Friday, August 15, 2014

Dangerously Full

A dark gray morning, promising rain. We have not had a good heavy rain for a long time: and though that's not a really a problem here, at this time of year, it makes me deeply uneasy. So I'm hoping the rain will really come down when it rains, and wash the whole world. I have superstitious conviction that all those unrained rains are accumulating up there, weighing heavily in the sky: something somewhere is getting dangerously full.

It's a strange interim time, neither this nor that. Everything rolls along. My massage schedule is full of regulars that I adore; things go like clockwork at the office. Whence this unease? I accidentally took a video of myself with my phone, and it revealed a grizzled old man with something of the Badger about him, rather than the Mole: loose-jowled, unshaven, bright-eyed; amused and ornery. I have no idea who he was.

In this phase of my life -- whatever it may be: this will be one of those chapters my biographers will fret about a title for -- I have largely given up needling myself about whether other people are right after all. No: they're just not. The way I see it is the way it is.

I can't read novels these days. I think to really fall into a novel you have to have the conviction that its author, at least in his writing persona, has a deeper understanding of the world than you do. I can't find that conviction. Nobody knows shit. I read history, which is a humbler endeavor, and I read poetry, which is humbler still. But before I'm going to read several hundred pages of dense prose about something the author just made up out of his head, I want to know: so what makes you so special? What makes your made up world more worth paying attention to than mine? I've lost that curiosity and humility. I really am a different creature: my phone saw true.

A client in tears about Robin Williams' death: I put my arms around her and told her things would get better. I don't know when I got so clumsy: that's the kind of comfort Ron Weasley would offer. I used to walk around thinking I knew how other people could be happy: now I know that I don't. I don't know that. Oh, I can see it clearly enough: "you are locked into your suffering" -- as Leonard Cohen crooned it -- "and your pleasures are the seal." But diagnosing is one thing: curing quite another. It's probably good that I no longer think I have anything to offer people: that man, Mole, with his squinty glasses and his velour coat, was genuinely dangerous.

Trucks and buses rumble by on 39th; a bearded man in a tattered parka pushes a grocery cart down the sidewalk; a girl wearing khaki shorts and a backpack hitched high, who no doubt thinks her bottom is too big, walks rapidly but unsteadily across the crosswalk; a young man with three-days' growth, carefully cultivated, and a neckerchief --  a neckerchief, for God's sake -- lounges against the telephone pole by the bus stop and manages an apotheosis of fatuity. No, I am not in a generous frame of mind: I'm not inclined to ask my fellow-man for answers. I have my own fields to till.


Lori Witzel said...

Much, and full, and resonant.

Lucy said...

Love the 'apotheosis of fatuity'!

I still long for a really satisfying historical novel, once in a while I do find one, but I resent and resist more and more the time I waste on the rest.

Zhoen said...

Recently re-reading D.L.Sayers, and the Patton-Walsh extensions. Finding them all rather unsettling and satisfying together.

I like wearing my crocks, just because I know someone thinks they looks stupid.