Can’t Cancel Chandler, Can Chandler Cancel Me?
It was 11:42 PM and I was reading a short story by Ray Bradbury called There Will Come Soft Rains.
Feeling immobilized and devoid of creativity for fear of its destruction upon exposure to the world I stood, in my mind at least, on the edge. Its still not clear what is beyond that edge because I have a dear friend named Chandler.
I love Chandler which poses more questions than answers.
It seems only a decade ago this would not have been the case.
It seems only five years ago this would not have been the case.
I have a dear friend named Chandler. Chandler loves me and I love Chandler dearly. It's that perfect type of friendship that finds you and saves you when you need it most. It's the type of friendship that you know is remarkable the instant it materializes. It's not something you only recognize as amazing in hindsight. Although hindsight, like an aged bourbon, adds to the richness. If bourbon doesn't do it for you supplant a good wine perhaps. Anyways...
For many years in my most desperate moments I have reached out to Chandler. An email here, a text message there, all vague in nature.
I was alone.
And in my most lonely moments it was Chandler whose presence occupied my mind. It's strange how some things are so consistently the same while other things change without our consent. Equally strange is how we divide change into different categories. Assuming, perhaps erroneously, that change is progress and inevitable.
I say all this to say that 2012 is not 2021.
We know this. Chandler knows it. I know it.
I’ve been breaking it would seem. Breaking in several directions. Its not so easy to take a side. Shit is so fractured and fractious it’s enough to immobilize anyone who tries to see how all the pieces fit.
Yet I wonder if Chandler would still love me if Chandler knew the things that I knew.
Chandler senses when I'm in need even though we haven't seen each other in years.
I stood on an emotional cliff all but prepared to jump. I didn’t though. Chandler called me at 12:54 AM and saved my life.
I hung my head and felt the tension melt away at the sound of Chandler's voice on speakerphone as Chandler told me I was special and powerful. Together we shared the memory of someone special and powerful and talked of a past that’s more than just the past.
Would Chandler understand my grief over the past being the past?
Would Chandler still love me the way I love Chandler if I told Chandler it did not have to be this way?
We spoke, me and Chandler, of a party in Long Beach CA in 1990. Sublime was the band playing and Gwen and a fledgling band called No Doubt were dipping their toes in the competitive waters. But she had a voice that should have been heard by anyone with a will to live for the sake of living.
The truth is her voice vibed with nature. Sometimes I listened simply awestruck, wondering how somebody could produce something with their body that sounded so profoundly beautiful.
We spoke of her beautiful voice and the power she carried with her wherever she went. She was the love of Chandler's life and to me she was like a magnet. She drew me into her world to see it for what it was and there was a cost well worth paying for the experience, which lives on as I type.
I'm not sure if Chandler watches the news. I know Chandler says Chandler doesn't judge anybody and I want to believe that. I get a little bit of slack you see because I suffered an incredibly serious vaccine injury. As a result I'm not instantly considered a card carrying constituent of that group of ignorant antivaccination disruptor's we all too often hear about.
I expressed my concerns about the vaccine and Chandler did not judge me, but we really didn't even scratch the surface.
If fate should have Chandler in my presence in the next two weeks as we tour rural Connecticut and my childhood neighborhood perhaps, I can find out the answers to some of these most important questions. Because the question: would Chandler still love me takes on so much responsibility.
In 2012 our spirits connected instantaneously one afternoon in June. By October we were temporarily roommates under the most interesting of circumstances. Chandler was afraid and I was afraid but together we were the best of friends.
We could have been alone but instead we were together in a fusion of intellect and unequivocal love. I still drive by that house on Garnett St and remember our many late-night talks. Together everything was alright. What could possibly be worth risking such precious comfort and safety?
Alas Chandler had been here for her and not for me. Of course, that is not to say that Chandler does not see our lives colliding as a cosmic gift. But when she did what we inevitably knew she would do the dye had been cast.
Despite of melding of minds during mutually anxious times it didn't make sense when things didn't work out between Chandler and her for Chandler to stay in a strange city where Chandler had no roots.
It was an unusually warm evening even for Austin on that first day of November when I helped Chandler pack the car.
Chandler was afraid, and I was afraid, but now we were to be apart and afraid separately.
I knew that Chandler had the tools to succeed whereas I always seemed to be falling short. I couldn't breathe when Chandler closed the trunk. It was as if I was severed from the natural world with that sound. To this day the sound of a closing car trunk produces a lump in my throat. Severance. Finality. The sun starting to go down and after Chandler left I stood in the empty driveway feeling perhaps more lost than ever. A space once a refuge from the wilderness of the lost and the wicked now stood empty and quiet and it was getting dark. I did not cry. But I needed to.
I wonder if Chandler would love me after the conversation the way Chandler loves me now. I love Chandler regardless and I suspect Chandler would love me still, but in this state of affairs there's no way I can say so for sure.
Chandler said that Chandler would get the vaccine if it meant not getting sick and would get every booster shot too. Chandler didn't know it as we spoke in the small hours of the morning, but I shed a tear because I wanted to say so much about the reality of what's going on.
But then what would Chandler think of me? Chandler said, in a sincere effort to comfort me, that we simply have to trust the science and thank goodness after all that we have such smart scientists working on our behalf. I listened.
I love Chandler and Chandler unconditionally loves me. But what does unconditionally mean? Would Chandler still love me the way I love Chandler if I expressed to Chandler that the narrative is a trick, and I can prove it?
Would Chandler still love me the way I love Chandler if I told Chandler that through the new economy, they're going to make us all digital slaves? Would Chandler understand that saying these things out loud is difficult for me and I wouldn't do so if I didn't have to and if I wasn't sure?
Would Chandler still love me the way I love Chandler if I said that the social movements that are publicized as progress and as movements striving for justice are actually the exact opposite? That the individuals behind them are predatory, malignant, and interested in power first, followed by profit.
Would Chandler love me the way I love Chandler if I told Chandler that all of the social welfare programs being designed to help the poor are actually classist, racist, and governed by artificial intelligence designed to create a digital plantation upon which we will all live?
Would Chandler think I was mentally ill for saying these things which I can prove so easily?
Would Chandler still love me the way I love Chandler if Chandler heard me questioning these things?
Would Chandler assume that I am an anti-vaxxer? A white supremacist? Would my 15 years of work with youth in the community be for naught all in an instant?
Would Chandler assume I voted for somebody even though I don't vote?
Would Chandler cancel our friendship?
Would I find out once and for all the answer to a question I have had for some time now: are friendships that are so powerful they feel like a cosmic bond still ultimately cancelable?
The date is March 29th, 2021 and it's just past 7:00 PM. I venture to say that there is nothing safe from cancellation.
It seems reasonable to conclude that ultimately people like me will be cancelled.
Would Chandler come to my aid during my darkest hour?
Would Chandler be brave enough to withstand the onslaught of the woke mob, knowing that I am a pragmatist at heart and wouldn’t make assertions I couldn’t substantiate?
Could I blame Chandler for looking out for number one and leaving me to the wolves?
We both agreed that there's a sense of unreality, yet we did not discuss its finest features from our individual perspectives. That is to say we didn't discuss a mutually agreed upon definition or description of what makes our current state of affairs seem so surreal.
Perhaps there were some assumptions made on both sides.
Perhaps we both held back a little simply to protect that cosmic bond whose strength is but a veneer underneath which the tenuous chords of friendship are the weakest they've ever been.
Would Chandler agree with me and stand with me to strengthen the bond that saved me more than once? I believe I need to hang on to Chandler and so I lie by omission. But how much longer can I do so?
Chandler should be the exact type of person who would be at my side encouraging me and those like me to step out of the shadows and enter the public square for true and real debate.
Would Chanlder see that what's at stake is everything that makes being human worth being human?
All of creation stands at the edge beside me. We've been corralled here over time and I wish I could tell Chanlder that we're actually standing here side-by-side.
Chandler would you understand if I told you fine art and music and tik tok superstars being cancelled is not the real threat? There's endless cancellations and endless reasons why.
All I know is I can't cancel Chandler; can Chandler cancel me? I truly hope not.