Following After the Zebra

I was recently reminded of our tendency as humans to be followers and admirers. Many of us are leaders, yet, I myself included, are always looking to something else. For there is nothing new under the sun. It’s just the truth in every aspect of life, from what to eat, to how to tie a tie, to what to read, who to listen to, how to speak, etc. All of this is influenced from someone or something prior to.

There are differences though, between admiring and following. Following necessarily incurs only when the one following takes on the character and personality of that which he or she is following; the leader. Admiring is not mimicking, but more of a distant expression, a cheering on approach, a watchful satisfaction.

Take for example this. And I have tried to avoid writing about a recent occurrence, but I keep coming back to it. This past week Owen Wilson, among others, was filming a movie in Glenwood Park. This is the development just down the hill from my house in East Atlanta. My roommate and I use the dry-cleaners there. Several of my past housemates and many of my closest friends have worked in this neighborhood. They were filming in and around Drip, the coffee shop, formerly known as Perk. This is crazy. “Famous” people were sipping lattes where I’ve been a regular for almost four years now.

Apparently the movie will be released in 2011 as Hall Pass, also starring Jenna Fischer (Pam of the Office). The premise of the movie is as follows; Jenna Fischer will play as Owen’s wife, and is allowing him a “hall pass” to go have a week of adultery at no consequences, to go explore other women. Now that isn’t so much worth admiring, but I did find myself with others coming to the set in Glenwood Park to watch. I was excited. Owen Wilson’s pretty “cool” and been in some great movies. In some ways I admire him. But mostly I admire his characters that he plays, as fun, witty, and making the most of life. Yet the reality is, Owen Wilson and his characters are just ones to admire. I have no desire to live the life of a movie star. It’s fun to watch from afar, to try to take a picture without a security guard noticing and to see a part of a movie being filmed. Yet he is not one to follow.

And while I was thinking about movie sets. It seems like lately Atlanta is becoming one of her own, a sort of fantastical, apocalyptic snowy entanglement. I mean, did you hear about the zebra that ran loose out of the circus?  This fearful and fearsome creature escaped through rush hour traffic downtown and into the interstate connector. Hundreds of folks pulled off to the side of the road in order to catch a glimpse of this freakish occurrence. Try imaging how sad it’d be as a zebra stuck in a circus. These fierce animals were meant to live out in the wilderness. They were meant to run, not to be caged in to a traveling entertainment prop.

Then I think; life is like a circus. And culture, American-western civilization has me tamed, boxed into a two hour act for everyone else to smile at. I’m performing for the masses to just accept me. But like the zebra, I’m just a little bit different. I’m more than just a simple horse. My colored stripes set me apart. And I love the one quote from the circus spokesman, “It was just an unavoidable accident…”

What! Wasn’t there something that could have been done? Was the zebra really always going to escape?

Like the Beach House lyrics say “This black and white horse arching among us, any way you run, you run before us.” May I follow this great other zebra, because no creature was made to be caged. The escape is unavoidable. And hopefully, we won’t turn back. For there is one who went before us, and broke open the circus doors.

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