ActivismArts and CultureSelf Care

I Want the World to be Better Than it is Right Now

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Photo by AJ Colores

I want to write something beautiful. I want to write something good. I want to use words to throw off the oppressive, dark cloud that’s been hanging over so many of us since 2016, thickening with sad moisture, as bad things continue to get worse.

I want to put on Stevie Wonder and dance gleefully in my underwear, jumping up and down on my bed. I want see young lovers stop, pull each other close for a deep kiss and then scurry across the street before the light changes. Hell, I want to be one of those young lovers, with a brain so boiling over with limerence and love chemicals that anything seems possible. I don’t just want to feel better, I want to feel great.

I want to hear babies laugh — like, really laugh — because that sound comes from a place of such pure joy that it’s hard not feel some, too. I want to turn swastikas that are spray-painted on sidewalks into places where kids play four square, bouncing balls, scuffing knees and arguing about who’s out. I want to see all the toy drive signs taken down in San Francisco, because the millionaires who live here decided to make sure they weren’t needed.

I want to put on banana costumes and boogie in the basement of Monarch while we make peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches, afterward handing them out with fresh socks to homeless people in SoMa. Yeah, we’ve done that a few times; it’s beautifully weird.

I want to hear you brag about your little victories, because they make you smile. I want to see you give someone one of those big hugs that lasts almost awkwardly too long. I want to give you one, too.

I want to come across a random marching band and follow it down the street, watching as peoples’ faces light up when they put their heads out the window and realize what’s going on. I want to walk through our thoroughfares en masse, in unison, in celebration of something — anything — instead of in protest. I want to hold hands with a stranger while we do this, just because it feels right.

I want to sit around, belly hurting, eyes tearing up, roaring with laughter as we tell ridiculous stories about stupid things we’ve done in the past. I want to gather a group of people and rent a cabin in Guerneville, playing in the river during the day, barbecuing and huddling by the fire at night.

I want to tell dirty jokes with old men at bus stops. I want to hold the doors of a BART train just long enough so that a little old lady can board.

I want to see someone chased down so that their wallet can be given back by the person who saw it drop. I want to learn how to say “thank you” in every language in the world.

Really, what I want is for you to read this piece and have it make you feel a little better. I want you to imagine all those things I mentioned and know they still exist, or at least that they can.

I want the world to be better than it is right now. And it will be, but it will take some time and a lot of work.

I want 2021 to be my exciting kiss on New Year’s Eve. I want it to be a kiss of promise that actually follows through.

This originally appeared in a slightly different form in my Broke-Ass City column in the San Francisco Examiner. It was written in 2016 but still applies perfectly to today. 

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website BrokeAssStuart.com is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, Geek.com and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle , "an SF cult hero": SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.

1 Comment

  1. Ninon Shesgreen
    December 22, 2020 at 8:12 pm — Reply

    This all can and will exist again, love. Our most fervent rebellion is unabashed hope. Xx

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