the automatic faucet

3

Hear me loud and clear: If you are a human who requires water to survive, then this issue directly involves you. Don’t let the automatic sink faucets in your homes fool you — that water comes from somewhere, and the second its source is contaminated, so is your bathtub, and your sink, and your drinking liquid. We must not take for granted the severity of this truth. Whatever your cause is. Whatever your passion is. Whatever you care about most… none of your efforts or hard-earned opinions will matter when the planet and the people you’re fighting for have nothing left to show for it.” 

35. “You heard me. Take. It. Off.”

===

Embarrassingly enough, Keith wasn’t a fan of washing his hands. he did it when he remembered, sure (like when Coran bid them to wash up before a meal or when he passed the bathroom sink and remembered Shrio’s hygiene lesson a lifetime ago), but it wasn’t often that he felt his hands were that dirty. His paladin armor had full gloves and the outfit he was stuck in space with had his favorite finger-less gloves in the mix, both of which gave adequate protection against grime. When his fingernails would get gross and lined with dirt beneath, he would dig out the gunk with a knife or a pen, and he was good to go.

When he did remove his finger-less gloves for a proper wash, Lance made sure to have a field day every time. Keith knew, somewhere, that he was plainly being provoked by the flamboyant blue paladin, but he fell for the taunts in an endless cycle.

“Oh my.” Lance began, scandalized and waving a hand to fan his face, “Keith. You can’t just go around stripping.”

As he peeled his glove the rest of the way off, Keith growled. “Stop.” He grunted plainly, tossing his gloves onto the kitchen counter and thrusting his hands underneath the automatic faucet. Cool water rushed over his hands and he saw Lance moving out of the corner of his eye, but spared no glances in favor of scrubbing at the line where tanned skin met pale. The lines from where his gloves were often on were becoming suspiciously prominent.

“Stop what? Asking you to stay decent?” There was a twinge of mock embarrassment in Lance’s voice that made Keith’s own fluster flood in his cheeks, despite knowing well that there was nothing indecent about what was happening. Keith added soap to the scrubbing session as an afterthought and lathered it in as he determinedly did not look at Lance. “What if the others saw you like this? You’re practically nude, absolutely bared to the world.”

Dark eyes rolled as Keith leaned his head back, following their movement and staring at the ceiling while he rinsed his hands of the soap. “I can’t believe you get to see me naked.” He indulged himself a moment in the implication of the words. Both of them were just beginning to familiarize themselves with one another in a new manner, and even if they weren’t at that stage yet Keith relished the ability to even just say such a thing to Lance.

Lance’s sputter had Keith fighting a smile as he looked for something to dry his hands on, turning to his boyfriend over his shoulder and pausing at the sight.

“These are so gross.” Lance, face ruddy with embarrassment he wouldn’t own up to, was avoiding looking at Keith by staring down at his gloves instead. He pulled them on before Keith could snatch them back, and they both paused. “They feel like old sweat and bad life choices.”

“Off.” Was all Keith huffed, leaning over the counter as Lance danced around an island to avoid him.

Deep blue eyes flicked to Keith’s bare hands, and Lance let out an almost trapped laugh. “You have glove tan lines! Do you ever take them off?” Almost cautiously, as he leaned out of Keith’s swipe for his hands, Lance brought his left hand to his face and sniffed the black leather. For the briefest fraction of a second, Keith could swear he saw Lance’s eyes widen and his face deepen in color, but it was gone as soon as it had come. “They even smell like it.”

Keith scowled, moving around the island to follow after his property and Lance. “Like what?”

“Sweat and bad life choices.” Lance sang again easily, pushing himself up onto the surface of the island. Before he could swivel and plant himself on the other side out of Keith’s reach again, the red paladin lunged forward and caught him by his leg. He was rewarded by Lance’s squawk.

“Come on.” Keith tugged at the leg until Lance was facing him properly, though his hands were still out of reach and Lance was doing a good job at making the position as strange as possible.

“On what?” Lance shot back immediately, grin wicked as he threw his hands into the air away from another swipe.

“You heard me.” Keith snapped a little, tugging a little more insistently and knowing his face was hot at his boyfriend’s easy teasing, “Take. Them. Off.”

Lance heaved a long dramatic sigh, draping himself over the counter on his back and closing his eyes. “Make me, Mullet.”

“Lance…” Keith warned, eyes sharp on the exposed tan hips and tummy from where Lance’s shirt had pulled with his movements.

The long legs on either side of Keith shifted to wrap around him, and he rolled his eyes as Lance slowly peeled the gloves off from so far. His thin fingers looked a little loose in the slots, though they were universal of a size enough to fit fine ultimately. Without moving from his laying position, Lance set them in a bundle off to the side of where he had Keith caged. Only when Keith shifted to reach for them was when Lance jerked up to rest on his elbows and tug Keith closer to the counter by his legs, winding him a little at the jut of counter top shoved into his stomach.

Seeing the irritation plain on Keith’s…everything at the antics, Lance’s easy smile faltered a second, and he swung himself fully upright again. He was much taller than Keith in his position, something they both secretly admired in terms of the perspective change, but when Lance’s soft hands moved slowly, they didn’t aim for Keith’s face as anticipated in taking advantage of the position. Instead, they found Keith’s own hands and slowly slotted the fingers together, Lance’s gaze holding an intensity to rival Keith’s own as they bored into one another.

“I don’t think I’ve ever held your hands without gloves.” Lance said softly, thoughtful though his gaze wasn’t searching for an answer or reply. Keith hummed anyway, feeling his brow soften as their fingers squeezed into one another and Lance ran a thumb up the length of his right pointer finger.

I was arrested on Oct. 10, on Indigenous Peoples’ Day, a holiday where America is meant to celebrate the indigenous people of North America.

I was in North Dakota, standing in solidarity, side-by-side with a group of over 200 water protectors, people who are fighting the Dakota Access Pipeline.

People who carry a rainbow of colors on their skin. People who gathered together because they realize that if we don’t begin taking genuine steps to protect our precious resources—our soil, our water, our essential elements—we will not have a healthy or thriving planet to pass on to future generations.

I was in North Dakota, standing side by side with Native Americans.

You know, those who were here before us.

Well, guess what, America? They’re still here.

And they are still fighting the good fight. A fight that serves each and every one of us.

They are still putting their lives on the line to protect the roots that feed our existence.

And, guess what else, dear America? They are still being ignored.
We are still throwing them in jail.
We are still silencing their dedication to protect us from the planetary consequences that will catastrophically bleed from our ignorance.

We wear their heritage, their sacred totems, as decoration and in fashion trends, failing to honor their culture. Headdresses, feathers, arrows. Moccasins, sage, beadwork. You know what I’m talking about, Coachella. Walking around the flea market this weekend, I can’t even tell you how many native references I saw being used in a way that feeds our western narrative.

We buy plastic teepees from Toys-R-Us and set them up in our living rooms for children to play in.

We grow up romanticizing native culture, native art, native history… without knowing native reality.
Somehow, we’ve allowed 200-plus years to go by without questioning the western truth we have been told to believe about Native Americans.

And now, in 2016, in the day and age of exciting technology, which empowers revolution and curiosity, we are still blindly (or maybe not) allowing 200 years of unjust history to continue.

We are allowing Native American voices to be swallowed by the white noise of distraction.

Doesn’t this sadden you, America?

When we talk about marginalized communities in our country, we do not (on a mainstream level) include Native Americans.

When we talk about sex trafficking in our country, we do not (on a mainstream level) include Native Americans.

And when we talk about governmental integrity, we do not (on a mainstream level) include Native Americans.

Treaties are broken. Land is stolen. Dams are built. Reservations are flooded. People are displaced.

Yet we fail to notice. We fail to acknowledge. We fail to act.

So much so that it took me, a white non-native woman being arrested on Oct 10th in North Dakota, on Indigenous Peoples’ Day, to bring this cause to many people’s attention. And to the forefront of news publications around the world.

The day I was detained, 26 others had to dress in orange as well, as they were booked into the Morton County jail. Did you hear about them?

Twenty-six men and women who put their livelihoods on the line, to protect their children, your children and my future children.

Twenty-six men and women who realize that millions of people depend on the Missouri River for drinking water.

Millions.

And, you guessed it, you may be one of them. Did that catch your attention?

When the Dakota Access Pipeline breaks (and we know that too many pipelines do), millions of people will have crude-oil-contaminated water. I know it is easy to be apathetic or detached from the reality that fossil fuel contamination could actually affect you and the ones you love… But hear me loud and clear: If you are a human who requires water to survive, then this issue directly involves you. Don’t let the automatic sink faucets in your homes fool you—that water comes from somewhere, and the second its source is contaminated, so is your bathtub, and your sink, and your drinking liquid. We must not take for granted the severity of this truth.

Listen up, America:

The reason we were freezing our a—es off on Oct. 10 in peaceful protest was because the night before (mind you, right after the presidential debate and on the eve of Indigenous Peoples’ Day—coincidence?) the U.S. Court of Appeals denied an injunction to halt construction of the pipeline. As in: They began building once again.

Whatever your cause is. Whatever your passion is. Whatever you care about most… none of your efforts or hard-earned opinions will matter when the planet and the people you’re fighting for have nothing left to show for it.

The Dakota Access Pipeline, my friends, is not another time to ignore, mistreat and turn a blind eye to Native Americans. But it is time to guarantee the safety of Manhattan—despite the soon-to-be-fueled gas pipeline called AIM. (For all of you in the tri-state area, this is being built under a failing nuclear plant. Fukushima only happened five years ago. This plant is just about as far from Manhattan as the U.S. government told Americans to keep away from Fukushima to protect them from a worst-case scenario. Look it up and do something about it.) We have the technology for renewable energy, and it’s up to us to begin utilizing.

I appreciate all of you out there who supported me while I was arrested. I am humbled and grateful for your love, your prayers and your hashtags.

And what could it look like if we learned from this instance, where it took myself getting detained to raise awareness about Native Americans? What if we used it as a catalyst for a full societal shift in the way we start thinking and treating and learning from indigenous peoples? So that in the future, it doesn’t require a non-native celebrity to bring attention to the cause.

What if we took the hashtag #FreeShailene and made it #ProtectCleanWater, or #HonorNativeTreaties, or #IStandWithStandingRock?

What if we don’t let this stop trending on social media, at our dinner tables, in the streets? What if we wake up to the possibilities of noticing, of choosing and of acting on our awareness?

What if we take the time to understand the dynamics of what is at risk here?

Will you choose money, or will you choose children? Will you choose ignorance, or will you choose love? Will you choose blindness, or will you choose freedom?

I am not scared. I am not afraid. I am grateful, and I am amazed to be standing by the sides of so many peaceful warriors. Standing Rock “protests” are rooted in ceremony and in prayer. I’ve been there. And all these narratives about riots? Just watch my Facebook livestream and decide for yourself who looks more dangerous: police in riot gear with batons, or native grandmothers and children smudging sage and singing songs.

Thank you, to all the tribes who have gathered. To all the nations standing as one. To all the people who know that if not we, then who? And if not now, then when?

Simply feeding off the hype of a celebrity’s arrest ain’t going to save the world. But, standing together will. Please stand in solidarity with the Sioux people of Standing Rock Reservation to ensure that we still have rivers to swim in, springs to drink from and lakes to float on. Will you join us?

Mni wiconi. Water is life.

—  Shailene Woodley: The Truth About My Arrest

have you ever thought about how many small things we take for granted that the exhibits would be totally hyped over? like

  • ahk freaking out over a fridge or a freezer i mean, larry DID YOU KNOW YOU CAN PRESERVE YOUR FOOD AND HAVE ICE ALL YEAR LONG?

  • wea using the microwave whenever she gets a chance because OMG YOU CAN REHEAT HOT DISHES AFTER THEY GO COLD WTF

  • atilla purposefully spilling shit because THEN HE GETS TO RIP OFF ONE OF THOSE DISPOSABLE TOWELS MADE OF PAPER FROM THE MAIN ROLL

  • teddy tivo-ing everything because BACK IN MY DAY WE CONSIDERED MOVIES A PASSING FAD LOOK AT IT NOW

  • lancelot like PEOPLE HAVE ENOUGH LEISURE TIME THAT THEY CAN PRETEND TO BE KNIGHTS

  • octavius rifling through spice catalogues because WTF THESE ARE SO CHEAP AND I’VE NEVER EVEN HEARD OF THIS ONE OVER HERE

  • jedediah looking at the automatic flush toilets, faucets, soap dispensers and hand dryers like THIS IS SO FREAKIN CONVENIENT

  • and of course all of them poking around the internet absolutely fascinated with google and project gutenberg and HOW THE FUCK DO YOU REMEMBER ALL THIS LARRY THERE IS SO MUCH INFORMATION OUT THERE AVAILABLE RIGHT AT YOUR FINGERTIPS

i mean they dont make horrifically big deals out of it every night but they’re impressed and fascinated nonetheless because holy shit the future is awesome