jeffs facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002320345165)

In the 17th century, Rene Descartes said that if one travels enough, one will become a foreigner in one’s own land. This feeling, the feeling whereby the familiar becomes strange, and the strange becomes familiar, is part of Descartes’ famous doubting process. This doubting process then became what was part of the basis of the Enlightenment, a period of profound optimism that allowed people to rationalize their own existence apart from their own being or essence. Ironically it is this same doubt, inverted in a new and unfathomable way which is now working through the minds and hearts of the much later, and cynical Generation X—my generation. This is doubting, that works to create a profound sense of rationalizing a disillusionment towards one’s own culture, and even within oneself, despite the fact that one still intimately maintains and loves and participates within the very essence of that culture. Allow me to illuminate my observation.
In November of 2010, I left for my third volunteer humanitarian aid trip to Cameroon, Africa. Accompanying me on this trip were two good friends: Brent, a curious man and uncanny candidate for humanitarian work in Africa, whom I met while in a university Introduction to Philosophy course, and Jon, an army buddy of mine, who served with me in such places as the high Canadian Arctic and Afghanistan. During our first week in Cameroon, we summited Mount Cameroon, one of Africa's largest mountains and an active volcano, rising 13,255 ft. above sea level on the west coast of Cameroon. We then descended the mountain on the western slope, past giant active volcano craters, grassland savannah, and into one of the oldest, thickest jungles in the world. In this environment, there are wild elephants, chimpanzees, and a variety of life unparalleled by most environments on the planet.  Within this world, we became alive. The constant stimulus of an austere alien environment forced us to reach within our bodies, and pull out a strength that I have not had to call upon since Jon and I were in the military together.
This life, the life grittily lived within the ever-sought-after existential now, is one in which a small group of nobodies like ourselves are able to negotiate, and assist in helping 37,000 people attain their goal of having clean water, and a better vision of their own future. It is a life where one person may actually make a visible positive difference in another human being’s existence. It is also a life where one bears witness to mind-bending poverty and human hardship on a scale unimaginable to most people in the west. Nonetheless the work is immensely satisfying and self-empowering. Many people, who experience these ranges of emotions that life has to offer, and who choose to accept, become “addicts” of a sort. The individual then begins to straddle two existences, yet never truly feels as if he belongs to either.
I arrived back in Canada a month later to a snow blanketed environment which is much different than the tropical rainforest in which I had spent the last month. That evening I decided to go for a walk. The house windows along the streets glow with the iridescent light of televisions. I peer into windows from the street. One home is watching hockey, another a reality show, one is playing the video game Rock Band, and yet another is watching what is clearly pay per view pornography. I chuckle to myself, while at the same time I am being overwhelmed by a sinking feeling of shame. I start to stare off into space, thinking to myself “so this is the pinnacle of western civilization? This is what I worked, and fought for? Is this what I am supposed to look forward and aspire to? How does one relate to them? And why would I care to anyhow?”
I decide it is best to distract myself with a part time job. Last year I worked a few shifts a week over the Christmas season at a local fine dining establishment. I didn’t really enjoy the work, but the money was descent, and if I am not making money, I am usually spending money. I decide to ask for the job and the owner of the establishment is pleased to have me back. He tells me that I am “good cougar bait,” and that my job is to serve drinks and talk to the patrons about wine.
On the television set in the restaurant is Don Cherry. He is standing in an arena, talking to his followers about heroism and leadership. I can’t help but be drawn towards this absurd figure, stuffed into  a multi-coloured floral patterned suit speaking with a theatrical blue collared accent while espousing some skewed form of hockey wisdom to his faithful when he all of a sudden introduces a Canadian soldier in a wheel chair. This was once an obviously strong and proud soldier who was critically wounded in Afghanistan by an IED strike but is now an emaciated figure unable to walk; he is being wheeled across a carpet laid out on the ice to a standing ovation by the crowd. His skin is pale, and his eyes are deep-set and dark. He looks overwhelmed and out of place in this setting. I feel a sense of rage boiling within my chest. I am sickened at this display as I believe this act is more about appealing to a target audience than any actual therapeutic purpose for this young man, as he looks too astounded to be in this situation. Of course some may disagree with my analysis, but I have to turn my head and look away. I see overweight people fixated on the television eating bar mix. They seem emotionless, that is, until the game begins and their team gets scored on.
Seeing that it is December, there are many Christmas parties. I go into work, dressed up in a pair of black dress pants, a white dress shirt, black Italian leather shoes, and one of my designer ties. We serve 100 people a 16 ounce prime rib dinner or vegetarian alternative. I then walk around watching people eat, drink and be merry. A table full of women ask me what type of wine I would recommend to go with their prime rib dinner. “The most expensive,” I suggest, to a hardy response of laughter. “It’s just too easy,” I think.  The same jokes work at every table. I get the same type of people, the kind who pretend to know their wines yet awkwardly swirl their wine after already sniffing the bouquet and tasting it. I end up suggesting a bottle of Chianti knowing full well that the group would have been impressed by anything I suggest, but since I myself enjoy a nice bottle of Chianti with a serving of red meat, I know that I have served these patrons well. But I don’t care. I stand near their table, smiling with a heart full of contempt. I watch as the people fill their faces with food, and talk about trivial matters. One exceptionally thin woman gets up to use the bathroom as soon as she finishes her desert. “I bet she is going to purge,” I think to myself. I clear their dishes; some people eat everything, others just pick at their meals. I have a sinking feeling, the type of feeling one gets when they are first disillusioned by a childhood hero or favourite rock band that puts out a really bad album. I have to leave the dining room. I go into the back to sneak a drink of wine from a strategically placed coffee cup without anyone watching in order to make the evening more bearable. There I see a garbage can full of wasted prime rib.
At the site of so much wasted food, my mind takes me back three weeks ago to when Jon and I are walking 15kms through thick mountain jungle to a small village called Endunbin, of about 500 people. We have been in Cameroon for a few weeks now. During these trips, we normally eat what the locals eat, but this time we have two boxes of Kraft Dinner with us. On long austere trips such as this, it is good for morale to have a treat midway through the trip a reminder of the luxuries of home, and tonight is our night for such a thing. All day we are thrilled at this fact, and we are excitedly talking about how great the macaroni and cheese will be to eat that evening.
We arrive in the village and inspect an incomplete school structure. We then drink the usual two beers with the local men, “one for the friendship, the second to balance out the first beer” as the locals say, and after the official dealings we decide that now is the time to eat. We ask the mother of the home (a mud hut we are staying in) if she could prepare a fire and boil some water for us so that we may cook our bounty. She offers to cook for us but we decline the offer, and as we are sitting near the hearth, on a dirt floor, preparing our dinner with great excitement, five starving children gather around the hearth with us. Their brown luminous and innocent yet sad eyes curiously watch us as we drain the water from the pot, tear open the pouch of cheese powder, and mix the instant cheese powder with the noodles. Within the culture we are visiting, children eat only after the adults have eaten, and if there is any food left. Their malnourished bellies which protrude out from under their tattered clothes suggest that these times are rather stark.
In a rather intimate moment, one in which Jon and I did not even need to verbally communicate, we finish preparing the  macaroni and cheese and pass it over to the children, who without taking their eyes off us, eat the entire pot of food in less than two minutes. We all sit quietly for a few minutes, staring at each other from around the fire while Jon and I share a cigarette. Being in a rainforest, the fire wood never truly dries out, and the smoke has a musty smell, one that is not really pleasant unlike the camp fires back home as its smell is reminiscent of mildew. Without saying a word, Jon and I excuse ourselves from the hearth, open a beer, and go to our sleeping bags. We sit there, dumbfounded, sipping our beer. Jon flicks a beer cap at me, I give him the middle finger, and when the beer is finished, we go to sleep.
I sip my wine from a coffee mug while staring at the mountain of wasted food. One of the waitresses, Sarah, comes into the back and tells me she is going outside for a cigarette; she says I can help myself to the left-over cheesecake if I like, but I am not in the mood. I want to tell her about my experiences, I want to make jokes about the wasted food, or the ridiculous patrons, and the sheer absurdity of the situation I have found myself in, but I cannot. I just nod my head and laugh. “Why bother?” I ask myself. “There is no point to any of this anyway.” I finish my cup of wine, and then another, before going back out to talk with the patrons.
After work, I get invited to an after-hour’s party. I make my way with some coworkers to a local nightclub where I am ushered down a flight of stairs into a grimy room to meet some coked-out, undesirable people. The floor is sticky, and the room smells like body odour. I meet a mean looking tattooed bouncer. His eyes are glazed and his arms are crossed in a defiant, closed off manner. I am introduced as “Jeff, the sexy new waiter at the restaurant who is also a war veteran.” “Great,” I think to myself. The mean looking bouncer extends his hand to shake mine and gives me a quick “That’s cool. Thanks man.” His words seem as empty as his eyes. He offers me a cigarette, which I decline. I sit down and have a glass of some kind of turned red wine. The bottle was covered in a layer of fine dust. I cannot bring myself to converse with people. I just sit and stare. The pitted hollowness of shame and disillusionment returns. I turn numb to my surroundings, and I start to daydream.
My mind takes me back to Afghanistan. I am with a man for whom I have great respect named Kevin, a veteran soldier who has served multiple tours in the Balkan’s, and now finds himself the crew commander of our three person 8 wheeled armoured ambulance called a Bison Ambulance. We are sitting in the back of our ambulance while waiting with a convoy of vehicles at Kabul International Airport (KIA) for some newly arriving Canadian soldiers to bring back with us to the Canadian base in Kabul called Camp Julian. We have been in this dusty country for about three weeks and are now not only acclimatized to the altitude, but have been feeling our way around Kabul on small party tasking’s and patrols.
Kevin is an obstinate follower of the army saying “when in doubt, rack out,” a saying that basically means sleep when you have nothing to do. He is stretched out across one of the olive green canvas stretchers in the back of the ambulance. I am sitting across from Kevin on another stretcher, sipping on a Red Bull while listening to the group of about 8 soldiers outside our vehicle talk shop, tell jokes, and basically do what is known in the military as “gaggle-fucking.”
Suddenly, a large explosion about 2kms to our rear rocks the air. Kevin sits up, and we make eye contact. At that moment, the very moment we make eye contact, we both inadvertently have the stark realization thatthis game is for real now. I pop out of my turret and see a large mushroom shaped plume of grey smoke rising about 50 meters into the air on the other side of the KIA blast proof barriers. All the radios are abuzz with chatter for about 30 seconds, and then there is a quiet stillness in the air. My friend Troy, the driver of my ambulance, walks up to me and says “HQ said there were no controlled explosions in the area, so that was an IED strike at something.” I go back into my ambulance to tell Kevin, who is already back in his comfortable position on the stretcher, arms behind his head, and his usual cool and calm yet cheeky “whatever man” look on his face. Kevin then lights up a cigarette, I finish my Red Bull, and we carry on with our day.
My thoughts are interrupted and I am snapped back to the present when a rather large blonde woman, wearing clothes that are far too tight for her sits next to me. She is wearing fishnet stockings, and her flesh is bulging out from between the netting. She starts asking me about my romantic availability. I tell her I have a girlfriend, excuse myself and leave. I walk outside into the crisp winter air, take a deep breath and sigh. It is nearly 3am so I get into my car, drive home, and go to bed. Tomorrow I have a dinner date with my girlfriend, so I’ll need to be well rested.
While I am lying in bed, I start thinking about a conversation I had at a dinner with some upper class Cameroonian friends of mine. I told these friends that on my last trip, a man that I had befriended on previous trips to the small jungle community where he lives offered me one of his daughters as a wife. My hosts, who were educated in the west, understand fully well, that obviously, even if I wanted to accept his proposition, such an arrangement would be considered immoral, and completely shallow in my fishnet wearing coked-out society. “Did you accept?” My hostess, a very astute and intelligent woman jokes. “Well of course I cannot accept,” I respond. “Then you insulted the man and his family by not accepting his most generous offer of friendship. This was his way of inviting you into hisfamily.” She replied instantly as if on cue. “Well of course I understand that.” I say, “But you have lived in the West, you understand fully well why I cannot accept such an offer.” “Ah yes, the West.” She replies. “The land where people must meet, instantly fall in love and live happily ever after. Tell me Mr. Jeff, does this not seem shallower to you than to get married first with a reason or function in mind?” “Reason or function?” I question, knowing full well that her question was meant for me to answer in such a manner so that she may have the opportunity to better explain her culture’s rationale. “Yes Mr. Jeff, you know where I am going with this, so do not play dumb.” She has a beautiful yet sharp way with words. She is able to drive home points with a humour and wit that would make George Carlin proud. “In our culture, a man and woman marry first out of practicality. It is not as oppressive as the west may suggest. The woman is married to a man that is best able to support her and their children. The couple have a common goal, and the love comes later, but it does come. I believe that in the west the reason why the divorce rate is so high is because people fall in love far too soon, with an unattainable mental fantasy of the individual who they are marrying, which is often based only on physical attributes alone, attributes which dissolve over a few years leaving no real foundation for the relationship.” “Is this true?” I think to myself. “Is that not an absurd overgeneralization of Western culture? Is she really suggesting that physical characteristics may be the main basis for my culture’s rationale for falling in love?  Who within my own society do I know who is this detached and shallow? Are my culture’s mating habits better represented by a bad Harlequin novel than by any sane reasoning process? For all our flaws, there must be some virtues?”
The next day I meet my girlfriend Sandra at a local restaurant for dinner. Sandra and I had started dating about three weeks before I left for Cameroon, and while I was in the jungle for a month, we were not able to communicate. Sandra is a thin and beautiful young woman with dark brown eyes. She is a waitress at another local restaurant, and has never travelled outside of Canada. Part of the reason I believe we started to date was because I am so well-travelled. I offered her a form of escape from the usual baseball cap and skidoo jacket wearing Northern Ontario men, who usually talk local politics and gossip while drinking flavourless beer. Or maybe it was because I liked the kilt she has to wear at work.
   As we sit down and have a glass of wine I start to tell her about my experiences in Cameroon, but feel as if I am not capable of truly articulating my time in a manner befitting of the experience. “You know,” I say, in a contemplative manner. “To be part of a group that is able to assist 37,000 people in one of the poorest regions of the world to get clean water is such a mind-altering event. I do not even know how to make sense of it.” Sandra is looking away from me, and I get the feeling she is not really listening, which is then confirmed when she says “Yeah, it must be. I know the manager here. He is friends with Chuck, the guy I almost started dating before I met you.” “Well, isn’t that charming?” I respond sarcastically.  She looks back at me annoyed. We are interrupted when a pimply teenage waiter walks up to our table and takes our order. Sandra orders a Caesar salad, and I order a Greek salad. I continue with the conversation, “You should have seen the water source for one particular area. About 500 people were getting their drinking water from a swamp that was contaminated with livestock runoff. It was so sad to see young children with no clean water.” “For the record, I am still friends with Chuck. He’s a nice guy.” She interjects. “I’m sure he is.” I say. The pitted feeling returns. “Oh and please make sure you come to my house on Christmas” she says. “My whole family will be there, and I want to introduce them to my new good looking and well-travelled boyfriend.” “Chuck is well travelled?” I answer. “Do you think he will mind if I am there with you?” She glares at me. Things are starting to look down.
The waiter returns to our table with our salads. In front of me he places a disgusting looking iceberg lettuce based Greek salad with sliced canned black olives, a slice of an orange-looking tomato, crumbled up feta cheese on top, and a dried-up unappetising piece of garlic toast on the side. Having just spent the majority of the last two weeks in Paris and Belgium eating great food as a way to unwind after a month in a Cameroonian jungle, my disillusionment becomes even more pronounced, and turns into anger. “What the hell is this?” I say, startled that any restaurant would serve this garbage as food. “What is your problem?” Asks Sandra. “What is my problem? Who the hell makes a $13.99 salad with iceberg lettuce and has the nerve to sell this in their restaurant?” I exclaim. “Keep your voice down, I know the manager here!” She replies in a loud whisper. “Oh yes, he is friends with your boyfriend.” I once again sarcastically reply. “Well Jeff maybe some of us like iceberg lettuce.” She goes onto say, countering my sarcasm with her escalating anger. “Oh yeah…I am back in Northern Ontario. I suppose that here it is acceptable to serve a salad with iceberg lettuce. You know most places that serve iceberg lettuce are calledMcDonalds, and even then it is not in their salads, it is placed on their equally bad burgers.” Sandra looks at me in a manner befitting of the sayingif looks could kill.
We ate the rest of our dinner in an annoyed- awkward silence. I now know without a shadow of a doubt that I am not going to be spending Christmas with her family. I will happily spend Christmas by myself… again. In fact sometime in the very near future, I realize that one of us will be dumping the other. It is merely a matter of time; so I decide that I must act first. Christmas is about three days away, so I figure that since her whole family is excited to meet me, she will not act before then. She wants to show off a little bit to her family. I am nothing more than an interesting accessory in her absurd little game, so I decide I will come up with the most absurd reason to break up with her before she gets the chance to dump me after Christmas. Some may think this is petty, but I really dislike iceberg lettuce.
I take Sandra home directly after dinner, and go home to lie down on my couch and look at my fish tank. I find that there are not too many things in life more soothing than the 20 gallon tank I have in my living room with four large goldfish in it, which are always swimming around in circles socializing with each other. I decided to buy this fish tank a few weeks after an experience I had in Afghanistan. I had been on a reconnaissance mission with a section of combat engineers for a few days in the mountains between Kabul and Kandahar. I am once again in the back of my Bison ambulance, in a position known as “rear sentry.” That is to say I am watching the rear of the convoy, in the rear vehicle. The lead vehicle is what is called a Nyala. This is essentially a large blast-proof jeep-like vehicle with combat engineer bomb disposal experts leading the way watching for booby traps with their well-trained eyes. The second vehicle is an infantry fighting vehicle known as a LAV III (light armour vehicle). It has a 25mm cannon turret, a light machine gun, and can hold an 8 man infantry section inside of its hull. 
Our mission is to clear these unknown routes of both purposely placed improvised explosives, and old Soviet landmines which surface inadvertently everywhere in the country. I have been in Afghanistan for about four months now, and I cannot even begin to count the amount of tonnes of ordinance that our 8 man section has removed and destroyed safely. Sometimes the landmines come from goat paths in the mountains, and other times from school yards in Kabul. It does not matterexplosives are everywhere in this country.

Finding landmines
During the Afghan-Soviet war which took place from 1979-1989, the Soviets left behind an estimated 10,000,000 landmines, not to mention millions of tonnes of left-over ordinance such as unexploded artillery shells, which I have even seen used as decorations when implanted into the mud bricks that make up the homes and walls around some of the communities of some people living in the mountains. The effects of these indiscriminate killers are evident all around us. There are people of all ages missing limbs, and people have had to alter their traditional lifestyles to cope with the sheer amount of ordinance in this country. Stones leading from houses to gardens are painted half white and half red. The white side of the rock indicates which side of the rock is safe to step, and the red indicates the side which has a landmine or explosive nearby. Some of the locals have been known to turn the rocks around, or move them altogether at our arrival, so we treat all areas as dangerous.
That morning I woke up to the sound of goats walking by our make-shift forward operating base somewhere on the side of a mountain. The night before had been a rather late night, so we all got about 4 hours sleep. Being a medic has its perk here; I did not have to do sentry duties that night, so the 4 hours of sleep I did get was a solid sleep. We got up, had some breakfast and coffee from our army rations and started our day. Some of the roads we have to patrol are not even roads, they are goat and camel paths following natural features up and down and all-over the mountains. Some paths are quite harrowing, especially when half of your body is poked out of your turret providing security for the convoy. You can look down the side of the sandstone layers of cliff you are on for probably 1000 ft. in some places, and at times there are piles of old Soviet tanks and armoured vehicles at the base. “What a miserable death,” I thought to myself during one such occasion. Nonetheless this dangerous countryside is one of the most beautiful sites I have ever seen, and I hold a deep affinity for it.  
Our convoy has been patrolling these mountain passes for a few hours now and the daytime heat is starting to kick in. We drive up over an especially high ridge and start the harrowing 800m or so descent down a steep incline. I am getting used to this, but something does not feel right. I am watching the rear of the vehicle as I usually do, but the speed of the vehicle feels a bit too fast for the angle we are descending. This is no fault of the driver; this is a very challenging environment.
The first two vehicles drive on the inside left hand curb of the road, my vehicle, because of its speed goes a little too close to the right. At the time I am not cognizant of the fact that the road suddenly collapses under the weight of our vehicle and we fall about 6 feet, as all I feel is a quick feeling of weightlessness followed by a hard impact of the armoured door against my body and a loud, audible crunch. I yell one loud terrified scream at the top of my lungs, but it feels as if I am hearing someone else scream. The vehicle bounces, and I am slammed against the ceiling of the ambulance before hitting the floor. Then all is still.
I look up; there is a stream of sunlight coming into the vehicle from the turret. Dust particles are floating and dancing in the light and all is peaceful. I then try to stand up and my legs give out from under me sending me crashing onto a stretcher. “Well,” I think to myself, “if I am going to be fucked up at least I am already in an ambulance.” I look around the ambulance, there is blood everywhere. I then look down at my legs, more blood. I yell into my head-set for Kevin, and hear “I’m coming Jeff!” Seconds turn into minutes, minutes to hours. Being a medic, I instinctively start assessing myself. “Head and neck, well, even if there is pain I don’t want to admit it so I’ll just move on, chest feels a little stiff, pelvis feels ok, both my arms are moving,” then I look down at my legs which are now red with blood. I reach for a pair of scissors and cut open my pants to look, to say “hamburger” is an understatement.  I feel dizzy; I reach for an oxygen mask, put it on, and turn on the air as Kevin comes into the back looking at me in a calm, reassuring yet startled manner. “I think both my legs may be broken Kevin, I am going to need a blanket splint, and a way to get the hell out of here.” “How about you just lie down and let me handle this one Jeff?” He replies as he starts assessing my injuries. An hour goes by, and I am fully packaged up, my legs are splinted, I have a hard plastic collar on, and a tourniquet, probably the worst experience of the ordeal, on my right leg.
I see a puff of red smoke outside the vehicle. A Blackhawk helicopter known as “dust-off” is approaching a make-shift landing zone that the engineers had to clear of ordinance while Kevin was splinting me up, and I start to fade in and out of consciousness.  After the helicopter rescued me, I was flown to emergency surgery in Kabul. Hence, I could not walk for about three months and spent my time smoking dope and watching my new goldfish, in their 20 gallon fish tank.
 As I watch my fish I ponder how exactly it is that I am going to break up with Sandra in a manner fitting of our dysfunctional relationship. “I need to practice my break-up skills,” I think to myself. “But how does one do such a thing without actually breaking up with someone?” Just then I noticed my Bell Canada phone bill stuck to my refrigerator with a magnet. “$70 for a phone I did not even use for the last month and a half? This is disgusting.” Perhaps the best way to practice my break-up skills can be accomplished by cancelling my phone bill? I have had a sick and abusive relationship with this phone company much longer than any meaningful relationship with most people I currently know in North Bay, so I decide this is how I will practice.
Without thinking too deeply about the subject, I call Bell Canada and get a customer service representative after navigating my way through a series of computer voices. “Hello Jeff, how may I help you today?” He asks with a feigned sincerity. “Hello, I don’t know how to say this in a nice way,” I answer “but I think it is time we stop seeing each other, here is my 30 days’ notice. I no longer want to be with you, Bell Canada.” There is an awkward silence on the other end of the phone before the representative answers “but Jeff you have been a Bell Canada customer for many years, how can we get you to stay?” “You can’t Bell, it’s over.” I reply. “But Jeff, you have been part of the Bell family for so many years, what has prompted you to make such a decision?” “Well Bell to be honest, it’s not me, it’s you. For many years now you have not been treating me very nicely, and now I am taking responsibility for myself. I can no longer enable you Bell to act in such an abusive and self-centered manner. I am better than this. You need help. I do not even know what kind of help you need, but you won’t get it from me.” Again there is a silence on the other end of the phone. “Jeff what if we offer you a reduction of $30 a month? The cost of your bill will now be only $40 a month,” the representative offers. “No Bell, it’s too late for sweet talking. You should have acted this nice long before it had to come to this, and we’re over.” “But Jeff, we meant to do that years ago, for some reason you must have been overlooked.” “Is that supposed to make it all better?” I reply. “Ok Jeff, we respect your decision. Have you by chance already picked up another service provider? Is it Rogers?” “Actually no, it’s far too soon for me to think about that, but even if I did it would be none of your business.” “I understand Jeff, would you like to retain the same phone number?” “No Bell, you keep it. It belongs to you; I could not in good faith keep that phone number and be true to myself.” I answer. “Ok Jeff, as you wish.”  I hang up the phone. There is a silence in my house, and I get a feeling of profound liberation. I have finally broken the abuse cycle with Bell, and I believe I now have all the experience I need to dump Sandra.
It therefore seems that despite the disillusionment that one may have with one’s culture, and even within oneself— the fact is, is that one still intimately maintains and participates within the very essence of their culture, no matter how far removed one may feel, and despite how absurd the circumstances may present.

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