Monday, December 22, 2003

Paula, you asked, "what is right speech?"

Sigh. I don't know. What the hell is right speech? "Chatter like a parrot, cry like an ape"...

You come as close of any us. Closer. But maybe we should all just shut up. "The droning of a bee in an empty cell."

I've just been having a long difficult exchange with someone who doesn't seem able to hear me at all. I guess I don't fit any of her categories. I quote Paul and she takes me for a conservative Christian; I suggest that happily married life may not be significantly happier than unmarried life and she takes me for someone who doesn't believe that love, faith, or devotion exist ever, anywhere. (At more or less the same time -- that would be a pathological person indeed! Of course, there are psychopaths wandering about the web. Maybe I'm one of them.)

The frightening thing, of course, is that I wonder: is all conversation like this? Is the only difference here that the fit is wrong, so that we're not reassuring each other with responses that jive nicely with what we expect? Does anyone ever hear anyone? Does anyone ever say anything?

Perhaps I'm just finally entering the old Christmas-time depression. (It's late this year, after all.) Martha cut out a cartoon to put on the fridge: a scene of Christmas preparations -- wrapping paper, Christmas lights, and so on. A man opening a card that reads "Season's Greetings!" and has the face of "The Scream" on it. The man's remarking to his wife, "I think the Hendersons are starting to crack." I think maybe Dale's starting to crack.

Christmas and the 4th of July are the times of alienation, for me. Time to withdraw and brood, capitulate to everything compulsive, and wait, with what hope I can muster, for life to begin again. Tall whispering invisible figures stalk the streets, gloating and muttering; all the strength goes out of my hands; pools of insects are endlessly hatching at the periphery of my sight. I am feeble, swollen, and old.

And self-dramatizing. Enough. I'm tired, hungry, and lonely, that's all.

"Muddah faddah kindly disregard this leddah."

Love to you all, dear ones. I'm off to the Greek diner -- bright lights, loud waitresses, greasy food, the rattle and clink of dishes, the shouts of Tosi and his son Jimmy.

"Did you order those sausages? The sausages. Did you order them? We were almost out yesterday. You got to order them, sausages. We're almost out!" -- "the sausages?" -- "Yes, the sausages! We're almost out!" -- "No, I didn't order the sausages. We're almost out? You sure?" -- "Yeah, take a look, we're almost out, that's what I'm saying!"

That'll cure what ails me.

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