Lost & Found – My Best Friends Are All Subversives

They don’t like the sound of gunfire in the streets, the staccato echoes of shattering glass. Their faces are not bright with triumph in the light from burning buildings. They own no megaphones, and keep no prisoners in windowless basements. But none of this makes them any less dangerous.

The upheaval these people instigate comes on small, soft feet. It is quiet as a dream of rain falling from a bamboo roof, the yawning of a cat on a stretch of sunlit carpet. When the new regime they work for finally arrives, it will be announced by mimes wearing fluffy slippers, by mermaids playing underwater cellos.

Like any good change in the status quo, the insurrection will begin with a conspiracy. Already, you can sense the secrets being passed back and forth–a cryptic, shared smile between two old lovers; a scrap of unfinished, handwritten verse left between the pages of a crumbling library book; a few notes of a half-remembered love song heard on the radio of a passing car.

My trouble-making friends, my daydreaming insurrectionists, are gathering in nurseries and greenhouses. They are congregating in art galleries and church basements. They are coming together at the bedsides of friends and family who need to feel the touch of their hands.

These desperate revolutionaries, these friends of mine, have disguised their combat fatigues as blue jeans and co-op radio T-shirts, nurses? uniforms and flower-print dresses. They are putting their demands in the form of lullabies and sonnets and hymns. They are writing subversive haikus and creating origami manifestos. In preparation for the coming siege, they are stocking up on canned peaches and hording gardening almanacs. They are collecting rainwater in barrels, and memorizing romantic poetry to help them through the long, dark nights of the reconstruction.

Many of them are not especially good in a crisis. They have no fake passports, no cache of weapons. They don’t know how to wire a suicide vest, or interrogate a mole. But they can change a baby’s diaper and dial a telephone at the same time. They can grow tomatoes in so-so soil, and one of them can do a pretty mean cartwheel. They can carry a tune and get a mean-eyed two-year-old to laugh. They can tell a dirty joke and bake banana bread. They can tell the difference between love and hate, between truth and lies, which is what makes them so very dangerous, I suppose.