A Week on Mars

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Jaunuary 11 – January 17

He was the first one to tell me David Bowie passed away.

It was around 9 at night and I didn’t go to bed until 1 AM. Just wow, so soon– one of the greatest and glamorous living music icons was gone.

The two songs I love from the late musician were “Golden Years” and “Life on Mars.” I discovered David Bowie because of the former– and I’d discovered that song the same way I discovered Heath Ledger: A Knight’s Tale. The ballroom scene set in in 15th Century London threw everything I’d known about period films out the window. Dancing to an upbeat disco-esque hit?? It’s not a new idea; it’s up against the party scene of Baz Luhrmann’s Great Gatsby or almost every second of Marie Antoinette.

“Life on Mars” I’d heard a few times before. It was the first song I listened to when I looked up David Bowie anything to start playing.

And now, as I listened, it hit me that there was something hard and cold and discomforting about right now. I was on planet Earth. And it is a cruel, ungodly being on which we inhabit.

You can’t escape this place that you’re chained to, bounded by gravity and limited by the toxic air you breathe. Bearing the simple gift of life deems an existence of debt in which to pay for it. This was the week to suddenly fall back to this Earth when one’s head has been looking up to the stars, and it’s so easy to do so in San Francisco. But here, paychecks get screwed up and Saturday night plans get cancelled Saturday morning on the one time you don’t wake up hungover. The biggest debt and disappointment to be had of course, is that life on Earth has an end. It ends for all of us, be it myself, that dive bar on Geary Boulevard that every future USF alum will never know, rock star extraordinaire, or unforgettable actor whose confession for “Always” on the screen will at least live on and give his fans comfort– for always at least lasts forever than forever itself.

2016 is off to a somber start. Life is fleeting and as much as I’d like to be out on these streets living it, I’m stuck inside my studio enjoying the comforts of tea and a space heater and fake white roses to cheer up my spirits. Constant comforts, free things. Your paycheck gets screwed up and you can’t do much and it’s nothing really– just a sickening part of reality that is in no way perfect and cannot be avoided like the many other setbacks we’ve seen this week.

But dreams– there’s no trying them down, for reality is nothing without them. At least when you’re chained to reality there’s dreaming for life beyond, the hope for the stars, the hope that keeps you living. And him– who brought me down to Earth unintentionally– I forgive you. I’d like to think that there, wherever he ends up, and if I end up being there too, that’s life on Mars and it’s always something to dream about.

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