Upsetting the Order

Countries like Israel, Ireland, Spain, South Africa, Yugoslavia - had been exposed to western culture for years, making their middle class urban kids practically indistinguishable from their American peers on culture level. Yet the middle classes in those countries were relatively small, and majority of the people lived and still lives in the Third World conditions there.

Countries like South Africa, Spain and Yugoslavia, where minority ruled (white racial minority in South Africa, Frankistas in Spain and communist political minority in Yugoslavia), were always able to create heaven for that minority. Kids born into the ruling minority caste didn't have to worry about anything: their paths have been charted by their caring parents. They were set for life. If they wished so. The privileged dissenters, however, were not thrown in prisons (as they would be if they belonged to the oppressed majority): they were just marginalized. Here they'd be called eccentric. The really depressing part is when you realize that you can't change anything, you can't do anything and nobody wants you to do anything. Just chill out. Take your drugs and for Christ's sake don't do anything.

Then you leave. But what can you do? How can you live anywhere else? You are not used to work because you have to, but because you like to. All your life you craved to work, to do something, you have so many ideas. But in the real world they don't need your ideas. They need you to sit in their cubicle and do the data entry for them. And you were never exposed to such work: you were never supposed to know that such work exists. Scared, yet? I've seen so many daughters and particularly sons of former Yugoslav oligarchy - openly scared by simple manual labor tasks they were presented with in the West they adored so much for years as members of protected minority. I was never scared of physical work. I actually enjoy it. But I never had to work. I always worked because I liked to work: that means, I could stop whenever I pleased, and do things whenever I wanted, on my terms. Being a slave is a totally strange feeling for me: the fact that I have to do something, because I need to pay rent or utility bill or buy food.

It is really difficult for me to return to myself. I was able to pull 16-hours days when I was 21. When most of the kids spent days enjoying life, I was proving to myself that I can make money and that I can change things with my journalism and radio shows. Until the big brother state didn't come down on me, like, hold your horses, son, slow down. They didn't know how to use my energy. They didn't want my energy. And they froze my ass. For the rest of the years I spent in Yugoslavia, I basically sunk deeper and deeper in cozy lethargy. My early earned dissident laurels brought with them that eerie feeling that people are whispering about you when you pass by. I still wrote sometimes. But I took it easy, picking up on fun things I didn't give myself time to do earlier in my life.

Then I came to the U.S. I was already changed. And as years passed, years where I would have to work, because I had to, yet I didn't, because I couldn't, because I never learned, and I couldn't get off the slacker mood I put myself in to survive, I became an underground cartoon character of the comic book that I always had in mind. There is absolutely no future in my life, and I seem completely content with that. I made peace with myself. In next 20 months I am going to run out of credit (with current rate of spending and with current level of income), and then I would have to do something. But I don't want to bother my nirvana with those thoughts now, would you?

In the process I became a cynic, a hermit, a misanthrope and a narcissist: I see people as they are, and they are basically a very disgusting species that makes rats look like saints; and I hate to think of myself as a human being. I shut myself from the world in a little cottage in Montana of my mind and I live there enjoying myself and despising everybody else. Particularly nasty I can be to my closest peers and pals who made it back to the world. I know how to hurt them, because I know very well what they feel, and because I was hurt so many times, I know where it hurts the most. Yet, I don't feel the pain myself any more. Actually, I revel in pain. " It is the only thing that's real. It is the only thing that makes me feel alive".