i’m sorry, mate

by abrit

I’ve actually always been quite adverse to the sound of balloons popping. It’s a noise that scared me as a child. On this day though, the crowd was going wild with every wig thrown and body slammed. Something about the setting – or the queen getting motorboated in the parking lot on her smoke break – finally made me slightly more at ease than usual, and I decided to let loose. So, for the next act, I wanted to make as much noise as possible. Only by the time I stepped on the pink balloon, did I realise why I shouldn’t have. The people standing in my periphery all turned around suddenly, giving me a look I still do not completely recognise. It was a sort of bewildered, instinctual fear. The employee sitting by the stage door shook her head.

“Not cool,” she said, in an almost bored voice, “not cool at all.”

I’ve only been in this country three weeks now, and in that time have already bore witness to hefty yet casual conversations on gun violence in this country; the girl telling me her shirt came after Uvale, talking to the moms at the white tent at Burlington pride, two boys discussing whether reform would work or not over me at the back of class. It feels almost like a teaser trailer for a film I have yet to even barely understand the plot of. I’ve actually yet to come face to face with a gun. Perhaps this is due to a different culture in Vermont, or that I habitually avert my eyes from the police when they appear. So amongst a night celebrating the lead up to pride, filled with glitter and feathers and succinct lip syncs, the bang of that balloon felt the closest thing to the shock of a gunshot that I can imagine. And I can’t even begin to imagine. So I want to apologise to those who were around me, who just wanted a night of celebration without fear. I’m reminded, when I am abroad, that I am a foreigner, and to respect local traditions and learn from them. Maybe tradition here has traumatised a generation of Americans. So please don’t let anyone make that your normal. And please don’t let some drunk British twink ruin your night, I just wanted to make some noise. 


A Brit

Categories: cooler, sept. 19, Vol 27

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