Virginia Cafe. The conversation, rises around me, like spaghetti sauce bubbling, slowly, through its own thickness. I wonder how much of the habit of my mind has been formed by the fact that I walk all day through soups of unintelligible words? I understand so little of what is said around me. Nowadays I can blame my worsening hearing, but the truth is, even when my hearing was keen I often heard just splutters of sound. Maybe there's something off about the tempo at which I decode speech: I'm slow at it, slow and easily thrown off. I spend lots of time smiling and nodding pleasantly at little explosions of verbal sound that have conveyed nothing to me. Often I don't know what people have said. It seldom makes much difference. Mostly people just make noises and hope for reassurance: if you supply the reassurance, you've done all that's required. I'm happy to do that. But it leaves me oriented a little obliquely to the human world: like I'm usually watching the television of human life with the sound turned off.
Am I just making it up, pretending I don't understand? Or maybe everyone else is just making it up, pretending they do? Even when I understand the words, I often have difficulty stringing it into a meaning. I wonder sometimes: are we are apes that know how to speak, or just apes that believe we know how to speak? Maybe in heaven we learn to actually speak, and to actually hear: now we're just learning the motions.
CM: Forget all this political BS for a bit - if you had the power to nominate a specific individual to be President, whom would it be?
[ entertaining comment thread, people suggesting Martha Stewart, Jon Stewart, the Dalai Lama, P.J. O'Rourke... ]
DF: What disturbs me about any discussion like this, is that it's based on a fundamental misunderstanding of American government, and of what the president is supposed to be. He's not a king. He's not supposed to solve our problems. He's supposed to implement the solutions that we send to him. We are supposed to be running this country, and we're doing a really, really, really bad job. It's our fault. So get some real damn opinions and elect a real damn congress and quite expecting tabloid celebrity presidents to fix all your damn problems for you.
CM: Damn Dale, those are the harshest words I've ever seen from you...
DF: :-) I get a little cranky about it. Didn't we fight a long bitter war in order not to have kings? And now we want them back, because we're too lazy to do some arguing and organizing? Sheesh.