☆ → Ghost | Kyuu | The Small One
♫ → Counting Crows | Ellegarden | Green Day | Kajiura Yuki | Newton Faulkner | Orange Range | Rufus Wainwright| Siam Shade | Taku Iwasaki
♡ → Pugs | Stingrays | Watermelon | Writing |
アニメ → Angelic Layer | Bleach | Bubblegum Crisis | Cardcaptor Sakura | Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion | D.Gray-man | Fullmetal Alchemist | GetBackers | Heat Guy J | Neon Genesis Evangelion | Tokyo Babylon | Noir | Sprited Away | Mononoke | Mononoke Hime | Yami no Matsuei | Yuugiou
漫画 → Cardcaptor Sakura | D.Gray-man | Bleach | Death Note |
AIM: Exorcist Allen
Sat, 25 Jun 2016 13:13:21 GMT
I'm posting for record more than anything else these days, because the way I use journaling sites has altered drastically over the last five years or so, but I'm sort of returning to a point of reflection in a way I did several years back the morning after being kettled for the first time in White Hall during the 2011 student demos.
I've been anxious about this vote. Where I work, where I live, I wasn't scared: no-one I'd spoken to were voting Out. Not even my "liberal" conservative parents were voting Out (though I'm convinced the only reason they voted Remain was because of their property in Spain, which has been worth very little virtually since they invested in it almost 15 years ago.) I was definitely among friends--children of immigrants, partners of expats, people who felt European. But I'd said on several occasions, "I'm not worried about the London vote."
London was a clear Remain area to me. Sure, you'd get some foolish spatterings of disenfranchised workers who were being legitimately rammed by the state of the world and would rather blame it on the Polish workers than look closer to home for who was responsible, but I was secure in London and scared of the rest of the world.
I was scared of boroughs like the ones that house my hometown, who voted 63.16% Leave, that are far from urban spaces and multicultural communities. I was scared of the men and women who my dad drinks with down the pub, who are scared of Sharia law and have never met a muslim in their life, let alone a British-born muslim. I was nervous of the communities where the government target young men and women whose education and work prospects are forfeit and instead recruit them into the army with nationalist sentiments polished up to sound like protection.
I voted on the way to work. I got up, left the house around 7:45am, went to the local school, saw a pug, voted, and on the way out heard a couple chatting where one said "Let's just say my voice will... REMAIN a secret," and then I got my train. It was pouring rain all day. I knew people were finding it hard to get into work and to polling stations. I got the last train before the hour-long delays and cancellations hit. I saw a couple of Remain folks handing out stickers and I made literal grabby hands for one. I wore it all day at work. No-one commented on it.
I chatted to my boss, who was sad because his mother had disappointed him for the first time in nearly 30 years. My boss' family on his grand mother's side is Italian, his grandmother slaved over textiles when she moved to the UK over 50 years ago. His father still has an Italian passport. My manager's mother told him on the phone a few days before the referendum, that she didn't want to discuss politics and that they "should LEAVE it at that." My manager said he was convinced, like so many others, by the claim that money that would otherwise go to the EU would be ploughed back into the NHS, which is the service his mother works for. He believes she voted because she wanted to see the NHS restored to what it was 30 or 40 years ago.
I got a lift home with a coworker that night through the torrential rain, went food shopping in my work clothes still wearing my Remain sticker. No-one said a word and I kept thinking someone would because something in the air still felt very tense.
In the weeks building up, we'd have European students and parents asking what will happen if Britain leaves the EU. We said we didn't know, that the fees won't change immediately either way, and we would do our best to make sure that didn't happen.
I was confident in London, but in my bones I felt like we'd be leaving, because despite what people around me in the capital were saying, every media outsource was blaring LEAVE. I resigned myself to the thought this would happen, or that the outcome we got would be these numbers, but the other way around--a narrow margin for Remain, like Scotland. The final pollsters put Remain ahead 6 points. I was nervous, but I figured, by the skin of our teeth, it'd be okay.
I woke up at 4:30am yesterday morning--our dehumidifier was screaming because it was full. That was enough to make me check the results on my phone, and at 5am, after a lot of frantic scrolling and refreshing I said "52% Out. Jesus fuck." on plurk.
And as more results came in and closed the margin that Remain had to rush forward and block Leave, the worse it got. Skyler woke up at about 5:30am, rolled over, stretched, said good morning, then asked how it was going. When I told him, he just said "...fuck." We watched the value of the pound plummet. 10 years ago, I never dreamt I'd give a thundering fuck about the value of the pound, let alone watch its movement closely.
I put on the shirt we bought at Tokyo Pride a couple of years ago. I don't usually wear t-shirts to work, but it was the Friday before Pride, and went to work. I normally play pointless moe anime girl rhythm games on my phone on the train into work and make my arms rigid so the business man who invariably sits down beside me doesn't take up more space than he needs because I'm a smaller guy than he is--I keep my legs firm and my elbows out because he's got the aisle anyway and if he needs to air his nuts in his suit pants then he's got the whole gangway to do it and can damn well leave me to punch notes of high-pitched candy J-pop songs on my phone in peace, then feel like a momentary failure at life when I miss a note off the Full Combo.
I didn't play games on my phone during that commute--I was too busy reading the updates.
I posted on Facebook more times yesterday than I have in six months. I noted that a margin of difference between Leave and Remain was about 1 million votes and how I totally felt like punching about a million people. A coworker said "I'd better stay out of the Student Centre [where I work] today then" and then on his own timeline said he was pleased with the result, but wondered, as if he'd been asked a harmless riddle, how leaving the EU would effect European students who get Disabled Living Allowance. He works in our office that helps disabled students get to grips with equipment to help them access education to the fullest. A friend of his said "I am shocked that you are pleased with this result being in your educational role!" I Liked that comment, and didn't respond to any of his.
When I went into work my favourite co-worker, born in Canada, raised as much over there as here and is much British as she is Canadian, stepped around the corner of the office, saw me, and immediately run over to hug me as she burst into tears. I told her hugs would be on tap that day, that she could have as much time as she needed, whenever she needed, however she needed, to be sad. I decided I wasn't going to cry and instead be whatever him of support my coworkers, my friends, needed me to be.
I hugged my manager when he came in. We agreed not to talk about it, because he was clearly raw on so many levels. Of course, we talked about it all at length. And felt very raw about it.
I refreshed various media outlets while on the desk, saw the final count come in, saw Cameron announce he was stepping down as PM, and I began to feel the numbness become anger. I didn't want it to become despair. I juggled as many tasks as I could at work to keep my mind busy--dealt with two difficult students, chased two on-going voice queries, and answered e-mails in a kind of frenzy to leave no space in my brain.
I read about 16 and 17 year olds who were protesting the vote in Downing Street, saying they had never been given a voice. I believe strongly in giving votes at 16--you can join the army at 16, you should get a vote in the stakes of the country that's asking you to die for them at 16.
After work, I went to central. I wanted to feel the mood, to find the rage, to find a vibe that was energy and not numb defeat. I found tourists taking selfies and the Social Worker Party, the group that made protecting a rapist in their high ranks a more important mission than putting their party where their politics were supposed to be. I was offered a banner by a SWP member, I said "No, I want nothing to do with the SWP. Sorry." I shouldn't have apologised, even sarcastically.
I walked around White Hall and Parliament Square, then up Trafalgar Square to meet Skyler at Charing Cross. I didn't find the energy I wanted, but I didn't want to be at home.
Walking through Leicester Square, we saw two young men dressed all in black wearing masks--a gas mask and a white opera-style mask--down an alleyway to our right. They had metal baseball bats and were swinging and dragging them across the floor. I was really scared. When I'd see young folks on the streets in politically charged moments in the past, I felt safe--Black Block defend the people who they know can't or won't do it themselves and they'll fight off police with riot gear who make grabs for peaceful protesters.
But we couldn't tell what these young men were there for. Were they pro or anti-Brexit? Were they anti-gay?
I think the one closest to me realised that I was genuinely scared by his posturing, and maybe saw the shirt I was wearing, maybe put the pieces together that they'd been a massive attack on the LGBTQ community recently, and suddenly he took off his mask and with all smiles was like "No, no! It's for a YouTube video! It's for YouTube!!"
The guy in the gasmask didn't take his off. Skyler stared them down and told them "It's not funny, not today."
I was still really scared.
We went to Soho, to a burger place near the Admiral Duncan on Old Compton Street. We picked that burger branch over the one in Covent Garden--I wanted to be around family. It seemed like the place to be. We ate our feelings, got bubble tea, Cinnabon, and eventually went home.
I said this was this view from the platform at Lewisham station by that finally broke me, and I stared to feel the sadness set in:
I cried for about three minutes several hours later when I first tried to sleep. I couldn't. I got up, paced around the kitchen with my hands in my hair and couldn't settle down. Eventually, after a 22 hour day, I slept.
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