So I woke up this fine morning. Walked my dog, showered, put on a cute outfit and took my pretty tail to the post-office to ship a friend some items she'd left at my place.
When I arrive at above mentioned post-office, box and items in hand, a guy walks away from the entrance looking irritated. "It's closed!" he shouts and bee-lines for his car.
A group of us all stand around looking puzzled for a moment. Closed? Why would the post office be closed? Today? It's a Monday for goodness sake! Everything else is open. Is it just this post office or all of the post offices? There doesn't seem to be any construction going on here.
So we're pondering these things when Irritated Guy mumbles under his breath "Christopher Columbus" before hopping into his car and speeding off.
Of course! Christopher mother-freaking Columbus strikes again. It's his day, so it seems fitting that he would screw us all.
My first thought was, Wait a minute... we actually observe Christopher Columbus Day in this country? I always considered Columbus Day a pseudo-holiday that's sorta kinda mentioned in school but everyone knows it's not a real thing. Kind of like Groundhog Day. We know it's not possible to "discover" a place that already has inhabitants just like we know a groundhog isn't thinking about it's shadow and can't effectively predict the weather. It's all a farce.
But no, the post-office was seriously shut down this morning as if Christopher Columbus wasn't a mass murdering thief who initiated the rape, torture, genocide and destruction of an entire indigenous culture, while calling himself the discoverer of something that he didn't actually discover in any sense of the word.
How is this still a thing, U.S. government? Please advise. This is all new to me. I've been working for "the man" since I graduated from college so I've never had a day outside of an office on Columbus Day and had no idea that there was anything to it. Now that I work for myself, I'm allowed to go outside anytime I want and learning that government employees are celebrating a holiday like Columbus Day is - to put it lightly - confusing as hell.
So tell me, U.S. Government... what does an adult (who has been given this day off) do in observance? Are U.S. employees coloring in pictures of Christopher Columbus? Are we researching him? Writing reports? What physical act can we, as a country, do to commemorate the true spirit of this man that doesn't devolve into us collectively reenacting The Purge?
And why are we so behind? Every man, woman and child knows that Columbus was...
#1 - Lost. Henceforth, his referring to - what we now call - the West Indies (where he actually landed. He never set foot on the mainland of the Americas) as India. Hell, the fact that we call it the West INDIES in the first place... le sigh. And Native Americans being referred to as "Indians". This is the biggest sign of how certain groups are allowed to be incompetent. In fact, we put their mistakes into a box, gift wrap it and celebrate it every year... but I digress.
#2 - We all know that he didn't discover America as there were already people here.
#3 - We know that there was murder, rape, torture and enslavement behind his "discovery," the ramifications of which, are still being felt today.
Meanwhile, many cities, counties and especially educators - instead of celebrating the farcical holiday - have chosen to observe Indigenous People's Day and are actually teaching their students something true (and helpful). It's crazy how far behind the federal government is in terms of following suit but... actually, no. It's not crazy. Doesn't surprise me at all.
In terms of celebrating Indigenous People's Day, though, I'd definitely like to get on that boat (no pun intended). So today, I'll take some time to do a bit of meditating and then go see a movie made by and starring indigenous people.
Elizabeth Boston is a filmmaker living and breathing in Los Angeles. She spends most of her time working on various film/TV/web projects but in her downtime she likes to offer up a few thoughts on the world.